Notes on a French Village

Servian continues to amaze me! Our new house has given us the chance to meet new neighbours and with it some lovely surprises. Our next door neighbour, Isabelle, is a gourmet cook and specializes in traditional French cuisine. During my recent trip to inspect the new house, she invited me to join her for coffee on the outside step, "un petit pause" before returning to her fig preserves for her restaurant. It was during this conversation that I learned about her passion for sharing her knowledge and how she hopes to be able to offer small, intimate cooking classes for visitors. What a gift to our village and for our guests. I have tasted several of her dishes and know from experience that her reputation is well-deserved.

Arnaud le Gourmand, is a small grocery store that opened up on the Grand Rue. He specializes in local produce, wine and specialties. It's interesting to watch how the village is embracing this return to small stores and away from the large, impersonal mega-stores. I wish him well.

The daughter of the previous owner of our house shared with me a view of Servian from several decades ago. As we wandered down one very small, twisty street, she pointed out how many stores lined this street. It wasn't called "Rue de Commerce" for nothing. The were two bakeries, one pastry shop, two hairdressers, a butcher and a variety of other small, independent merchants. I wonder if these days will return.

Dominique is an enterprising young man with deep roots in Servian. He has taken his love and knowledge of local wine-making and turned it into a viable business in the nearby town of Pezenas. He is collaborating with local artists and providing a venue for them to display they work while clients come for specialized tastings and courses on Languedoc vintages. He also organizes tours, meals or special events. What's amazing about all of this is the reasonable cost. Because he is fluent in English and French, he can connect with both locals and visitors with ease.