Wednesday, 17 October 2012
The Bon Marché!
Post Warning : Market and related food photos again....
As everyone knows there are certainties in life - death, taxes and Cassie loving markets.
The french tradition of weekly markets is such a way of life here still (at least it certainly seems to be, judging by the crowds at the various stalls). This isn't to say that it's the only show in town. Within the small town walls here in Uzès, there are three small grocery stores - say about the size of The Red Barn Market at Mattick's Farm (without the fresh meat/deli parts) as well. And on the outskirts of town there are two supermarkets (supermarchés!), but more on those in a future post.
The town of Uzès is known in the area for the weekly Saturday market (and if that wasn't enough, there's also a smaller market on Wednesdays) that draws crowds from far and wide. Vendors large and small set up in the main square, in the streets leading to the square and around the periferal road around the town.
So the normally quiet Place aux Herbes transforms from this (note the tree):
There are the usual market offerings - two different seafood merchants, including one stall with a live tank so you can pick out your fish and have it gutted and shop-vac cleaned immediately. There are at least four large cheese vendors - and that's on top of the six or more stalls selling chèvre only.
There are numerous produce stalls (with local grapes), honey stands (offering multiple varieties) and olive oil tables (by the petite bottle or jerry-can size). And to season it all - huge bins of spices (where the owner will drop samples into your hand for taste testing):
And it's not difficult to see what's in season right now - with a giant display of mushrooms at this stall:
And your bulk food needs are covered as well (an area missing in the large supermarchés). Here they'll scoop however much you want of nuts, dried fruits - even Japanese rice crackers!
The butchers are well represented here - usually separated by type of meat (the pork people, the poultry guys, the beef vendors) including these guys:
And lest you think it's only food....it's not. Most of the ring road is jammed with people selling skirts, shirts, socks, purses, scarves and knock-off crocs. There are a few more interesting stalls - like this ribbon and thread one:
Or you can find someone (there were two to choose from) to re-cane your chair seats:
And if it's cheap belts you're after - there are three of these stalls scattered through the market. They'll swap out the leather or buckle to make the belt you want and will shorten it while you wait....all included in the price:
This stall sells pottery from the nearby town of St. Quentin la Poterie. So named because of the potters who have been established here for centuries (great clay!) producing stunning goods like this:
The petit town of St. Quentin also holds a weekly market, on Fridays, smaller but with no lack of interesting offerings as well. If you need a feathered friend in time for the weekend:
Or if your old bed is ready for the dumpster, you can find your new one right at the market. Sleepcountry, right in the middle of the Moss St. Market....
And modern conveniences as well.....
It's obvious at the Uzés Saturday market that its ability to draw throngs of locals and tourists, allows an eclectic and interesting mix of vendors.
And drawn they are.
The market starts to come alive around 9am as locals descend to buy their food for the coming days. An hour later, most of the merchandise stalls have finished setting-up and the market population has swollen incredibly. By the time 11am rolls around, it's difficult to manoeuvre from one stall to another.
It's bumper to bumper (hip to hip?) wicker basket-bags and wheeled shopping caddies galore. And patiently waiting with their owners:
Or some who have almost given up hope completely:
Shopping...until they drop.