We are staying in the heart of Ansouis. Three centres of commerce in the village are within a few feet of our door - the boulangerie, the tabac and the Bar des Sports. The latter is by far the most interesting to first-time visitors like us. The Bar des Sports is the centre of what passes for much daily social interaction here in Ansouis. It is run & owned by JJ who lives a few steps (take 5 big steps - that's about how far away he is from work) across the street. He opens at 7:00am, closes at 8:00pm and he is there every day, 7 days a week, all but 2 days a year. He closes New Year's Day and a half a day at Christmas. He wears flip flops, smokes a lot and likes to sit on a bench in front of his house, where he can survey his domain - some tables would be out of his line of sight if he stayed in the bar.
The word "bar" should not suggest a dark interior space with service restricted to alcoholic drinks. The life of the Bar des Sports, at least in the warm months, occurs mainly outside at a number of new-since-we-arrived multicoloured tables and orange chairs. JJ's daily outfits have been colour-coordinated with his new furniture since it arrived. AND, while perhaps in cooler months, patrons are gathered inside to follow sports on TV, in the summmer the word "Sports" in the title of the bar, doesn't appear to signify anything. The Bar des Sports offers a light fixed lunch during the week and a barbeque lunch on weekends.
JJ is serving café to a small group of regulars almost as soon as he opens, café crême to a varying number of our group before 8:00am, and likely a drink of some sort to many locals and most visitors to Ansouis throughout the day. In the late afternoon JJ is often engaged in a conversation with a table of the same group of people - appear to be friends - but he sits apart, ready for business.
For the past few days, most of us have dropped in for a Monaco (pronounced "Moonaco" - with the emphasis on the "a" - as in in Menachem Begin) - the unofficial start of Happy Hour at Chez Barbara.
He's fairly reserved at first, but we have noticed a more relaxed and friendly interaction the longer we have been here - likely has something to do with how much we frequent his bar. Fair enough. He's running a business, not part of the local colour for our entertainment.
JJ and the Bar des Sports have added to our most enjoyable time in Ansouis. We're glad he's here.