There is a little village about 15 minutes from here, reached by a winding side road up a hill.
It is one of the prettiest in the area; the church and the mairie - the town hall - sit side by side in a half square, surrounded by tubs of overflowing plants and flowers.
The old village well has been turned into a flower feature too, outside the terraced run of houses that teeter down the single main street.
The ubiquitous window boxes still burst with geraniums, and visitors sigh with satisfaction at seeing such Gallic perfection.
But there are only houses, no services, and often the only visible inhabitant is an ancient, much-pupped dog that sprawls in the centre of the road in the mid-day silence, occasionally frantically scratching its fleas.
Collard doves flap in and out of the bell tower, their monotonous drone a mocking insult to local chasseurs who gather to cull the flock one day a year.
There used to be a restaurant here run by a Belgian couple who started off specialising in excellent moules and frites. The restaurant spilled out on to a corner terrace and the couple had painted and furnished it in muted, simple shades.
It was a delightful spot to while away a long lunch under a parasol, or sip Armagnac after dinner in the night heat as the church bell tolled and the odd local called in for a final drink.
Alas, as I recounted here at the time, there is always the serpent in every paradise.
And before long the younger wife spent more time dreamily staring up at the half-closed shutters of a flat above the mairie, where a young single man could be glimpsed peering furtively out.
Inevitably the husband discovered what everybody else knew and in a passionate outburst dragged his wife by the hair of her head down the only street and flung her at the man's door.
"You want her, you have her," was his heartbroken scream. It seems the man didn't want her, and her young children, that much after all.
The restaurant closed for a fortnight, then reopened with both back at their stations: he in the kitchen; she front of house. The moules were rarely on the menu now and the husband spent more time watching his wife watching the now-shuttered windows and drinking the profits than he did tending the kitchen.
Some days were good and the food would be fresh and he sober and she more with us. Most were truly bad and finally there was little point or pleasure in paying to be witness to the pitiful disintegration of a marriage.
The restaurant closed overnight. Owned by the commune and leased, with house, it simply closed its doors. The couple disappeared - in different directions.
A year or so later the mairie found another couple, known for outside catering at local fairs, to take on the lease.
The rather tasteful interior became, bizarrely, a homage to all things Spanish, with posters and large templates of bulls on the walls.
Tapas, of a kind unknown in Spain, were to be served in the bar to the accompaniment of a large TV screen blaring out football or rugby.
In the restaurant a vast, duck-laden menu screamed microwaved meals and a perplexed, enormous man bumbled around the table serving what his skinny, tiny wife produced. One visit was enough and within weeks they too, predictably, had gone.
Since then, nothing. Until several weeks ago when, after much gossip and excitement, the restaurant reopened.
Alistair told me he had gone in the first week. Anything "meat" was off as the new front-of-house man said he had not yet found local meat good enough. The frites, though, were great. Pizzas, dozens of them, were apparently on. Another friend went later and reported good home bistro cooking.
So my last summer visitors and I found ourselves there the other night.
The reinvention was complete in its awfulness. We sat in a dining room with six vast overhead full-beam lighting panels; a canteen by any other name. Trying the side lights, I plunged us into darkness amid glowers from a family table of 12, the only others there.
We got rosé instead of the white wine we'd ordered as he said he had no room to keep white cold. After burnt coquilles St Jacques, he handed out three plates of steak frites; chip-shop chips in a greasy pile. He was very proud of his "home-cooked chips".
G had my steak as her own was inedible, and ate all the chips. M more or less the same. They were hungry. I think I had five.
Clearing the table, the front-of-house man huffed with pride that G's plate was clean. He made her stand up and pretended to lift her up for the chips to sink and give her room for dessert.
He then scraped the plates on to one in front of us, nudging G to one side while beamingly handing back our dirty knives and forks.
Outside the village was still beautiful. But the restaurant is surely cursed.
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