My friend Jane Satow, who runs a concierge and guide business, is an American married to an Englishman. They live in Eygalières and have three great kids. For months now, Jane has been telling me about this village place she loves, a bar/café/hangout with a really fun story behind it. Every time she’d mention it, I’d say “Write about it for my blog!” Apparently Jane got tired of hearing it so, finally, she did. The timing is perfect as the Café de la Place just reopened in early April after a bit of renovation; Jane says it's now nicer than ever. Here's her report.
A little less than two years ago, a group of ten friends, all of them living in or around Eygalières, decided to open a village bar. The idea was to create a comfortable locals’ hangout offering a friendly atmosphere, themed events, art, live music, good regional wine and tapas. Against all odds, it worked—but not without an immense amount of work.
Today the Café de la Place is a fun and happening bar serving superb tapas and some of the best wines of the region. It’s exactly what the owners visualized: a buzzing village meeting place, a bar that feels like it’s been there forever, a place where friends gather to share, celebrate, relax, eat, drink and enjoy a rotating selection of local art.
The Cafe sits right in the center of the village, near the Mairie and opposite the PMU (Bar du Progres), in an old building which had been empty for ages. When they first received their off license, the owners—a group that includes a sculptor, an antiques dealer and an orthodontist, among others--opened with a wood plank for a bar, propped up by a few cinder blocks. Since then the décor has evolved bit by bit, with all sorts of vintage knick knacks, many of them contributed by regulars. The atmosphere is cozy and a bit rustic, but it retains a level of unpretentious cool.
The owners have staged fantastic themed events which are always packed. Parties such as the Fête de la Printemps, with mojitos and grass skirts, are par for the course. This winter there was the Fête du Cholesterol, with charcuterie, and the Fête de la Truffes, with an amazing Brouillade de Truffes served tapas style. Now there’s something every Friday night: the 1st Friday of each month devoted to wine and tapas pairing; the second Friday for dancing and a DJ; the 3rd for viewing cult films such as Grease or Pulp Fiction.
There are also live jazz soirees, with Louis Winsberg (considered one of the top jazz guitarists in the world) and vocalists performing.
The Café has no restaurant license but is able to serve one great dish per event or per day.
But Friday lunch time is my personal favorite. Smack in the middle of the village’s weekly marché, with the fresh seafood truck literally blocking the café entrance, the owners serve up heaping platters of fresh oysters on the half shell right off the truck. I love to grab a terrace seat with a spot of Provencal sun, and enjoy the simple but extremely fresh seafood along with yummy local wines at just 1.75€ per glass. The fresh seafood platters are also served at Sunday lunch.
The new décor at Café de la Place retains all the original charm—and then some. Become a fan of theirs on Facebook and you’ll get all the news. Or call 04-90-26-93-60 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. The café is open every day from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. See you there!—Jane Satow
Jane can be reached at: email@example.com
Cafe photos by Robert Hale