The sensual promise of pleasures of the flesh.
Forville is one of the best markets on the Côte-d’Azur – and that says it all, really. Provençal produce packs the place. The high-coloured, rounded forms of fruit and veg, the aromas of herbs, spices and cheese, the arrangements of pâtés and charcuterie ... they all conspire to drive the innocent person mad with food-lust. And yet this is just daily shopping for the locals. No wonder they have such a frisky reputation.
Of course, they are also more red-blooded in their food requirements. Some of the more full-frontal items on display might indispose constitutions grown delicate through exposure only to convenience foods. One senior English lady I know almost fainted before the calf brains, then revived, only to weaken again when passing a crate-full of live crabs. By contrast, Cannes ladies of her age were almost diving into the damned crate, in search of the perfect crustacean. There’s barely a squeamish cell in their bodies. This, then, is a fine spot in which to buy the makings of your picnic. You might not require calf-brains (or live crabs) on your bread – but pretty much anything else which you might want is available.
And, if it isn’t, it will be nearby. The little streets round the market throb with good food shops, wine shops, wine bars, oyster bars, ordinary bars and lively restaurants. There is no better place in which to understand how food and drink are woven into the fabric of Provençal life. And – I might be going out on a limb here – I suggest you may be happier in these surroundings than in the more velvety milieux of the palace hotel bars. You’ll certainly spend less.