A spring morning in the South of France...just wandering through the streets of an ordinary little town feels like a sensuous adventure. In the medieval Rue des Marchands that runs through the centre of Apt, where the 800-year-old market takes place every Saturday morning, there are all kinds of intriguing doors to enter, from small brocantes (above) to patisserie emporia and perfume and wine shops.
Here's a glimpse inside Senteurs et Provence, which offers a range of fragrances you won't often be able to buy outside France:
They also stock these charming metal pomanders, which hold solid blocks of scent - there's a lovely selection of fragrances to choose from, and they make great gifts. I hang them in wardrobes, but I liked one large design filled with amber and orange blossom so much that I keep it by my bedside.
Just down the street are several linen shops, with vast ranges of the traditional Provencal boutis, the padded cotton squares used for bedspreads and tablecloths.
As it's France, food is all-important - so the displays outside the kitchen shop are equally alluring. If anything is ever going to entice me to purchase a garlic grater or a herb-grinder, these might!
The displays outside the flower shops are pictures in themselves...
Time for a coffee or a Perrier on on one of the squares, watching the world go by - and wondering whether it might be worth going back via the boutique to try on that crushed silk tunic top, and perhaps making a slight detour via V Comme Vin, the best wine store for miles around. And let's just pick up a copy of Paris-Match to read in a sunny corner of the garden later...