A few years ago we were invited down to a wonderful region of France known as the Carmague. I was very excited by the invitation as I had never ventured this far west in the South of France before but mostly I was thrilled at the idea of seeing the famous white horses of the Carmague and their gaucho style riders.
The closest town to the villa we were going to be staying at was Sommières and I found it absolutely delightful. The river runs through the town and flows out into the Mediterranean Sea. This splendid river is called Le Vidourle. I fell in love with Sommières as soon as I first got out of the car.
We had stopped to get a coffee and ask directions on how to get to our friends’ house which she had told us was down quite a wild track. As with many of the villas that are hidden away in the olive groves of the area there were, of course no sign posts to show us the way. It was a great excuse to stop and take in a little of the towns ‘ambiance’ and we were soon enjoying an evening drink with a few of the locals and it was my favorite aperitif, Ricard.
Everyone knew our friend and she appeared some 15 minutes later in the bar we were sitting in. It was a marvelous reunion that went on well into to the night with singing and guitar playing under the stars, by the river Vidourle. It was a wonderful welcome to the Camargue.
For the next few days we travelled around the area and I saw my lovely white horses which was as thrilling as I had imagined it would be. The beaches were great too and most that we visited were practically deserted which was idyllic. We took picnics with us and messed around under the midday sun as only the British seem to do so well.
But what made the trip to the Camargue so very memorable for me was the market that is held here every Saturday. My very good friend took me into town the first Saturday we were there and I must say that I have never in my life been to such a superb French market. I bought everything under the sun, from jambons to beautiful table clothes with gorgeous yellow and blue designs on them that are so very typical of the region. I found olives, fresh anchovies, capers, walnuts, pistachios and an amazing amount of goats’ cheese that I had never had the opportunity of tasting before. Needless to say I gained quite a few pounds during my visit to Sommières.
If you ever get the chance to visit this wonderful part of France, I highly recommend a stay in Sommières and I know you will not be disappointed. With the sights, the ancient ruins of times long past and the way this lovely southern French town has kept its glorious market going every Saturday makes it a pure delight to visit.
- Region: Languedoc-Roussillon
- Department: Gard
- District: Nîmes
- Postal code: 30250
- Population: 4,510
- Market: Saturday (7:00 to 14:00)
- Sights: Roman bridge (190m long), medieval centre, fortified gate, ruins of a castle
- The writer Lawrence Durrell lived in Sommières