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25 September 2015 / leggypeggy

The many rewards of staying in a French village

Medieval dancing

One of the Medieval dances

When we were planning our trip to France, Libby (the daughter we’re visiting) said she and Daniel would like to spend a week with us in the south of France.

So we put her to work choosing a likely place through Airbnb. She came up with two choices in Flayosc, a village on a rocky hill about 35 kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea.

Poor John asked me to choose. One was quaint and 100+ euros a night. The other was modern and 65 euros a night. Quaint was really, really tempting until Poor John pointed out there was no shower, only a bathtub.

The combo of four adults and a bathtub was never going to work, so we went with modern. The two-bedroom apartment had been perfect—it opens almost directly on to the main square—and so has Flayosc and surrounds.

Of course, when we booked, we had no idea that our visit would coincide with Flayosc’s second annual billy-cart (go-cart) races, a wine tasting and open day (with medieval demonstrations) at a nearby winery, heritage days in the local towns and villages, a Division 5 handball match, and several nearby market days.

What a fantastic way to immerse ourselves into life in the French countryside.

Flayosc billy cart races

Jamaica passes by

One of our first excursions was to the nearby ‘Big Smoke’ of Draguignan, where we visited the markets, had crepes for lunch, toured the folk museum (more about that separately) and ordered a new pair of eyeglasses for Poor John, who lost his while cycling in the Loire Valley. He even finagled a discount for coming so far to make his purchase.

Then it was back to Flayosc for the billy-cart races that went over two days. The main street through town was blocked off from the night we arrived, so we knew something was going to happen, and when we emerged from the flat on Saturday morning the fairy floss/cotton candy stand was a giveaway that the festivities were about to begin. In case you didn’t know, the French calls fairy floss ‘papa’s beard’.

The races were hilarious. The kids’ races went all morning and the adults were in the afternoon. It looked like someone was timing each race, but winning didn’t seem to be the goal. Having fun did. A few of the carts went so slowly that they had to be given a push by the spectators.

Lunch was served between the two sets of races. There was a buvette—in this case, a kind of pop-up restaurant—serving daube, a stew. We dawdled so missed out on the daube and had delicious chicken sandwiches instead.

Band Flayosc

Percussion band

Brass band Flayosc

Brass band

There were a couple of bands playing and all the shops that would normally have been closed were open. One band was drums and percussion and included a few kids who had a great time banging on their drums and any hard surface at hand. The second band was beautifully colour-coordinated in blue and orange. The French horn player used orange clothespegs/clothespins as clips in her hair, and the tuba player created stripes on his ‘uniform’ with knives and spoons.

Handball, Draguignan

The goal that wasn’t allowed

The handball game was a nail-biter. It was Draguignan versus we-don’t-know-who, and played at the local high school. The scores ran pretty much neck-and-neck until a dramatic goal by Draguignan was disallowed. None of us know the game well enough to understand what happened, but we booed and heckled along with the rest of the home crowd. And I got a pic of the goal being made. I wonder if it could be used as evidence? Anyway, Draguignan lost steam after that and the visitors ended up winning by eight goals. We were appropriately disgruntled.

However, I was super-impressed by the rock-climbing wall at the school. The French love rock climbing and are good at it. It’s no wonder that the school sunk a lot of money and effort into creating the best climbing wall I’ve ever seen. Another bonus was the dance display at half-time. Six young men did a sort-of rap/hip hop dance routine.

Herbs and spices

Sylvie selling herbs and spices in Flayosc

And of course, we’ve made it to a couple of markets including the one in Flayosc where we met Sylvie who is bringing unknown spices and herbs to France. She was super impressed that I knew chimichurri (a South American flavouring) and I told her all about turmeric. I’ll try to send her some from Australia.

We head back to Paris in a couple of days, but until then we are savouring being locals in a small French village. Oh, and Poor John is our bread master. He’s out the door about 6:30 every morning to buy as many baguettes as we think we’ll need to get us through breakfast and sometimes lunch.

Speaking of bread, I reckon a muffuletta sandwich would be great on a baguette.

Boulangerie/bakery Flayosc

One of the bakeries in Flayosc

39 Comments

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  1. thegreyeye / Sep 25 2015 7:48 am

    Awesome way to savour the culture, I ll definitely try it next time when I am in France, to stay in a village like this.

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Sep 25 2015 3:31 pm

      It’s a perfect way to savour the culture. We’ll certainly do it again.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ralph / Sep 25 2015 8:07 am

    Me and my Humans are off to France and further south next month so this feeds into our deliberations on our journey planning. Glad you had such a great time too!

    R

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Sep 25 2015 3:32 pm

      Oh Ralph, you’ll love it. There are lots of dogs in French villages. You’ll feel right at home.

      Like

  3. suchled / Sep 25 2015 8:31 am

    I have so many great memories of staying in a French village. 35 days in all France, 30 days in the one small village.

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Sep 25 2015 3:32 pm

      Which small village were you in?

      Like

      • suchled / Sep 25 2015 4:19 pm

        Port Vendre. Seriously, if you get down there 26 km from the Spanish border, I have a job for you to do.

        Like

      • leggypeggy / Sep 25 2015 5:16 pm

        Oh darn, we were down that way about a week ago. Next time.

        Like

  4. Dorothy / Sep 25 2015 9:12 am

    Gosh your timing was impeccable as usual. Do you think these places are following your blog and arrange all the fun of the fair just for you? Makes for a very interesting holiday for you and your family. dorothysstories.wordpress.com

    >

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Sep 25 2015 3:33 pm

      It really was a stroke of luck. And for that we are very grateful.

      Like

  5. Andrew Petcher / Sep 25 2015 4:20 pm

    It is always nice to stumble upon an unexpected event!

    Like

  6. Yvonne / Sep 25 2015 4:20 pm

    Oh boy, what a happy thing to happen. It looks like such fun.

    You said “We were appropriately disgruntled.” In this life, it’s important to take the time to stay gruntled!

    Like

  7. lifestyletalks.wordpress.com / Sep 25 2015 9:00 pm

    Love the charm of French villages…To live like God in France they say….and it’s true…The south of france is much more cool and relaxed…

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Sep 26 2015 1:01 am

      You are so right—a big difference in mood and culture between the north and the south of France. Very comfy down here.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Midwestern Plant Girl / Sep 25 2015 9:01 pm

    How lucky to go to a great location and find them having a fun festival at the same time! That rock wall was darn impressive. We only got to climb the bleachers in my school 😉

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Sep 26 2015 1:01 am

      Oh gosh you made me laugh with visions of you climbing the bleachers. We did the same at my school.

      Like

  9. cookiesnchem / Sep 26 2015 10:12 am

    You are making me miss Paris so much! The boulangeries were my favourite thing 🙂

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Sep 26 2015 4:12 pm

      I hope you manage to get to Paris again sometime soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • cookiesnchem / Sep 26 2015 10:58 pm

        Oh absolutely! My next dream destinations are actually Italy and Greece – have you been to either? 🙂

        Like

      • leggypeggy / Sep 27 2015 1:52 am

        I’ve been to both, but not for a long time. Guess I need to revisit them soon.

        Like

  10. luckyjc007 / Sep 26 2015 12:51 pm

    Love this post..thanks for sharing.

    Like

  11. starrywazzoh / Sep 26 2015 1:11 pm

    I’m with Poor John! I’m out of the door first to visit our boulanger soon after 6 a.m., but recently SheWhoMustBeObeyed has taken to joining me and we are now exploring healthier options. We compromised on a bit of both. Still winning with the cheese though. Our local Banyuls market has a cheese stall that has wonderful cheeses that I am working my way through – fortunately that will take years! Enjoying your trip and your reports.

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Sep 26 2015 4:02 pm

      I stepped on the scale this morning and will have to adopt healthier measures back in Australia. The waistline is complaining a bit—not too much—but enough. And sadly or luckily, I don’t think Australia will ever offer quite the same temptations in the cheese department.

      Liked by 1 person

      • starrywazzoh / Sep 26 2015 5:18 pm

        The temptations in France are tough to ignore – cheese, wine, bread, fois gras…I could go on and on. SWMBO shakes her head in bemusement but nevertheless soldiers on with her attempts to convert me to a life of pure health. Good luck with that! 🙂

        Like

      • leggypeggy / Sep 27 2015 5:55 am

        Yep, France is temptations galore. Good luck to you on trying to toe the healthy line.

        Like

  12. ledrakenoir / Sep 26 2015 8:05 pm

    Inspiring post… 🙂

    Like

  13. Curious to the Max / Sep 28 2015 8:48 am

    You are masters at finding a festival everywhere you go! The only thing missing from this one was bare-breasted dancers . . .

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Sep 28 2015 4:36 pm

      Ah yes, these folks were rather over-clothed but it is autumn in France.

      Like

  14. Jane / Sep 28 2015 2:07 pm

    What fun this festival seems! I learnt interesting things about the south of France (and France) from this post. I’ve been told that some of the landscapes and the climate of the southern part is quite similar to some parts of sunny Queensland. I’ve thought of doing a walking tour of the rural areas and sampling the produce of the villages and towns there. Thanks for sharing these fun celebrations with us. I love getting to know about other parts of the world through your eyes. 🙂

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Sep 28 2015 4:39 pm

      It was great fun and offered something for everyone. I can highly recommend the walking tours in France—our daughter and son-in-law just did a two-week trek on a section of the GR5, a walking trail that starts in the Netherlands, or somewhere like that. Just make sure the terrain matches your walking ability. Libby said I would most definitely complain (or collapse) on some of the days on the part of the trail they did.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. jeanleesworld / Apr 26 2016 9:09 pm

    I don’t think I would have ever thought to see go-kart races and medieval demonstrations in the same community at the same time, not to mention wine tasting and sports. But it’s nice to see the flea market/craft fair to be a global phenomenon. 🙂

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Apr 27 2016 9:00 am

      Thanks for pointing out how odd it is for all these things to come together in one place at one time. And yes, I love the wonder of the flea market.

      Like

  16. elmotoo / Mar 1 2017 11:46 pm

    What fun !!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 2 2017 7:12 am

      We had a great time in Flayosc and felt like we really got to know a little bit of small-town southern France.

      Like

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