Do I order in French in France if the waitress and I both know perfectly well that we're both English?

Bonnes, little village near Aubeterre, France

The first Galette I ever met was last year in Toulouse. My niece and I thought their description looked good, and decided to order the one with spinach. It was called a galette Popeye. Thin buckwheat pancake, edges folded in over a filling to make a square. Quite stunning to look at.

The waiter came to take our order.

“Deux galettes pop-eee” we said, in our best French accent.


“Deux galettes pop-eee” we frenched again.

Still no comprehension.

We surrendered and pointed to the menu.

“OH!!!”, he said, in French.

“Le... Pop-eye” he corrected us in an American accent.

I had one again today.

I just pointed.

I was in Aubeterre and the view from the table was lovely.

The waitress and I both began in French. She was rushing energetically between the few tables and was somehow walking on the flats of her feet so the old floor heaved whenever she went past and I couldn’t help remembering that France has termites and that the restaurant was perched on the side of the hill.
She then spoke to the neighbouring tables and out poured a broad rural British accent. ALL of the tables around were occupied by British persons. I stuck to my French because I was in France and wanted to get my money’s worth, but my cover was blown when the real estate agent with whom I had just spent a couple of hours came into the tiny restaurant across the tiny square from her tiny office to get my e-mail address. In English.

At the next table were two men who had also been in the agency- the term “Million Euros...” had caught my attention...and “She...” for whom they seemed to be acting. “She...” was being very hard to please and they were bickering between themselves like an old married couple. Two architects? Investment strategists? Sons?

The delightful real estate agent friend of my B&B hosts had offered to show me to and through a few houses today, to help explore the idea of buying here. I’m thinking of moving from where I am in Sydney and have decided to explore various corners of the world, including this one, as potential new nesting spots.

I know her car is old, but her driving reassured me that my stopping and peering for absolutely minutes in all directions before crossing intersections, growling up hills in who knows what gears, and taking my time painfully and gingerly on bends and twists and through the core of villages is actually how some locals do it. My ego shifted from first into second. Or is that fourth...??

Aubeterre is yet another delightful village and has an amazing pottery studio.

......I noticed a depression carved out of the cliff face that somebody was using as a shed.

We stopped to get “Gazole” (diesel) and I fired up the camera to take a few shots. On the LCD screen I could see my legs. My GOD but I’ve put on weight!!! Then I realised it was the reflection of my legs on the side of the car. Distorted. Phew!!!

The countryside was beautiful again.

............but little stone houses have very thick stone walls and very little light inside. I need light so probably won’t end up in a little stone house. Not that I am looking for anywhere to “end up”...

Once back in Aubeterre, I discovered that not only is there a shed carved out of the cliff face, but also a whole monolithic Church, carved out of the mountainside about 1000 years ago. Visitors were handed electronic personal guides which crooned commentary into our ear in French or English at various numbered points. I chose French to help work on my language skills, meaning my History skills are still a bit rusty.

As people wandered silently through the cavernous space, guide pressed to their ear, look of private concentration and meditation on their face, it seemed as though the atmosphere may not have been too different from that created by the monks all those centuries ago. It was impossible not to imagine those who had lived their lives out there, knowing each bump in the wall and the fall of each step and the character of the echo in each chamber.

Depressions in the floor marked tombs which have been archaeologically explored and emptied. Part of a skull rested on a ledge. It felt too intrusive to photograph it. Him.


Back to Bonnes.