With the old railway track running between the two villages, past the Terminus Restaurant, the villages of Quarante and Cruzy are inextricably linked to each other. Despite that, each has it’s own charm and character.
Quarante sits on the top of a hill, forming part of a ridge running east towards Creissan, while Cruzy nestles in a bowl, surrounded by rolling garrigues style scenery. There is always friendly rivaly about which village has the best bakery, but be honest, are there any bad ones in France?
Life in Cruzy centres around the market square, where at various times during the week, supplementing the permanent shops, traders will set up their stalls. From the Fishmonger to the shoe shop, the ladieswear to the traiteur, at some point during the week, all goods are available to buy.
Some of the builldings around the centre of the village are noteworthy too. The Café de la Paix stands all but abandoned on the East side, while opposite is the old Café Bastide, open until a few years ago. Getting in to a conversation with one of the old timers could lead to a precis of which family lived ‘over there’ and how many generations were born in the the house, or may even reveal details of which house was used by the resistance leaders during the war. The bronze statue and fountain, and the cool shade of the plane trees in the square make Cruzy a delightful village, and about as French as it can get.
Moving across to Quarante, there is immediately a marked difference in not only the layout, but the character of the village. The scale of the houses increases, and it quickly becomes apparent that back in the good old days, Quarante was a hub of money made in the vineyards. There are two village squares, quite close to each other. The first of these is the Place de la Mairie. This is where annual celebrations and official ceremonies are performed.
Walking round the corner, past the boulangerie, takes you to the Place de l’Eglise. This is where the stalls set up in similar fashion to Cruzy. The off-white Limestone of the church and fountain make the Place de l’Eglise very bright, with a feel of space and serenity. Walking down the alleyways to the sides of the square gives a sense of history, and how things were greater once.
Visit www.cruzy-quarante.info for more information on restaurants and places to stay