Just Another Saturday in France


It’s Saturday, and for us that means the vegetable market in Cluny.

Markets in France, the good ones, are not just markets but events. Today, a sunny Saturday in July, we're off early so as not to miss any of the action. With a brief stop to feed the Poubellies (see this post), we arrive to streets closed to traffic and full of shoppers with saucy chapeaux and baskets, kids and dogs. Today there's an art show, and Morris dancing on the square


(photo above), and a band of bagpipers. Ron heads off for du pain before he stakes out a table at the Bar du Nord in the center of the square, and I’m off to gather the summer bounty. Our table, shady under the big parasols, sometimes expands to 20 or more friends and neighbors. We are on les bises (kissing) terms with all the servers. There’s an estivale spirit in the air, that fun French word that means summery.

The group starts with coffee, some drifting off to shop. Our friends Sabine and Gerard arrive at the café with a beautiful basket, brimming with cherries from their orchard, and lots of napkins. A bit later everyone is settled in and we switch from coffee to pitchers of rosé. After the bells in the abbey strike twelve, some of us wander off to find a sunny terrace for a leisurely lunch.

So join us for a little virtual tour. Markets are one of the things France does best!

Below: coffee and cherries at "our table" at the café; the orange hat I bought.




Above, a Saturday Reveler



Above: Grabbing a table for lunch; a woman demonstrates old-fashioned lace-making.

RECIPE: Ellen's Colorful Summer Salad


And then of course there are the market vegetables! My friend Ellen often brings this salad when we have a potluck lunch. For a smaller group it could be lunch itself. It’s full of bright market veggies, and simple to make.

Boil some eggs, cut into wedges, and arrange on a platter. Next, spoon in a green bean salad. Pile lots of tomato wedges in the center, and garnish with fresh herbs.

For the green bean salad, just mix a creamy dressing with tender-crisp steamed green beans, plus your choice of other vegetables: tomato wedges, red onions, peppers, shallots. You could just use mayonnaise seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of grainy mustard for the dressing; or mix some mayonnaise with French Dressing #1. Miam Miam!


In the COMMENTS: Maureen, we eagerly await the next tour, with its UK start. Michel of Sablet House has watched it from the formidable Mont Ventoux. Christine, you are so right, Paul, Bob and Phil are half the fun! Claude, I will concede there are guys from other countries out there being obnoxious, but I’m wlling to bet most are French, though no doubt a small subset of the French population (Martin, I’m in full support of your idea of what to do with those guys). However, the Spaniards who run with the bulls get my first prize for stupidity.

Photo right: A must-have designer accessory for the market, a chic shopping basket.