Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thursday Morning Is A Great Time To Be In Sablet

One Thursday last Spring, I went out for my usual morning walk-about Sablet, which means a visit to the "Pain Medieval Boulangerie" for a palmier, "Tabac-Presse" for the International Herald Tribune, and "Café des Sports" for an express, Nikon camera in hand, just in case I come upon some photo opportunities.

In this post, I was going to tell you about the vendors who set up shop in Sablet on Thursday mornings but since I took a bunch of other pictures in the village that morning, I am going to include some shots of Sablet that I have not shown you in previous posts like here.

Our house is on a very narrow street (see below), so narrow that although small trucks go down the street, Shirley can practically stretch across and touch both walls at the same time.

Our Street

We watch visitors struggle on a daily basis to turn left where Grande Rue intersects with Rue de l'Eglise (see below), without hitting the steps of the neighbor's house, or walls on either side of the street, to go up the hill to St. Nazaire Church. Local's make it in one try, it takes me three or four tries with Shirley directing me.

We don't drive up except when we have lot's of stuff to unload as it is a nightmare to turn the car around and go back to the parking lot. When we do go, we creep along with the car's mirrors pulled in. I swear it seems like there is not much more than one inch to spare on either side of the car.

Intersection of Grande Rue and Rue de l'Eglise

A short distance from our house is a pretty fountain and lavoir (wash basin) at Place Yvan Audouard, named after a writer and journalist with ties to Provence. Yvan Audouard was born in 1914 in Saigon, now Hồ Chí Minh City, his father was in the military from Avignon and his mother was a librarian from Marseille. He died in 2004 in Paris. He spent quite a bit of his life in Arles and Nimes.

Fountain and Lavoir at Place Yvan Audouard

Except for early in the morning or late in the evening, there always seems to be people near the fountain; a group of older men sitting on the stone wall overlooking the street or a couple of ladies standing in the shade of the adjacent wash basin in animated conversation.

Fountain and Wash Basin at Place Yvan Audouard

Throughout the day, the area around the fountain and wash basin is alive with activity as it is near the Pain Medieval boulangerie and the village bibliotèque (library). However, at the end of the day, Place Yvan Audouard is usually quiet except for feral cats and water trickling from the fountain.

Fountain and Wash Basin at Place Yvan Audouard

Below you see the fountain and the view down Rue des Barrys through one of the many vaulted passageways in Sablet.

Looking Down Rue Des Barrys

Sablet is a circular village and the streets curl up in concentric circles to St. Nazaire Church at the top of the village. There are quite a few stairways, some adorned with flowers that go from one level to another.

Steps to Walk Down Between Grande Rue and Rue des Barrys

The vaulted passageway below leads to a lookout over the old defensive walls.

House Over Vaulted Passageway on Rue des Barrys

The village walls and towers are thought to have been started in the 14th century and completed in 1500. They were restored by the Association des Compagnons des Barrys; they are a great reminder of what life was like in the village during old times.

Defensive Wall and Tower

Defensive Tower

On top of the hill around which Sablet is built, stands St. Nazaire Church with a tall bell tower lit each night, marking Sablet in the surrounding countryside. First built in the 12th Century, it was renovated and rebuilt with additions on the west side during the 14th Century. The church bells ring hourly between 7 and 10 PM.

Église St. Nazaire - St. Nazaire Church

Grande Rue With Alert That Ahead, It's Only 4 Feet 11 Inches Wide

Streets are named after activities of the villagers in old times, for example climbing the "Escaliers de l'Eglise" to St. Nazaire Church or visiting the shoemaker on the "Rue du Cordonnier" seen below.

Rue du Cordonnier

The Tabac-Presse stocks the International Herald Tribune and some British newspapers along with a wide array of French newspapers and magazines. They also have a very nice selection of souvenirs.

Sablet's Tabac Presse

Le Tilleul d'Or Retirement Home is located across the street from Café des Sports.

Le Tilleul d'Or Retirement Home

There is a small market, unfortunately nothing special, which takes place every Friday morning in Sablet across the street from Café des Sports at Place de l'Aire de la Croix.

On Thursday mornings, a wonderful poissonnier (fishmonger) parks his refrigerated truck with an amazing assortment of fresh fish and seafood next to the Vival mini-mart. You can assume we are having fish for dinner on Thursday nights if you are invited to dine chez nous.

Monsieur Lafont of Maree du Comtat Venaison

A young man from Buis-les-Baronnies sets up tables in front of the fish truck and sells an assortment of fresh goat cheeses, jam, fruit juice and olive oil his family makes on their farm. Their goat cheese makes a wonderful chèvre chaud salad or addition to a cheese plate.

Fresh Goat Cheese, Jam, Fruit Juice and Olive Oil from Buis-les-Baronnies

The Vendors Set Up Their Displays Next to Vival Mini-mart

Dogs Are Ever Present and Welcome in French Markets

If you are in Sablet or one of the nearby villages on Thursday mornings, you should stop by and pick up fish and goat cheese for dinner. As it says in the Michelin Guide, it is worth a detour.

Shirley and Julia Wait Patiently For Me to Finish Taking Pictures

As it usually the case, Shirley ends up standing around waiting for me to take pictures and check them and then generally retake them once or twice to make sure I get a good picture. Here she waits with our sweet little friend Julia.

Have a great day. See you soon.


  1. Love your blog - France is very high on my 'to do' list! thanks for you wonderful pictures.

  2. Sablet looks like a lovely little place to live :)

  3. We pretty much stuck to the main square and the ring road when we were there last summer. I did not know we could wind our way to the top of Sablet! Then again, we didn't try. We walked the ring road when we were waiting for our carryout pizza. I also think I missed the vendors outside Vival because we were there the week of the Journee du Livre and so didn't visit the village at all on Thursday or Friday. Dommage! Next time. Which might be next summer! Love your Sablet posts!

  4. Wonderfull place, best regard from Belgium. Have a nice day!

  5. Jo-Anne - Thanks for stopping in to visit my blog and leave a comment. You will have to make it happen, far better in person than the pictures show.

    Sara - We love Sablet and are so happy to have a home there. We count ourselves very lucky!

    Liza - Thanks for the nice feedback about the blog. There is so much more to Sablet beyond the ring road. You will have to come back for sure and check it out.

    Louisette - Thanks for stopping in to visit my blog and for leaving a comment. Sablet is definitely very nice. The lcoals love the Belge and celebrate the national day every year with a big festival in the village. You will have to come some time.