Thursday's Child: Village Markets in Perche

Thursday, December 16, 2010
At the Mortagne-au-Perche Saturday morning market

One of the delights of our trip to France was staying in a small rural inn in the quiet district of Perche.  It would be easy to overlook this small region; after all, it lacks the majestic chateaux of the Loire Valley, the fabulous vineyards of Burgundy and the aspirational lifestyle of Provence.  And most people drive straight through Perche from Paris to one of the other well-known French destinations. 

But, having decided to spend three nights in the region, we were amazed at the undiscovered beauties of Perche.   And one of those delights was the village market.  Every village, no matter how tiny, had a weekly market, and we were fortunate that our travels matched up with a few of them.
Every French market has a glorious array of flowers
Shallots and squash melons for sale 
Illiers-Combray is the hometown of author Marcel Proust.  We walked through the market several times while we were searching for the home of Proust's Aunt Leonie, and for a bakery that made madeleines.  We found Aunt Leonie's home and beautiful garden, and we ate our madeleines, but the tiny market in the village square was a true pleasure too.




The following day we traveled into Mortagne-au-Perche specifically to see their much larger market.  Every Saturday morning they host a large regional market, selling everything from cider to produce to cheese, eggs and fish.  If we’d been there in March, we could have celebrated their annual Boudin Noir festival!  (That’s black pudding to you and me, folks.) 

French markets are a way of life.  In North America, we're starting to revisit markets as we recognize the wonderful array of goods that can be bought, and the importance of supporting local providers.  But the concept has never gone out of vogue in France, and locals and tourists stand side-by-side at the stalls making their choices. 

26 comments:

Jess said...

*Sigh of jealousy* A trip to France is near the top of my husband's wish list and mine too (ever since we read that darn A Year in Provence book and its sequels). Thanks for the photos!

Kayte said...

Flowers, France, Proust, Aunt Leonie...all in one post, be still my heart!! Lovely, just lovely. It was wonderful to see the flowers this morning as we are, yet again, snowed in, here in Indiana. While the white and evergreens are pretty, I will give you that...it doesn't come close to matching the beauty of a flower! Thanks for sharing. I'll be back next Thursday (and maybe before!).

Valerie said...

It's nice to be reminded that we don't always need ipads, computers, and cell phones in order to find happiness. Sometimes the simplicity of a market can bring more joy than any beeping contraption.
Thanks for another lovely mini-vacation, post. :)

katerina said...

Farmer's markets are strongly supported also in Greece and they are very alive and full of people. The pictures are beautiful.

Faith said...

Flowers and France! you're so lucky Beth. This would be my perfect place( acutally I will call it heaven) Great picutres! Count your blessing girl :)

ezsrecipes.com said...

All of those flowers are so beautiful. I love the last picture in particular. I also loved your comment on my husband's beef stew about "why do they need so much praise?" You are so right, and it is so true... they really do! :)

Beth said...

Thanks, Kayte. We're snowed in here too. Seeing the summer flowers again made me smile!
And Faith, you're so right. I count my blessings every day!

Dishesdone said...

Beautiful flowers! I wish we had markets like they do in France! It's just fantastic, thanks for the glimpse of such beautiful places!

Rane Anderson said...

What pretty flowers! Thanks for sharing. I love reading about your adventures!

Indie.Tea said...

You know, I have gone to farmer's markets for as long as I can remember...even when we lived in the suburbs, my parents would drive all the way to the city (San Francisco) just to go to the market on Saturday mornings.
Oh, but a French market must be exquisite. Those flowers are certainly lovely.

Raina said...

This must have been such a nice place to visit. I would be so thrilled if I had a market like that close to me. You must have really enjoyed it. I have only been to Paris and loved it, but I really wish we had ventured out to quaint towns like this one.

tenaciouslyyours.com said...

Oh, I just adore la belle France. We ended up in Metz for the night and it was marvelous - we had no idea it was the city of flowers until we were in the middle of it!

What a beautiful market - I especially love the glorious abundance of flowers there :) And the handmade signs.

Chow and Chatter said...

really enjoying this posts adore France

looking forward to seeing your risotto

Zoe said...

The market is so pretty with all these flowers. I would love to be there...

comfortablydomestic.com said...

Oh! The flowers! I love your market tours.

Jenn from Much to My Delight said...

The markets are pretty much the main reason I'd want to visit France! What's better than bushels and baskets of flowers and fruits? Beautiful pictures; thanks for sharing Beth!

Amie Kaufman said...

Oh, gorgeous! I love French markets. We'll be across the south of France for a couple of days in June and I'm counting down. I remember staying in Paris and visiting the farmers' market in the 11e--we were the only tourists there. When I explained I wanted just two tomatoes for my sandwiches, not two *kilos*, they laughed and laughed, and wouldn't let me pay.

Jackee said...

Beautiful! I would love to go to rural France someday. I've never had the urge to go to Paris, but the countryside... ah! Heaven. :o)

Thanks for sharing, Beth!

allieksmith said...

French markets probably put even the best American ones to shame! Beautiful, beautiful pictures :) The small Rural areas anywhere are always the best, aren't they?!

Pacheco Patty said...

I can't think of anything I would rather do than explore a french market, thanks for sharing your beautiful photos;)

Monet said...

I adore visiting markets, both here and abroad, and I look forward to the day that this becomes more prevalent in America. I love reading about your travels, Beth. You always transport me to a beautiful and peaceful place. Thank you for sharing. I hope you have a weekend of love, joy, and laughter!

Barbara said...

Thankfully, we are getting more and more outdoor and green markets in the US. It's a way of life in Europe...hope it will become equally important here.
Lovely photos, Beth!

Tasha said...

I am a florist and have a great love of flowers- how I would love to wonder through these French markets!

Joanne said...

These markets look so lovely! All of the beautiful flowers! Oh what a lovely trip that must have been!

theUngourmet said...

The daisies are just darling. They are one of my favorites!

Rita said...

So very interesting reading about your trip to France and discovering Madeleines. I just posted a little while ago about my Madeleines. Aren't those march├ęs wonderful? That is someting I would love to bring to Canada.

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