Joyeuse: Summer in Ardèche
Joyeuse is a medieval village in Ardèche, France. It’s hard to believe that its population is about 2,000, because on Wednesdays the village is bustling with visitors attending the largest market in Ardèche. The market is held every Wednesday and there are over 500 vendors selling soaps, artisanal jams, candy, cheese, meats, beautiful bedding, cookware, clothing, jewelry, herbs, teas, and ready-to-eat food, such as paella, roast chicken, etc. It really goes on and on.
We bought some jams, teas, olive oil soap, and even a pretty silk flower wreath for Chloe. We were so tempted to buy a lovely gray and white quilt with matching pillow cases, but I was afraid that the size wouldn’t quite fit our American bed.
Walk up the stairs!
The main street of Joyeuse is fine, but it’s not the most charming part of the village. I can’t imagine what my impression of this village would have been had we not ventured up those steps. We were about to eat lunch in an unimpressive kebab joint, when I managed to change our fate just in time.
The upper village is like a charming little world of its own, with small winding streets, a handful of restaurants and boutiques, and even a macaron shop that has been in business since 1581! It’s worth a visit, and it’s called Maison Charaix, located on Avenue François Boissel. Now, the Macarons de Joyeuse are not going to be the multi-colored macarons with creme in the middle, but macarons the way I had previously known them growing up: airy, crisp, yellowy goodness.
Where to eat?
A strong recommendation for a place to eat is La maison de Nany on Place de la Peyre. It remains a memorable experience for the past couple of years, not only for its scrumptious and beautiful food, but also for the charm and ambiance of the restaurant. We stepped into a light-filled space with charming decor where even the bathroom was a tiny place of coziness! It felt like stepping into Peter Rabbit’s home – it’s just that adorable. The prix fixe was amazing, and that’s some sort of a lavender liqueur that I was drinking – included in the prix fixe! Nany makes a point of coming to the table and welcoming her guests. This is a place that will make you feel pampered and your taste buds will be happy!
What food is Ardèche known for?
Visit the Musée de la Châtaigneraie (the chestnut museum), which features a major industry that Ardèche is known for, as they produce things like crème de marrons (chestnut cream), marrons glacés (candied chestnuts), Castagnou (chestnut liqueur), and of course, whole chestnuts for cooking. The museum is in a 17th century monastery and if you happen to have a Michelin guide for Ardèche, you can enter at a discount.
And so, this is a little piece of Ardèche. Have you ever been to this region? What are some of your favorite places to visit in France?