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Lower down from the market square of Banon village we had previously walked past a small wine bar, Les Vins Au Vert, opposite the tabac. We decided to check it out because it had seemed to hint that there was food to be had for lunch as well as a glass of wine. It turned out that we would be very happy that we had made this choice as the service was warm and friendly and prompt. We thoroughly enjoyed a plate of local charcuterie, onion, tomato and courgette tart, three local goats’ cheeses and a couscous salad. The bonus was being able to select wine by the glass (one was a fantastic rich Cairanne Red). Coffee was served with cookies from the village patisserie and that rounded off a perfect light lunch.
The wine shop at the back has a superb selection of French wine and we bought a bottle of the Cairanne we had sampled for lunch and also a port-like Banyuls for the winter! The wine display area has the feel of a wine library – very cosy and beautifully laid out. The lovely owners and staff created a very amiable atmosphere. I highly recommend it and after lunch you can stroll up to the view of the spectacular lavender fields around Banon.
After our lunch while I played the inevitable French game of ‘hunt the toilets’, Niamh had been stopped by a French motorcycle tourist and she was asked the directions to a village down the valley close to Forcalquier. She explained to the guy straddling his gleaming Harley Davidson that her French was not perfect but she then proceeded to give him precise directions in French.
‘Mais non, vous parlez francais perfectament’!
I fortunately returned just as he was about to produce a spare helmet and whisk her away!
It had been funny and satisfying on this trip and also on one that we took earlier in the year over to Brittany that we have been mistaken for being French and that really encourages you to keep up with the speaking and continuing to learn the language. It certainly opens a few doors and even if you make a mistake it goes down very well with the locals.