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Entries about markets

Paris Markets Part 3

St. Eustache Les Halles

Les Halles was a legendary market that no longer exists. It was once the most popular and thriving market in Paris. The area now is a combination of old and new. The architecturally controversial Pompidou Center straddles one side of this district and an enormous construction project is smack in the middle of Les Halles across from the ancient St. Eustache Church which dates back to the 1500s.
I caught the market on a quiet afternoon. Many of the stands were open, but the vendors weren't even visible. There were clothes stands, fish and meat, and a cheese stand that had a wonderful sample of many different hard and soft cheeses. Of course I bought some along with my baguette. This market is not far from my apartment, so I'll go back for more cheese and see if there are more vendors on a different day. This seemed sparse considering the history and reputation of the original Les Halles.
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The beautiful window displays at E. Dehillerin, an amazing cookware store, were my favorite part of this walk. Sadly, I can only look not buy. But I'm wondering if they ship. I think a copper pot would look perfect in my kitchen.

Posted by teethetrav 05:10 Archived in France Tagged markets paris les_halles paris_markets st._eustace_church st_eustace_market Comments (0)

A Month in Paris in Winter

Day 21: Market in Montmartre

Montmartre is home to one of the biggest flea markets in Paris. You can visit it any weekend from Saturday through Monday. It is so huge, most people suggest taking a map so you don't get lost. I like small markets; the kind where you can find great food treasures and see locals shopping. This weekend, there was just such a market near the Abbesses. Late Friday night, the tents went up. By Saturday morning the tents and the square were filled with people. Early in the morning, it poured. As if celebrating the festival, the rain stopped abruptly. The sun and bright blue skies appeared. The temperature climbed to mid-40s f and it felt like a tease of springtime.
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The longest line at the market was for Champagne, poured in real glasses which you can keep. All day long, people wandered around the streets of Montmartre with Champagne glasses in hand. 42593977C3F3B79A40096B4A6DA2F577.jpg

The next line was for oysters. They were sold to eat right there, or you could buy a dozen or so to bring home. 425D579CE05EC856D645AB78F56C7C41.jpg425EB84DC870DBF45BFEB2E63D6297EE.jpg

The galete is a French tradition. It's a pastry made with light, airy dough and filled with almond paste and other amazing ingredients. It is only made and sold from Epiphany when Baby Jesus was presented to the three wise men through Shrove Tuesday (fat Tuesday), the beginning of Lent. The [/i]Galette[/i] comes with a crown. Inside, a fete is hidden. Whoever gets the fete, gets to wear the crown and make a wish. The line for galletes looped around the festival.
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After slurping down the briney-est oysters I ever tasted, I purchased little jars of pates and some fresh pasta to cook later. It was 11 in the morning, so I skipped the champagne. I know. It was 5 o'clock somewhere, but I have to pace myself.

Posted by teethetrav 00:37 Archived in France Tagged markets montmartre oysters champagne foodie epiphany gallette_des_rois shrove_tuesday fat_tuesday feve Comments (0)

Avignon, France

A Pope, A Palace, A Saint, & Les Halles

Avignon

Avignon is a good base for side trips to smaller towns in Provence. From here I took a day trip to St. Remy, Les Baux, Uzes, Villeneuve-Lez-Avignon. I had planned to visit Nimes but was blocked from seeing it because there were bullfights at the time I was there and was told the roads were impassable.
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The significant structure here is the Place du Palais, the Pope’s Palace. I’ve been to Siena, Italy a number of times and I knew the story of Saint Catherine, the patron saint of Siena, and how she convinced the Pope to return from France back to Italy. In the 13th century things had gotten dicey in Italy and Pope Clement V fled to Avignon. A few Popes later, the Palace was built and Avignon was the de facto capital of Christendom. Young Catherine had a vision and traveled from Siena to Avignon (no easy trip even now) and somehow convinced Pope Gregory XI to leave this lovely place and return to Italy, ensuring her fame and sainthood.
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Popes knew how to choose real estate. The Palace sits on the highest point of Avignon and is still a stunning spot. The views from the Popes Palace are miles long and are still unspoiled. From the Palace and the surrounding gardens you can see the Rhone River, the mountain, and the famous Avignon bridge. statue_in_the_garden.jpgIn_the_Pope_s_garden.jpggrotto_in_.._garden.jpgAvignon_bridge.jpg

I enjoyed strolling through the gardens. They are serene and beautifully kept. The view from there is spectacular. The square in front of the Palace is lively and full of street performers and places to have a snack or a drink.
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Speaking of food, my favorite place in Avignon is the famed indoor market Les Halles. I bought breakfast there early one Sunday morning. I took it outside and sat facing Les Halles in the little square. Me, a few old men chattering in French, a couple of pigeons, and my panecone. I was blissfully happy. I’d rather be sitting there than inside a dusty Palace, even if it was the one where Catherine persuaded a Pope to come back home.
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Posted by teethetrav 08:22 Archived in France Tagged food markets france travel avignon tourist_sites saint_catherine_of_siena_les_ha Comments (0)

Arles Market Day

Markets in Provence

Arles Market Day
The first Wednesday in any month, the open air market in Arles stretches as far as the eye can see with all types of goods. Two main streets are a tangle of shoppers and vendors vying for your euros. You can separate the tourists from the serious marketers easily. The regulars all come prepared with their wheeled baskets to get their fill of produce, spices, meats, cheeses, fresh breads, olives, and fish.
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Stands are organized by their products. Fish vendors line up next to one another, as do the cheese vendors and the olive vendors and so forth. I was especially intrigued by the stands that specialized in garlics. Who knew there were so many kinds of garlic?
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The aromas fill the air; herbs de Provence, lavender, the pungent olives, and fish all tempt you. I purchased aged gouda, a boule, olives, and a small jar of tapenade and made a picnic lunch. The olives were the best I’ve ever tasted. The bread was crisp on the outside and airy on the inside, as only French bread can be. The warm cheese and the bread melted in my mouth.
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Further down the rows, there were dozens of tables filled with clothing and shoes. There were nice things, but no real bargains as far as I could see. I did buy a pretty scarf for two euros though. There were several bargain tables. Anything on the table was one euro. There were the predictable vendors selling table cloths and napkins made of Provençal fabrics. They were all pretty and inexpensive. The only problem was choosing which one to buy.

There was a family showing a goat and asking for donations to “save the animals.” Whether or not the money goes to this cause, I gave them a couple of euros. I figured the goat had earned it after standing around being gawked at. DSC03139.jpg

The locals warn you to beware of pickpockets here, since it can get fairly crowded. The general food market is every Wednesday and Saturday.
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Posted by teethetrav 07:07 Archived in France Tagged markets france spices goat provence arles gouda french_bread Comments (0)

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