Monday, 11 August 2008

Meet the neighbours

In summer, as you travel from Grillou towards Le Mas d'Azil (a small bastide some 15 minutes from here with a good market on Wednesdays, and the only place I know where you actually drive through a cave), there comes a point where you blink hard and shake your head, wondering if you drank too much the night before. Because standing or sitting beside the road in the tiny hamlet of La Saret are a bunch of people who look as though they've come straight out of the nineteenth century:

Baffled, you park, and set off to find out what you think you're seeing ...

... and discover that you've encountered Les Sarettoises.

This is how they describe themselves:

"Born from the imagination and the fairy fingers of Betty, we have settled here since 2005, when the sunny days come we live outside in our village of Saret. Each year we are more and more, we exist only for your smile or your photograph and to wish you with our heartwarming welcome to our beautiful mountain ariégoises. Thus leave a small word in the guest book as it will warm our hearts when the beautiful days have gone, for we will be closed in a barn safe and dry and in the warm".

Their expressions and their stances are so lifelike that you just can't help talking to them ...

If you happen to be travelling the other way, towards Foix, however, you might just be quick enough to encounter these people on the side of the road:

Just another couple of Ariège's quirks ...

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