My love for French food markets. In words and images.

I love France and French food markets so much. I fit in so well with this nation of wanderers and people-watchers. Where time is often measured by the emptiness of your red wine glass. 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 and arrogant French is unfair, at least I think so.

I believe what we as travellers may actually be detecting is more a feeling of pity. Not schadenfreude nor hubris. Rather a genuine sadness, for us, that we haven’t been lucky enough to have been born French! At least in the countryside and villages I believe this to be the case. In Paris they just probably dislike tourists. I would too if I was constantly tripping over the selfie-sticks of around 13 million visitors each year.

Sarlat Market Perigord
Sarlat Market in the Perigord

The French. A fascinating contradiction.

The French can offer up a stark contrast in both attitudes and enthusiasm to different activities.

On the one hand many possess a nonchalant air. Often replete with cigarette dangling languidly from the corner of their mouth.  Dare to ask them a question at a cafe and they may slowly shrug their shoulders at you whilst looking crestfallen at the banality of your query. Such laissez-faire!

Yet this same soul will then spend ten intense wide-eyed minutes at a boulangerie seeking baking and crust perfection before purchasing their specific baguette of choice.  Such contradiction. And I love it! Vive la difference!

French Food Markets. In a word – Bliss.

old lady at sarlat market
Returning from market with shopping bag in hand

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 the atmosphere 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.

Tomatoes at Nice market
Tomatoes at Nice market

“Where time is often measured by the emptiness of your red wine glass”

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. Modern versus heritage.

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 Hypermarchés.

To me there is no comparison.

  1. Trundling your trolley along ubiquitous aisles serenaded by ‘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. The serenity punctuated by vendors loudly sprucing their wares and the fragrance of freshly cut flowers and ripe fruit perfuming the air

Flower vendor sarlat market

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 camera.

old man at Nice market france

French food markets. A Gallery

[Click an image to enlarge]

All photography © Saxon Templeton. Submitted to the Daily Post theme of ‘heritage’

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Travel is my passion and also my career. I’ve spent my entire working-life in the travel industry with roles as diverse as tour guide, travel agent and marketing manager for some of the worlds largest travel brands. My favourite city in the world to visit is NYC and France is my most beloved country to explore. I travel to learn and observe to understand always with camera in hand.

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