A recent lunch date took me to Pezenas, and since I got there way too early I went for a walk, and took pictures :-). Finding things to photograph in Pezenas is not difficult, but I did kind of restrict my output by using a telephoto lens on my camera, which meant that I was going to have to concentrate on details. And details abound in Pezenas. Take the balcony railings: it is as though someone had gone through an ironmonger’s catalogue and ordered one of each. The variety is simply amazing!
The pictures above are only a fraction of what there is. And then there is the stonework – exquisite and in most cases beautifully restored!
Pezenas came to prominence in the Middle Ages, when the town hosted the important Languedoc fairs, which attracted buyers and vendors from all over the Mediterranean basin. Later the town hosted the assembly of the Languedoc states, a gathering of noblemen and bishops, for the purpose of setting taxes.
Many of the buildings in the ancient centre of the town have been renovated and some of their magnificent courtyards are open to the public.
Quirky details are there to be discovered:
Pezenas is famous for its doors,
and also for little pies called Petits Pates de Pezenas, a (to my mind) strange confection containing meat and dried fruit, savoury and sweet at the same time. According to one legend the recipe has an English connection…
The church has some beautiful stained glass, and an impressive pipe organ case.
Finally I got to the restaurant – Hana Sushi is run by Yumi Matsui and serves traditional Japanese food. The small room downstairs is decorated with traditional origami, Japanese textiles and lanterns, and upstairs you can dine sitting on the floor on tatami (rice straw) mats. There is also a terrace on the first floor, and that’s where we ate.
To start with there was edamame (green soy beans), two types of Gyoza (dumplings) and a salad made from algue/seaweed.
To follow we had a selection of dishes: Ebi Bento, which was with tempura prawns, Sushi Bento, a bowl of sushi rice with an assortment of raw fish and vegetables, and California Sushi (tuna, prawns, salmon and avocado).
It was all delicious and the food was very fresh – of course all important with raw fish! I can’t tell you how hungry I feel writing this – I feel another trip to Pezenas coming on very soon!!
Oh, and the Moliere connection in the title?? During the mid 17th century, Moliere came to Pezenas several times with his group of actors, to perform his plays and to entertain the nobles of the Languedoc states. It is said that many of the personages of the time found their way into Moliere’s plays. There’s a lot more to the Moliere/Pezenas story, but that will be for another post :-)!