Peaceful slumbers in the heat of southern France

it’s early July. The sky is a perfect blue from dawn to dusk – every day. The mercury hits a daily 33°+. The beauty of a warm breeze through waving trees cooling exposed skin cannot be overemphasised. Grating cicadas are embedded in the background soundscape, the only surprise being the sudden silence when their noisy vibrations cease as they gird their legs & wing cases for another round of heated sound effects.

The land bakes. Rows of vines shadow their clumps of darkening grapes, drawing nutrients and water from the dry soil to nourish their charges into fruity wines over the summer. The harvest has been called in and the landscape awaits a further season of beating temperatures. Humanity shelters behind closed shutters, keeping coolness in and the heat of the day out.

It’s too hot to go far. Finding shade under umbrellas seems a good strategy. And if the umbrellas are in quiet, shady squares of small, quiet shady villages then even better. That means morning coffee, long, simple lunches, a cooling beer at teatime and dining out in the evening until the stars come out. So here are a few places that fit the bill.

Lunch in the small medieval village of Lussan in a small shaded garden run by the village association.

Castillon du Gard, within walking distance has two delightful bistro-type restaurants. One serves tapas at lunchtime and coffe in the morning shade. The other provides dinner with a simple local menu of beef, duck or fish.

Of course, the square in Uzes and the road ring outside the medieval walls has countless eating opportunities. It is amazing how from 6.45pm the whole world and his/her dog, buggy, grandma, lover, mistress, partner, spouse, hen mates & families promenade comparing menu boards fronting empty tables. By 7.05 the square is empty, all tables are filled and everyone seems happy.

Favourite place – Vers Pont du Gard. A small medieval village with a glorious, plane tree-shaded, gravelled square and washing house. At the edge La Grange, under the shade of the branches or its own umbrellas, offers a friendly welcome and organically produced local food and wine/beer – delicious, peaceful, friendly, tasty. Such a delight 🙂

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