Market Day in France: Experiencing a Weekly French Ritual

Riding my bicycle to the Friday Le Lardin market is one of the highlights of my week while in France. This small village market has all that a person could need to create their weekly meals. Fresh produce, cheese, farm fresh eggs, herbs, bread, fish, meats and the occasional new fashion accessory. As a Canadian my fresh food experience comes from a trip to my local grocery store.

At my grocery store produce is shipped from all over North America and beyond and typically suffers from what I term as “shipping anxiety”. This food is shipped over land, rail, and sea, and typically suffers greatly by the time it arrives at my grocery store. In comparison the food at the Le Lardin market, or any of the other weekly market in the Perigord for that matter, is energetically alive and in good spirits. The last head of lettuce that I bought had to have weighed in at two plus pounds and lasted the full week. Two hands to hold it, the leaves bounced with life as I placed it in my bike basket.

When I finally got this big head of lettuce back to the cottage, each leaf had to be rinsed to wash away the tiny bugs and sand, telling me it was grown in the vendor’s garden and picked that morning.

What I also love is how the vendors greet you with a warm smile and friendly attitude. Over the years they have come to recognize me. “Vous etes la Canadianne n’est pas?”, they say. “Oui, c’est moi”, I reply.

They have become an extension of my family. They ask how I am, how is the weather in Canada, why I have not bought a house in the village yet, oh and, by-the-way, so and so’s grandmother died last month and her house is for sale. The local people use the market to catch up with friends, talk about families, to spread some local gossip, share political opinions, and talk about the aches and pains of growing old.

I load up my front and back bike baskets with my list of food and joyfully cycle back to our little cottage. The satisfaction of putting my items in my fridge is a happy and spiritual experience. Knowing the good energy and wholesomeness of the food makes cooking and eating a pleasure.