Monday, May 26, 2008

Open market, Place Monge

Sunday in a Catholic country - most shops were closed, as we suspected (and actually the same turns out to be true on Mondays), but cafes are open and there is a marketplace in the open square of Place Monge. The market goes on every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday, and there are fresh produce stands; fancy cheese sellers; florists; one guy who sells nothing but olives, twenty or thirty bins full of different varieties; and several stands selling prepared foods, mostly from the Near East and Africa. The vegetables were beautifully fresh and displayed with an eye to tempt the buyer - I only like radishes in small quantities, for example, but was nearly tempted by a glorious bunch of tiny pink and white radishes that you could almost put in a vase on the table instead of flowers. There are several boulangers, one selling pain au levain (sourdough bread) which I normally dislike, but which was lovely when we did buy a baguette from him. I was tempted by fennel and haricots verts, but in the end we bought early cherries and strawberries, chevre artisanale, and kalamata olives. Everything but the olives came wrapped in paper instead of plastic, and with a minimum of packaging, all the better for recycling. When you buy a baguette they just twist a piece of paper around the middle of it and you walk off with it; some people tearing off pieces to eat as they walk.

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