Every Sunday, when we are in Paris, we go to the local market at Sainte Eustache, regardless of the weather. We have an addiction to fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh fish and, of course, oysters on Sunday. When it snowed last week, we wondered how many vendors we would find. As we walked out the front door, I nearly slipped on the ice on the threshold despite my new shoes. After that, I was extra careful!
We walked past motorcycles, vélib’s and a Christmas tree covered in snow until we got to the ATM at the bank. I felt very sorry for the bag lady inside the makeshift tent even though it was positioned over a warm air vent. It’s very sad to see the number of homeless people constantly increasing in the streets of Paris and even more noticeable in winter.
When we got to the market, we discovered that most of our regulars stall, including the oyster vendor, were there. But hardly any customers! We buy our fruit & veggies from a serve-yourself stall so I made sure I took the produce that HADN’T been covered in snow and cooked the more perishable vegetables (zucchini, eggplant, capsicum) that evening.
The people I felt really sorry for were the fishmongers. They have to pick up the fish and weigh it, then clean it. Their hands must be completely numb. Mine were freezing and I was wearing my rabbit-fur-lined leather gloves from Italy. There wasn’t a lot of choice, but that was understandable. The fish monger thanked us for our “fidelity” when we left.
By the next Sunday, all the snow had disappeared, but it was very cold and rainy and windy so we took our big rainbrella as Leonardo used to call it. This time, the fruit and vegetables were soaking wet. My hands were completely frozen by the time I had stuffed a kilo of spinach leaves into a plastic bag. Next time, I might just take a pair of rubber gloves along!
What amazed me most was the long queue at the organically grown produce stall, right down as far as the Jet Lag café! The wind was whipping around us and there they all were, stoic as ever. It’s strange they preferred the rain and wind to the snow though.
We went past L’Imprimerie on the way home with its “After Work” sign in English. You wouldn’t really think it was the right time of the day or day of the week, would you?
Now, the weather has got much warmer – 10°C today – so I was able to go powerwalking in the Tuileries Gardens. Reminder to self: you still need gloves at 10°C.