Checking the markets. France’s Farmers Markets in Pictures.

I love France.

It is by far my favourite country on earth to explore and I have been lucky to visit on many occasions. The stereo-type of the rude Frenchman is unfair, at least I think so. I believe what we as travellers may actually be detecting is more-so a feeling of pity towards us. A sadness, for us, that we aren’t lucky enough to be French! At least in the countryside I believe this to be so. In Paris they just dislike tourists as I would if I had to share my city with around 13 million visitors each year!

The French can also be a fascinating contradiction.

Sarlat morning market

Sarlat morning market

Many possess a nonchalant air, replete with cigarette dangling languidly from the corner of their mouth. They slowly shrug their shoulders at you whilst looking crestfallen at the banality of the question you have just asked them. Such laissez-faire!

Yet this same soul will then spend ten minutes seeking baking and crust perfection before purchasing a baguette and will almost bury their nose inside the piece of fruit they are sniffing as they check for optimal ripeness.

Beaune Market

Beaune Market

French Food Markets. In a word – Bliss.

I have travelled extensively for two decades now and without doubt one of my all time favourite things to do is to simply stroll amongst the stalls of a Farmer’s Market in France. You need to hit them early and it doesn’t matter if you attend in a village with 300 inhabitants or a city of three million l’ambiance is the same. It is a pleasing assault on the senses.

A chaotic amalgam of sounds, colour, smells, language & dialects, textures, cuisines and cultures that all somehow just works and is never overbearing.

Beaune Market.

Beaune Market.

Remember above when I said that the French are a contradiction? Well it continues with how they can decide to purchase their food.

Hypermarket versus Marché

France has some of the largest supermarkets in the world and they are very popular with the populace. But they also have amazing daily, weekly and monthly fresh food markets that are also extremely popular. Maybe it’s because I am always a visitor that I so favour the markets over the convenience of the hyper-marches.

To me there is no comparison.

  1. Trundling your trolley along ubiquitous aisles serenaded by trite Muzak aware that you are in Lyon but knowing it could just as easily be Los Angeles. Or
  2. Meandering the labyrinthine layout of a village market with the serenity punctuated by vendors loudly sprucing their wares and the fragrance of freshly cut flowers and ripe fruit perfuming the air

I’ll take number two please, and yes, I am aware I’m biased. I often never buy anything at all at these markets. I’m there to wander, to observe and to photograph. My perspective is a little one-sided. But you see…

I don’t often go to the supermarket with my DSLR.

France’s Farmer’s Markets. A Gallery [click an image to enlarge].

About Saxon

I'm passionate about travelling, music, photography, blogging, 'Social Anthropology' (the posh term for people-watching) and creating content. I travel to learn and observe to understand. My dream day would look something like this.... A bottle of red (or two), fresh baguette (or two) & wedge of Camembert (or two), a balmy Paris September eve spent people-watching in fine company on the banks of the Canal St Martin.

There are 7 comments

  1. janemorley2014

    I’d have to agree Saxon and say the French are a very contradictory lot! Where I live in south west rural France there are definitely 2 very different worlds in evidence. The old rural French life still hanging on by a thread in the local markets, communal meals, church, viticulture and the overwhelming modern world of the hypermarket, internet, chain stores, fast food, cheap modern housing and mass exodus to the big towns. The same thing has happened in England of course but perhaps 20 years earlier and now people are beginning to return to some of the older values and rediscover some connection with the land and a richer, slower pace of life. I hope the cycle will come round here too because the French risk losing so much that is precious about their life and culture if not!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Saxon

      I always just visit as a visitor so I know I don’t get to really grasp that ‘reality’. There is such a resurgence in paddock to plate and Slow Food et al. Hopefully those traditional ways don’t die out with the generations. If we thought Gen Y are scary then look out for Gen Z!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. janemorley2014

        I think if enough people like ourselves feel the way we do, we should be able safeguard these things. Can’t help feeling the era of ‘money above all else’ is starting to show some cracks in the sparkly veneer and the call of simple pleasures may yet win out! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Carolyn

    I agree, Saxon. There is nothing as good as wandering among the stalls at a French market. The market is more than just a place to buy food (and it’s always the freshest, in-season produce for sale) – it’s a meeting point, a place for the locals to catch up and share the latest gossip. And whilst I am a bit partial to the odd Carrefour visit (purely for comparison reasons, of course!), I wouldn’t dream of taking my camera in to the supermarket either.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Saxon

      Haha. Yes when you notice you are out of pasta at 5pm then a trip to the Carrefour is in order! Dangerous places those Hypermarkets though. Especially the wine section 😉

      Like

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