A French Way of Life – «Le Marché»
There is something special about «Le Marché» in France. Many countries have open-air street markets where local growers bring their vegetables.
Bakers, butchers, growers, cheese merchants and other vendors all bring their wares. Sometimes regular storefront-type resellers sell standard merchandise – sweaters, hats or umbrellas.
Please note that I just used the French version of quotation marks «» . To keep things simple and sane here I will just say le marché from here on out and hope you can cope with that.
Le marché means the open air market, and supermarket means, well, supermarket, in just about every language. You get the point!
The picture on the right is the marché in the main Cazals square about 5 km down the road. You can see that in the relatively small but lively town of Cazals (population about 650) the market looks pretty basic in the winter (March).
But actually the first market we went to was in the larger village of about 30 minutes away.
Prayssac – a great market! Louie especially liked the drainage water coming off the ice from the fresh fish table. You can see in the picture that Louie and Rosie are leading the way in their first marché experience.
Prayssac is about 30 minutes away from our house. For orientation, on the map below, our house is at “A” and Prayssac is at “B”. Everything seems to be under about about 20-30 minutes away, like our French class, indoor public swimming pool, even a Michelin-rated fancy restaurant. And yet, we live in the middle of the countryside, surrounded by chestnut and oak trees and rolling hills, sheep and cows.
One of our favorite things to do at some of the markets is to have a crêpe. If you don’t know what this is, it is a really thin pancake that is spread on round, hot, skillet sort of thing, right in front of you. This is the crêpe lady in Cazals.
Flipped, sprinkled with sugar or coated with jam, and folded into eighths, it ends up about the size of a piece of pizza, but it tastes like a sweet waffle, filled with jam or Nutella or whatever you have asked for.
Really, it tastes like a crêpe, which is a special taste all its own.
And it is really hot, wonderful on a cold winter day. You can see in this picture of Liz and JB in Prayssac — JB is the one with the full mouth!
Also at the markets are all sorts of cheeses and meats and whole chickens and ducks with their heads still on, and other sorts of wonderful things! Bread and wine and vegetables – more than you can possibly imagine!
Something we especially like about the Prayssac marché is that it is the only one in our area that always has a spice vendor.
You can see here that he has all types of spices, whether French, Indian, or Mexican.
And it is the only place we have found that we can always get crushed red peppers like you have in a US pizza restaurant.
And crushed red peppers are a requirement at our house!
Or how about some olives?
As the weeks have gone by during our time in France, we have learned where various marchés are. But there are so many that we know there are a lot out there that we have not been to.
Next week, we are going to Sarlat on a Wednesday, which is obviously marché day in Sarlat.
You can find where markets are just about anywhere in France by using Google to search for, for example, “market days in dordogne” (since Sarlat is in the department of Dordogne, we are in Lot), which will give you some page like this link: http://www.northofthedordogne.com/dordognemarkets.php. It tells you all the market days for all the towns in the area.
We drove home along the Lot River – lovely.
Street Markets in France, A French Way of Life – «Le Marché»