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

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Market day in Amboise - Part 1

When I look at my blog statistics and the key words that generate the most traffic, ‘amboise market’  - ‘market amboise’ and ‘market day in amboise’ pop-up in the top ten. I can also trace the country from which the search has been made. In most cases it’s the UK, second comes the US and third Australia. To my surprise central France occupies a strong fourth place, with Amboise as the server’s location. One would think that people living in Amboise would know that Sunday and Friday are market days in their own town. But when you take a closer look at those statistics you will notice that the person looking for the information is using an IPhone, a smart phone or a tablet … indicating that it’s probably a tourist holidaying in the Loire Valley… And you can’t visit Amboise without visiting its famous Sunday market.

The market was really busy ...

Four weeks ago – already! Time does fly, doesn’t it? – we arrived in Amboise around half past ten. It felt good to be back. The Loire’s water level was unusually high, with many of the otherwise sandy ‘beaches’ and small isles that sit in the middle of the river being under water. Trees growing on these isles were standing with their ‘feet’ in the water, with only the upper part of their trunks and the top branches showing. The shade of the water, which is usually bluish, with very clear translucent patches near the edge, where you can sometimes spot a fish or crayfish, was of an unattractive, muddy brown colour. There was a very strong current, making the water swirl and splash against the arches of the bridge. It looked quite dramatic. The heavy rainfall of the last months clearly had had its impact on the River’s general appearance.

We shot some photos, some of which I posted yesterday, before following the crowd that was heading for the market. In the parking lot by the entrance, which is reserved for coaches and motorbikes, we saw license plates from all over Europe. More proof that Amboise market is a recurrent and popular destination in package tours.

We were stopped by a young woman who was standing by a trolley to which a dwarf goat was attached. It wasn’t very clear what we she selling. But she approached J.L. with a box of ‘Bonbons des Vosges’. J.L. who is never lost for words asked her what the link between the goat and the bonbons was. Apparently she was working with a circus that was, according to French law (ditto in Belgium) no longer allowed to perform with life animals. In order to compensate for the loss of income, she was selling these bonbons on the local market. Personally, I found her story rather ‘thin’. As if selling bonbons could make up for the loss of income from the circus. But J.L. promised the woman to buy a packet on our way back; a promise she clearly didn’t believe … 

We took out our shopping list and started looking for the required items. We needed some dry sausages to accompany Monday’s aperitif. There were several vendors offering a wide selection of flavours. We bought two kinds – donkey (yes, that’s right) and goat’s cheese from a kind woman who complained about the fact that Météo France had predicted a nice and sunny day, which had incited her to ‘dress for the occasion’, leaving her cold and shivering in her summery attire. 

The sausage stall: the donkey sausage is in the second basket from the left,
 bottom row, where it reads 'Piment ou Ane'.
Btw, it was delicious!

We also bought some nice ripe melons: 4 for 5 euro, a brilliant deal! We also got a nice lettuce, which turned out to be excellent, good value for money as we were able to use all the leaves. Very often the outer leaves of a lettuce are soggy and dirty. This one was crispy and beautiful all over.

(more to come ...)


The Broad said...

Best price for melons ever! Were they sweet and wonderful? The market looks fabulous. Glad your holiday was a success -- Amboise is a beautiful place. Hope you get back soon!

Nadege said...

I love going to open air markets in France. I just came back from one; the food always tastes better when it is fresh, local and organic.
I don't always leave comments on blogs as someone might have already written what I wanted to comment about... so I am glad you know who has visited you. (I live in Manhattan Beach but I know that on a widget, it will say Redondo Beach; I don't know why that is).

VirginiaC said...

The Amboise Sunday market will definitely be on my list if ever I travel there.
WOW! Were the sausages really made from donkey meat?

Louise said...

A very descriptive post...thank you for all the wonderful details. After reading about the market I am reminiscing about my own market ventures during my recent sojourn in France...I am looking forward to your next instalment!

Leon and Sue Sims said...

We've been to Amboise market a few times now and loved it - Sue and our friend in the Loire bought produce so Sue could cook a dinner for K&W, our hosts Carole and Mikee and a retired couple down the road.
A memorable night brought back by your post.

Carolyn said...

Big news from Belgium. You'll be getting a new king soon. How do you think Belgians feel about this?

Jean said...

We stumbled across the market at Amboise a few years ago, purely by accident and I'm amazed how busy and vibrant it was.
We love French markets, they're so colourful and ..... fascinating.

ladybird said...

Kathie, The melons were delicious: juicy, sweet and deep orange in colour.

Nadege, It sometimes even says 'Hermosa Beach'! ;)

Virginia, They must have been. The meat was dark red, almost brown. Not unlike horse meat.

Louise, Thank you. For my next instalment I'm returning to a Belgian topic! But after that, it's back to the Loire Valley.

L&S, Amboise is one of the best markets in the area, although I was quite impressed by the one in Selles s/cher. More about that later ...

Jean, I find it hard to resist buying all the lovely produce you'll find in French markets. That's one of the reasons why we stopped staying in hotels, in order to be able to buy and 'prepare' our own picnics.

Carolyn, For some odd reason your comment doesn't appear here, but I did get it via email. See today's post!