Postcard From Burgundy - Part 4 - Market Day

Postcard From Burgundy – Part 4 – Market Day

One of the best things about France is its outdoor markets, and every town has one. A centuries old tradition, le marché is the happening place for procuring the week’s privisions and no doubt a good deal of gossip. Like Did you see Pierre? What  was he thinking with that beret…? In […]

One of the best things about France is its outdoor markets, and every town has one. A centuries old tradition, le marché is the happening place for procuring the week’s privisions and no doubt a good deal of gossip. Like Did you see Pierre? What  was he thinking with that beret…?

Market Day in Beaune, in front of the Hospice de Beaune
Market Day in Beaune. In the background is the Hospice de Beaune, the grand 15th-century "palace for the poor" built by the Burgundian duke Philip the Good to care for the sick and indigent.

In addition to gossip, fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses, there are also condiments, local and artisanal crafts, housewares, and clothing. The humblest items are made into the most artful displays. Leave it to the French to style their radishes, and they do. This is  l’art de vivre at its most quotidian — and most inspiring.

Candy and fruit in Beaune market
Candy and fruit. See the Gingembre in the front? Candied ginger and gingerbread are specialities of the region.
Olives in Beaune market
Olives, of course
Pasta, Beaune Market
Wouldn't you love to be able to buy fresh pasta like this?
Radishes in Beaune Market
These radishes could be a painting.
Sausages in Beaune Market
Sausages - les saucissons. See if you can say les saucissons three times real fast.

And what, I ask you, is a saucisson without moutarde? Dijon is in Burgundy, as you know. As you may not know, the popular Dijon mustard Grey Poupon was first made in 1777 and named for the two fellows who started it. Today it is made by Kraft.

Mustard in Beaune Market
Mustard in many iterations with herbs and spices

Speaking of mustard, we were surprised to learn they don’t even grow it in France anymore. In case you missed Postcard No 2, you can read it here. (Scroll down to the last paragraph. The suspense is killing you, admit it. What? You didn’t read Postcard No. 2…?)

Tin heart chandelier in Beaune Market
You never know what you'll find at these markets. This tin heart is a chandelier lit by a votive candle at its base. I have non-buyer's remorse over this, but it was a little large for the suitcase.
Garlic in Beaune Market
Gallic garlic
Baskets in Beaune Market
The baskets are great, and half the price they are in the U.S. They're also hard to pack, alas.
Bake sale in Beaune Market
Even les enfants get in on the act. The French economy needs all the entrepreneurs it can get. His Grace cheerily points out that if this were California or New York, these children would be arrested.
Fishing Beggar in Beaune
Another entrepreneur of sorts, with a plastic cup tied to the end of his rod. This is probably not what the New Testament means by "teach a man to fish," but I give the guy credit for his sense of irony. That and some spare change. Bless him and his worthy companions, and thanks to him for reminding us of all we have.

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