From the article:
"The village she meant seemed dead, its one road silent and eerily empty.
All that was missing at this French high noon was the tumbleweed.
But opposite the Romanesque church - whose bell tolled an ominous half past one - a lone restaurant was indeed open - and absolutely packed.
This was where everyone had gathered from miles around. Farmers in grass-stained overalls clinked hearty glasses of red wine, discussing the calving season as they tucked into bleeding steaks, while a stone-mason earnestly discussed politics with a carpenter, gesticulating dangerously with his fork.
Hot on his heels came the equally round chef, to welcome us almost as warmly and advise on what to eat.
I felt as though we had walked into a family party, as others turned to greet us with a bonjour and a smile.
On offer was a three course meal for just 12 euros (£8) each, clearly created for a clientele with plenty of time for lunch.
Anxiously, we asked the waitress how long the meal would take. She gave a not unfriendly Gallic shrug. "As long as it takes." But that was not very long at all.
With remarkable efficiency, we tucked into pate on crusty warm bread, home-made chicken stew, and a fresh berry and cream pudding - and were out of the door a mere hour later. Everyone else was still there as we left, looking faintly puzzled at our unseemly rush."
The other wonderful thing about French restaurants was that the service was so good. Sometimes on my bike especially, I felt incredibly welcome, and well cared for. Some days I would emerge from a village restaurant, and feel like I had been treated like a princess.