A FRENCH MOUNTAIN VILLAGE

St Martin sur Vesubie. Not much going on on a sunny Saturday morning.

St Martin sur Vesubie. Not much going on on a sunny Saturday morning.


‘A Jacques Tati square,’ our walking mate Peter calls it. We know exactly what he means.

We sit outside the boulangerie in St Martin sur Vesubie with our early morning cafe and pain au chocolat and watch as the village comes to life, its characters coming and going like figures in a mechanical clock.

Nobody seems in a hurry, including us. We have several hours to kill before the bus will take us back to Nice.

It hasn’t been easy to get here. It required a knee-testing descent of over a thousand metres from Refuge de Longon to St Sauveur sur Tinee, a wait of two hours for the bus to Plan de Var, then a very uneasy wait for a second bus which arrived an hour late. ‘The French Alps run on third world timetables,’ observed someone, with a wry smile.

But eventually we made it to the popular mountain village, spent the night in the Gite d’Etape Rougiere, and now have a morning to fill in with cafe, pastry and souvenir shops.

Outside Hotel des Alpes the waiter sweeps the terrace and straightens the wicker chairs. Stallholders set up folding tables and arrange pots of honey and boxes of raspberries ready for the market. Women walk dogs. A toddler in a red baseball cap plays with the water running down the gutter in the centre of a steep cobbled street.

The light is on. The coffee will be ready at 6.30.

The light is on. The coffee will be ready at 6.30.

Cafe, pastry and the world passing by.

Cafe, pastry and the world passing by.

Fortified with the double espresso, I set off with the camera. It’s not hard to fill in a few hours.

Note the gutter running down the centre of the street.

Note the gutter running down the centre of the street.

Alley, St Martin sur Vesubie.

Alley, St Martin sur Vesubie.

St Martin4

No shortage of colour around the Mairie.

No shortage of colour around the Mairie.

La Dame de Coeur. It's a restaurant.

La Dame de Coeur. It’s a restaurant. Looks nice. No time to try it out, unfortunately.

There is time to buy a slab of St Georges cheese from the wonderful Vacherie Longon. We'd slept in the dairy cum refuge on the GR5 a couple of nights earlier.

There is time to buy a slab of St Georges cheese from the wonderful Vacherie Longon. We’d slept in the dairy cum refuge on the GR5 a couple of nights earlier, so it was really nice to see our hostess Sandrine again, now in shopkeeper mode. People were standing in line to buy her fromage and rightly so.

7 Comments

Filed under France, Hiking

7 responses to “A FRENCH MOUNTAIN VILLAGE

  1. Before I saw your last photo, I was going to suggest you should try the cheese shop but you obviously found it!

  2. What a gorgeous village. I love that corner house in the first shot.

  3. That all looks rather wonderful Richard!

  4. Caroline Queer

    Loved the writing and the photographs. Thanks, Richard!

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