Why I love the market even when it’s cold or rainy #2

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We are halfway through the Saturday market (you can read #1 here) and having our coffee, waiting to hear about the Chambord second-hand and antique fair on May 1st from a lady who was an exhibitor.

Jean Michel and the Chambord vendor

Jean Michel and the Chambord vendor

“I slept the night in my car”, she explains. “It was very cold – it rained all night. The first buyers turned up at 4.30 am. I wasn’t even up ! (Who’s to blame her ?). During the day, it was so wet, I changed three times”, she adds. “I don’t understand why anyone would come on such an awful day. The ground was completely soaked.” When the friend on her left asks how much  money she made, she replies “About 150 euro. I usually make 800 to 1000 euro at Chambord.”

The brocante in Chambord two years ago on a perfect day

The brocante in Chambord two years ago on a perfect day

We were lucky when we went three years ago at the suggestion of Mr and Mrs Previous Owner. It was a beautiful sunny day and the place was absolutely crowded.

We’ve finished our coffee and the story’s over so we move on, after being invited to attend two forthcoming brocantes, one combined with the local horticulture school’s annual exhibition. We’ll definitely be going to that one ! Let’s hope the weather is better …

The Turkish fruit and vegetable stall

The Turkish fruit and vegetable stall

Our next stop is a Turkish couple who sell good quality fruit and vegetables. Initially we didn’t get much of a smile from Madame but now that we have become regulars, she has opened up. Her husband loves a good joke and sometimes joins us for coffee. They own a grocery store in Vendôme.

Our cheese monger

Our cheese monger

Next comes the cheese monger. We buy a selection of cheeses about every three weeks and have a cheese meal once a week.  We’d much rather do it that way than just have a little bit at a time. The French custom of having cheese at every meal is gradually dying out because of the high calorie content and lack of physical activity. We have a large bowl of lettuce and a piece of fruit to follow.

The honey vendor just opposite has a wide selection of local honey.

The honey vendor having a conversation with the clothes seller next door

The honey vendor having a conversation with the clothes seller next door

The fishmonger is next in line and there is often a queue. We buy fresh mackerel whenever we can (an oily fish in Europe unlike the Australian fish of the same name) and cook them whole. I usually buy several pieces of wild salmon at a time and freeze them. There are three fishmongers at the market but we’re not really satisfied with any of them, unlike the market we went to in Paris which had a wide variety of freshly caught fish at reasonable prices.

The kitchen stall. Imagine packing and unpacking it all every time!

The kitchen stall. Imagine packing and unpacking it all every time!

The kitchen stall a little further along is where we buy our kitchen knives and vegetable peelers which disappear mysteriously from time to time. Jean Michel is convinced that when he next adds the compost to the vegetable garden, it’s going to be full of knives.  We can also have our knives and scissors sharpened although a knife grinder turned up at the market recently with a very neat outfit indeed.

The knife grinder

The knife grinder

Depending on the season, we might then find a stall just selling asparagus, artichokes or strawberries all of which are local specialities.

Specialised asparagus sellers appear in season

Specialised asparagus sellers appear in season

We never miss having a chat with Damien, our local biscuit maker. He is quite passionate about his trade and is always trying out new recipes. He seems to know half the people in Blois as well and entertains us with the local gossip.

Damien and his Les Grouets biscuits

Damien and his Les Grouets biscuits

The last on the list is a man who sells fruit and vegetables grown by local producers. I sometimes go by his stall at the beginning of the market to see what he’s selling so that I don’t double up at the other stalls.

So those are are regular stalls, but there are plenty of others who are either permanent or come and go according to the  season. And you never know what else might be going on as well. Today, for instance, there were folk dancers teaching the locals! Would you have joined in?

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5 Responses to Why I love the market even when it’s cold or rainy #2

  1. What a nice tribute. I unfortunately don’t really “do the market” as we live a ways from Rodez and I’m too lazy to go back there on Saturday mornings after going there for work every day from Monday through Friday. I don’t shop at supermarkets either, though — we have a lot of “primeurs,” and of course butcher’s, fishmonger’s and so forth that are closer to my house and have a really nice atmosphere too.

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      Thank you Betty. I can understand that you wouldn’t want to drive back into Rodez on a Saturday morning. Individual shops are the next best thing of course. We have nothing closer to us than the market here and it’s always a good excuse to “go into town”!

  2. Quite a busy market. Our main market has regulars through the year, as well as those coming in when their stock starts to build through the summer and fall.

  3. Pingback: Secret Blois #1 – Around the castle | Aussie in France

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