Thursday, August 06, 2009

Market Day In Saint-Aignan

Saturday is market day in St.-Aignan. It's the closest market to us; our own village is too small to have a market of its own. On a nice day it's fun to ride over and park the car in one of the lots around the outside of town and walk in to do some shopping. The market is set up in the town's main and upper squares, both otherwise used as parking lots.

Le marché de St.-Aignan.

We can also go to the bank, the pharmacy, the post office, and any other place in town we need to go while we're there. Sometimes we run into friends and neighbors while in the market square. There are several vendors that we frequent. Among them are the charcutière (deli lady), the fromagères (cheese ladies), and the mushroom lady.

The fish vendors. The green and blue bins contain oysters.

The market has a great poissonnier (fish monger), too. There are several produce stands, a couple of volaillers (poultry vendors), a couple more charcutiers, and a butcher or two. Also, there are a few local folks who sell their seasonal farm produce, including goat cheeses, honey, asparagus, apples, snails, breads and baked goods, and other things.

The upper market: clothes, shoes, baskets, curtains, and sewing machines.

All in all, it's a decent market, even though it's one of the smaller ones in our region. Noyers (across the river from St.-Aignan) has an even smaller market on Sundays, and Montrichard (a bit further down river) has a bigger one on Mondays and Fridays. Thursday is market day in Selles-sur-Cher, about 10 miles up river. That one is a pretty big market and we try to go there a few times a year just for fun. The are also nice markets in Valençay, Loches, Contres, and Blois, but they're farther afield and we go to them less frequently.

Shopping under the shade trees in St.-Aignan.

By far the largest market in our area (outside of Tours) is in the city of Amboise up on the Loire River. That Sunday market stretches along the river bank for about half a mile and includes, along with the standard food and produce vendors, a large flower market, wine producers, several vendors of take-away food (paëlla, moules, Asian dishes, and other goodies), a lot of clothing stands, sellers of household items (knives, pots and pans, tables, chairs, mattresses), and souvenir vendors.

Amboise is a big tourist attraction (famous for it's château and daVinci home/museum) and the market draws in the crowds. If you're in the area, the Amboise Sunday market is a great morning activity followed by lunch. Now I'm suddenly hungry.


  1. The markets are definitely one of my favorite things about this country. My current town offers one every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I believe ... and it is covered, which I love!

  2. The only market within reasonable reach of us involves one cheese vendor and a table full of cabbage (or whatever ONE vegetable is in season). I can't express the disappointment.

  3. What lovely & exciting pics of your market. In Tuscany, the husband wanted to follow a traveling market from town to town.
    Portland Oregon has wonderful farmers' markets, almost every district has one:

    Again, thanks for bringing your part of France to your readers...almost like being there.

  4. French markets are so great! We have a long-standing market in St. Louis (Soulard Market) that is partially covered, partially not, and it's on land that was left to the city strictly for that purpose. It is a littttttttle bit seedy over there, though.

    So, in our nearby FABULOUS victorian park, Tower Grove, we now have a Sunday Farmer's Market. It is largely organic and high-priced, in my opinion, but it is growing, and people flock to it now. All of this was unheard of back in the early 80s when I returned from France... you couldn't get an espresso or cappuccino to save your life, and no fresh food markets :))

    Nice pictures! (Nice job on the lawn mowing, as seen in Ken's blog today :))


  5. Your series on St Aignan has us both interested. We had no idea there was so much to be seen.

    Are your cheese ladies at the market by any chance from l'ecremieres Catherine?

  6. Nice post, Walt. The markets you go to remind me of the farmers' markets all over the Bay Area now, except for the style of tents. The Sunnyvale market has been in downtown for years on Saturday mornings, a very convenient time for us. And we can just walk, which is the best.

    If we miss it, Mountain View has one on Sundays. There is always a knife sharpener there, and he keeps busy. It would be nice to have a Wednesday market somewhere nearby, as that's when we tend to run out of fruit from the previous Saturday.

  7. I noticed the Singer booth and it brought up an interesting point; I have yet to be in a French city that did not have at least one Singer store. Isn't that curious.
    Since Justin's town is now Paris, he may be interested to know that there is a market, somewhere in the city, every day of the week.

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  9. I like markets like this. If I had my way I would buy all my food thus. We have a small farmers market here, at least I can get some home grown tomatoes and melons.

  10. justin, I agree. In the cities you often find that markets operate more frequently than out here in the country. Lucky you!

    syd, that's frustrating, for sure. How far do you have to drive to find a bigger market?

    stephen, In France, it's the vendors that go from market to market, depending on the day. But each market has a different mix as they all don't go to the same ones. Keeps things interesting!

    judy, San Francisco has a great farmer's market, too, but similarly, it was becoming more chi-chi, expensive, and with more take-away food stands than produce. People would just go in the mornings to walk, look, and chow down on brunchy type stuff. Not really good for doing serious food shopping.

    carolyn, thanks. No, the cheese ladies are from Crémerie Pierrot in Chabris.

    ginny, we used to enjoy the Sunnyvale market back in the day, and we went to Mountain View's a time or two. And you're lucky to be able to walk!

    starman, it is! There is a lot of sewing going on around us!

    urspo, it is very nice. I'd like to shop the markets more, but there are many reasons that we also need to go to the supermarket (cleaning supplies, paper products, toothpaste, etc.) and there is often good food at good prices to be had there. So we find we buy less at the markets. And that's too bad because I like to support the markets and the especially the local vendors.

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