The Charm of French Covered Markets

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French Markets in France 

I always make a beeline for the local outdoor market whenever I visit a French town. The products you can expect are pretty consistent – cheese, veggies, fruit, olives, spices, meats, fish, bread, pastry, mushrooms, prepared meals, flowers, and oils. Whew…..

Usually, the markets are in a central area and most are in a covered, open-sided building. Most people arrive on foot with wheeled carts or panniers, and many buy food for only a day or two.  I love watching the interaction between the buyer and seller.  It seems people have their favorite vendors and greet each other warmly.  The vendors recommend new products, give tastes when appropriate, joke with their regulars.  The experience is social and food is taken very seriously. 

Many small towns don’t have a market every day, but there is usually one in a town nearby. There is always a supermarket, but that’s not as much fun!   

Full disclosure…. I’m looking at the markets as a retired person able to take the time to shop every day and walk to and from.  If I was a young person with children or (yikes) a working person with children, I don’t think walking to a market every day would be as charming.  A weekly grocery run, in a car, preferably alone sounds much better!  

Train to Cannes

Today I went to Cannes for a few hours. The train from Nice to Cannes takes about 40 minutes, it leaves often, and the station is right in downtown Cannes. There are three outdoor food markets: Marches Forville, Gambetta, and La Bocca. The one I want to visit today is Marches Forvilla, and it’s about a 15 minutes walk from the Cannes train station.  

Cannes Market – Marches Forville 

It’s quite a big covered space, and only 2/3 full today. 

Market staples 

There are so many types of French cheeses in France. A good fromager can recommend the best cheeses for your needs. Tasting the cheese is encouraged if you’re a serious shopper (or wannabee). 

Ginger for overused knees!

I bought some lovely dried ginger from this vendor. The vendor explained that it’s not candied ginger, it’s dried, no sugar added. I like it for the taste but also because of ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties.  I’ve been walking a lot and my knee is acting up, the ginger helps (as does a Tylenol now and then)

BTW the French version of Tylenol is DAFALGAN.  Even with my limited French, the pharmacist knew what I was looking for, a few words and lots of gestures.   

I’m not a fan of cured meats, but they seem quite popular here. 

This vendor sold many different kinds of dried mushrooms. I’m not familiar with all the different types but would like to find out more.  

There are always flowers for sale. I often see flowers and baguettes peaking out of people’s panniers. They seem to go together. Lovely. 

I noticed that the vendors often list the origin of their fruits and vegetables. In this case, the clementines came from Israel 

The artichokes are huge. Notice the pears with the red wax on the stems. Apparently, these are “winter pears” and the wax, applied by hand, seals the stems so the pears stay fresh longer.  

Fresh pasta, yum!

It seems so different to buy meat this way. I’m so used to choosing plastic-wrapped pieces of meat at Publix!  However, I remember my mother ordering meat from the local butcher in our small town outside Montreal.  

Olives, there were as many olive sellers as there were fromagers. Of course, you’re encouraged to try the different types before you buy.  

Always many types of fish on the Cote d’Azur.

Spices, a very large selection. I may have to buy some before I leave France – if I can fit another thing in my small suitcase! 

 

After my visit to the market, I craved a nice salad and found one! 

My lunch

 

 

About

I'm in my sixties with the world at my feet and thoughts mostly of "where to next?". I retired in 2017, sold my house in Massachusetts and most of my furniture and "stuff." When not traveling you can find me in Florida in the winter and Rhode Island in the summer. Travel has been a passion from a young age, over the years I've discovered I'm a traveler, not a tourist. I prefer traveling solo, with a travel friend, or small groups. Whenever possible I would rather spend time in one place rather than moving around. I'll never turn down an opportunity to go to France, but my travels have taken me all over the world. I've met some incredible people and had some fantastic experiences.

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