Awakening To The Markets in Paris

Bonjour everyone,

I’d like to continue with excerpts from my book I am writing.

…’ Paris in April is wonderful and 2009 spring time was bursting into blossom and the heavy set of dew had all but disappeared. The limestone buildings and gold embellishments of statues glistened in the light of a pearly sky.

The air was clear and we followed the waft of exotic foods to the organic food markets in Rue de Raspail, located on the Left Bank. It was mid morning at this stage, as one never rushes breakfast. The delicious aromas made us wish for an early lunch.

 Cheeses, olives, foie gras and other gourmet delights were displayed with such artistry. The market stalls right across France have to be seen to be believed. Each seller is behind a work of art. Hours in the wee early morn, are spent to “paint a picture”. Fish and semi translucent crustacean fold through chunky pieces of ice , often with mouths wide open as if singing  alluring sounds, like the sirens of ancient times, compelling man to draw nearer.

 Spices of a myriad of earthly colours and rock salt flavoured with rose petals, mound neatly in small woven baskets only to be scooped by a cup at the end of a pole (at least two metres long) and the desired spice emptied into a carry bag. Flowers such as roses and tulips and peonies (the size of a human head) stand elegantly with metre long stems in majestic bundles.

 Cheeses and olives, oils and tapanades of limitless selection are glassed behind a queue of patient Parisians, carrying wicker baskets with worn leather handles. A steaming, hot paella stews in an enormous black cauldron and is hand stirred by a ruddy faced Frenchman. 

 The seller of the olive tapanade stall had a real knack of reeling in any potential buyers and he obviously saw us coming. Like the stalking lion (in this case, the Pink Pussycat) to its unsuspecting prey, he set forth with small, gorgeous gratuit (free) morsels of fresh tapanade  on delicate spoons, under our noses. We only had to ooh and aah for a couple of orgasmic moments, naturally enough, this gave him the desired signal to brandish us with a small container full (with a 20cent discount) and all because we were Australian! It was all so quick, forgiving and we succumbed gladly.

 In fine succession, the foie gras seller behind (having practised his lines for years) had The’re’se and I tasting his foie gras (from the Perigord) announcing that “it was the best in France” for a mere 13euro per tin. Not buying after one tastes so many of his worthy produce, was too awkward to bear and besides, the foie gras WAS the best we had ever tasted.

My dear friend emptied her purse.

This was the typical experience of the markets in Paris and across France. Buying lunch at the markets is not only a more inexpensive alternative to restaurants, but one is buying exceptional hand picked quality produce, oozing with freshness and rustic savoury. Often, it is straight from farmer to the customer.

We walked away smiling…’

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

PS  Go slowly through French markets. Breathe  in the aromas and breathe out the gratitude!


3 Responses to “Awakening To The Markets in Paris”

  1. Therese Hancock Says:

    Ahhhh, the memories – my mouth is watereing just thinking about it.

  2. The next time you go…….. I’m coming with you! xo

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