National Geographic : 1967 Jun
"Perhaps not yet," he sighed, settling back again. "But it is a lovely day and it is quiet here away from my family." I left my fisherman to his catch and with a net shopping bag set out to market. In the Vieille Ville solid citizens were going about their affairs in the manner of their forefathers. Even among other Frenchmen, the men of the Midi, the south of France, are noted for adherence to tradition. They tend dim little shops, or care for vines on hillside terraces built by the Greeks, or quest forth on the sea in boats unchanged in type through the gen erations. Among themselves they speak their own dialect. They season food heavily with the garlic and tomatoes dear to Latins, and 806 cook it in olive oil introduced by the Greeks. They prefer their fruity rose wines to the grands crus of Bordeaux or Burgundy. Following a woman carrying a net bag sim ilar to my own, I came on a small square. Heavily foliaged plane trees shaded trestle tables. Somewhat uncertainly I took my place in front of a display of garden produce heaped in colorful abundance. When I hesitated be fore such profusion, an elderly couple stand ing close took my confusion for French polite ness. Our acquaintance began on a note of dialogue straight from the old Alphonse and Gaston comic strip. "Apres vous, monsieur," said the gentleman. "Non, monsieur, apres vous," I replied. "Je vous en prie, monsieur, apres vous!" he said with a bow.