I can’t believe we’re in September already, but while it is still fresh in my mind, Tom suggested I write about some of the activities in the area that we have enjoyed over the peak season this year. The common theme for me is, of course, food and drink!
Every Tuesday evening in Eymet through July and August there is a Marché Nocturne. From late afternoon ‘til late there are stalls selling arts/crafts/local produce, food stalls and local wines. This is on top of the usual bars and restaurants in the square and it is always a great atmosphere either with a group of friends or simply on our own ‘people watching’. We love the wraps from the vegetarian stall Le Carré, but there are plenty of options like mussels, sausages, burgers, duck breast, crêpes, pizzas etc being cooked fresh to order.
Another favourite of mine are the Soirées Gourmandes. Our nearest one is at La Sauvetat du Dropt (an easy cycle ride) each Friday evening. A ‘field’ in the village is set out with long benches and surrounded by local food producers plus beer, wine, water and bread on sale. You take along your own plates, cutlery, glasses etc choose what you fancy and sit at the communal benches soaking up the atmosphere. There is often a local band playing and the French of all ages love to dance / line-dance at these events.
On a smaller scale but in a beautiful setting with a relaxed Sunday Lunch vibe is the Marché des Producteurs de Soumensac. Set up on the top of hill with beautiful views across Dordogne / Lot et Garonne, as above with the communal benches and choice of food trucks etc, it is a great way to spend a few hours on Sunday followed by a walk around lac de l’escourrou to help walk off the lunch on the way home. The warm goat’s cheese and bacon salad with honey is one of my favourites there!
For the last couple of years, on Thursdays in Eymet, there have been the ‘Apèro Cadix’ evenings organised by the association of local wine producers around Eymet with two different vineyards selling wine each week and a selection of local food trucks. Set in the grounds of the Chateau with benches, deck chairs and straw bales plus a play area for the kids, the first part of the evening has a local band playing before handing over to the disco to see the night out.
As well as the regular events during the summer, there are some great one-offs. On the evening of la fête nationale, 14th July, a celebration is held in Parc Bretou in Eymet with live music, food, wine / beer tents, dancing and a very impressive fireworks display at around 11pm. There is normally music / disco / celebration in the Bastide too, but I love the ‘very French’ celebrations in the parc.
A hugely popular event for Eymet during the summer is the ‘Oyster and White Wine’ festival on August 15th. Being a couple of hours away from Arcachon, fresh oysters are on sale in Eymet every Sunday morning in a couple of places, but this festival celebrates them in style. Le centre ville is packed with stalls selling all sorts of food and drink (as well as the obvious) and there is a real party atmosphere from noon until midnight. Even I was spotted dancing towards the end of the evening this year.
Some friends took us to a wine tasting at a local vineyard, I assumed it would take an hour or so, but 4 hours later we were still eating and drinking in the most beautiful setting. This is something I would like to do more of next year.
We attended a ‘pop up Indian feast’ night at another local vineyard, spent a lovely evening with friends eating great food and drinking great wine and were lucky enough to be put up in my friend Jill’s gite for the night before going back to get the B&B ready for the new arrivals.
There are lots of other events locally and further afield, some that we’ve been to and plenty more that we haven’t tried yet…most involving food and wine…but I think we’ve done well this year given how much busier we have been at Le Portanel.
The first week in September is arguably one of the best weeks to live / visit here because the summer rush is over, the weather is normally still great and it’s the last week of the season for the night markets and foody outdoor events. We have four more very busy weeks ahead for the B&B before we slip into the quiet season. Where did the summer go?