Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Another market

If Amboise has the best market in the Touraine, Bourgeuil’s Tuesday market is a close runner up. I can’t visit the region without stopping at Bourgeuil. Last month, we set out around nine in the morning, taking the Nationale that runs along the Loire River. It’s about 70 km and the drive takes about an hour. On the way you pass the city of Tours, the intriguing Pile de Cinq-Mars, the castles of Luynes and Langeais and the nuclear plant near Port Boulet. You can see the two large cooling towers of the plant from a long distance. They look like two gigantic chimneys puffing big white clouds of steam into the air.  

While I was pointing this out to my friends, we missed the ‘départementale’ that runs through the vineyards of Bourgeuil and Saint Nicolas de Bourgeuil and drove into town from the South instead of the North. I was slightly disorientated by this and hadn’t the faintest idea about the parking options, or the way into the market. But then I remembered that the best way to find a market is to follow a woman carrying a wicker basket. Soon you’ll see more people going in the same direction, all carrying baskets or large shopping bags. By the time you see people coming the opposite way, carrying baguettes, vegetables and fruit you can count on the market being just around the next corner.  

We found a convenient parking space in the car park of the local supermarket – not sure if we were allowed to park there not having the intention to visit the supermarket. But more people seemed to do the same thing, so we thought it was safe to leave the car there. It was just a short 3 minute stroll into the market. Once again we came in the ‘wrong’ way and I had trouble finding my bearings and the vendors that I wanted to visit. 

First stop was the honey lady. It’s still the same woman I shopped with n 1999 when I bought honey for my mother and honey vinegar for myself. I’ve been a yearly customer, except last year when I didn’t travel to the Loire. I think she vaguely recognizes me, but has never mentioned it. Although I know that none of us is getting any younger, I thought that she had aged a lot in two years time. Moreover, she was no longer manning the stall on her own but had the help of a young couple. Her daughter and son-in-law, perhaps – or maybe the other way round? I bought the usual and Vera also bought two jars of honey. 

Here are some images of our visit.

The old market hall of Bourgeuil, with the honey lady in her usual spot
(in the back on the left, dressed in a red jumper).

Queuing to buy some radishes and cherries.

We bought a beautiful and juicy melon from this vendor.

The Micky bar where we usually have a drink when we have finished
our shopping. Mats and Vera weren't thristy though and we moved on.

Returning to the carpark with our 'loot'.

The church of Bourgeuil around which the lively weekly market is set up.
Posting this photo just made me realize that I've never been inside
and that I haven't even seen the village without
it's Tuesday market in full swing.
I'm here and now making a mental note to do that the
next time I'm in 'La Touraine'.


Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Any French market is a fun day out and this looks like no exception. Have a great day Diane

Louise said...

Martine. I just love the markets in France. I wander around like a little girl, eyes wide open...and then the cook in me takes over and I think of dishes I can prepare based on the beautiful, fresh produce. A jo! I hope the markets in Nouvelle Caledonie are as good. I am having two weeks there in August, attending a French language course. Fingers crossed!

The Broad said...

Your post has be really itching to get to France as soon as possible! By the time I get there -- maybe next week or the following at the latest -- it might even be time for a night market! Your descriptions and pictures bring the joy of these places alive...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great pictures Martine, I really like these markets too. Not having been to France last year, nor this year it's good to have a virtual French market experience. Much enjoyinhg the virtual tour of the Loire in general! Thanks

The Beaver said...


That was our M.O last year when we visited Bourgeuil on market day. Didn't know where the market was and we followed those who were carrying goodies and I believe that we must have parked in the same parking lot .

ladybird said...

Diane, You can't go to France without visiting at least one market. It's so much part of local life.

Louise, I can imagine that the markets in NC will be just as good or even better - think of all the exotic fruit and vegetables - than the ones in France. I hope you'll have a lovely time. Try not to pick up the local French accent, though! :))

Kathie, Hang in a little longer; you're almost there with a whole summer to enjoy!

Veronica, Thank you! Maybe we should consider visiting 'Saint Onion' together next year!

TB, If you drove into Bourgeuil from the South, I'm pretty sure that is was the same parking lot! Pity you weren't there this year ;)