The next day, we return for lunch—more violet asparagus; small zucchini flowers stuffed with zucchini mousse in truffle sauce; a salad of red mullet sauteed with baby artichokes and rosy garlic; and lobster and roast pigeon with miniature potatoes—and to talk with "l'impossible Maximin". It turns out, of course, that he isn't impossible at all; he's just intense, impatient, passionate about what he does, surprisingly shy, and unexpectedly sensible. We sit on his terrace, surrounded by a lush thicket of meridional vegetation, as he tells us how he ended up here. "I was born in the north by chance," he says. "Provence is my region. I make cuisine from my head, always with the flavors of the south in mind. But the restaurant business has changed. The Americans who come to Europe aren't stupid. They do their research. They're prepared. For 15 years, they were deceived in France, and eventually they figured that they could eat better in Italy for much less. Now the restaurateurs are crying. It's time for us to realize that the clientele has changed. Nobody wants to pay any more for the investments of the restaurateurs. I own this place. This is my house, a real Provençal house, 120 years old. I'm making high-quality food at low prices. A three-course menu here costs 240 francs; that was the price of a single appetizer at Chantecler. I've lived here for 12 years already, and I've always dreamed of doing this. This is my life, my real life."