Make sure that you are in Uzès on a market day. On Wednesdays and Saturdays the Place aux Herbes is a tight maze of stalls selling all manner of bread, sausage, fish, hunting knives, olives, flowers and leather purses. I saw bewildering variations on single food themes: one stall was selling rounds of goat’s cheese in a range of sizes, looking like the elements of some tiny drum kit. Most of the cheeses were plain, chalky white; others were adorned with lavender petals or spiky herbs or red peppercorns. One chèvre, labelled ‘l’introuvable’, was black and wizened with age, and as pungent as all the others put together. There was lots of street food to be had: roast chickens turning on closed spits as potatoes fried in the fat that dripped to the bottom; paella piled in pans as wide as helicopter pads; vans selling nems (spring rolls) and accras (fritters made of shrimp or beans). The aromas were incredibly appetising. They amounted to what one French novelist has called a voyage olfactif, a nose-led journey through the cuisine and produce of Le Gard.

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