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I could write about the farmers markets a lot! I think it was my first stop right after we moved to France. It wasn't a Chanel boutique, or Galeries Lafayette, but the market, the baker, and the butcher. That's where we get our veggies, fruits, meat, fromage... and of course flowers. That's where we discover local specialties - saucisson, little pastries and quiches. In the summer it's at the market where we find the sweetest tomatoes, and in winter a rainbow of root vegetables.

Artichokes ready to be a center piece, and a meal

When we lived in the United States of course there were farmers markets. But they were seen more as an entertainment. There were vendors with produce of course, but most shopping was done in supermarkets.

The market is the place to get fresh blooms - for the house, or as a gift

In France fruit and vegetable markets are an integral part of this country's famed tradition of good eating, and is one of those French traditions that never went away. Visiting a farmers market here, even when on vacation, is as authentic an experience as one can wish to find.

Fresh from the farm, my favorite vegetables and fruit stand. Everything that's in season!

In our old neighbourhood in Lyon the market was held twice a week, always in the same place. Now we live close to the Saone, and are lucky to have Marche de Sainte-Antoine basically right under our noses, six days a week.

Another Lyon farmers market, by the river Rhône. It was the first market I went to after we moved here.

The market schedules in Lyon can be found on the Mairie's (town halls's) website, for every district of the city. In France, markets are an integral part of the French culinary tradition, and a part of our life here. While we all go to a regular shop for many other household necessities, the farmers market guides us what to put on our tables to feed our families.

The variety of available seafood will want you to enroll in a cooking school!

The first visit at a French farmers market for a newcomer can be overwhelming - there is no line, everyone seems to be pushing through, and everyone speaks very fast French. And what food stall are you supposed to choose?

The market in our old neighbourhood of Lyon, Les Brotteaux, an essential part of life there

But after a few times you learn that the vendors start recognizing you, you know where to get the best produce, and there are some unspoken rules who gets served first. In spite of what seems to be a frenetic pace, people are patient (one needs to choose the perfect head of lettuce!), tips on how to eat the freshest goat cheeses are shared (for me it is with lavender honey and a crispy baguette), and the recipes on how to poach salmon are received (in white wine and olive oil).

"My" cheese stand - I always go to the same fromagerie, it will take me some time to discover everything that they offer. Bonus - they always throw in a little goat cheese for me :)

It goes with everything one does here - you take your time. And if you're shopping for a few days ahead, make sure to let your vendor know. They will pick a perfect melon for today, and another one that will be ripe in a couple of days.

Local, fresh, delicious

For my family our local market is where nearly all the food comes from. The difference between the store bought, and the market bought in quality and taste is obvious. The additional bonus - we support the local famers and growers. We primarily buy from the same vendors, mostly "producteurs". We know that what we buy from them literally comes from their farm to our table. Everything is in season, fresh, ready to be enjoyed.

Other than being the source of locally produced, fragrant, delicious food, the market is a feast for the eyes. Every season brings different delights.

The market against the backdrop of Vieux Lyon

Now in the spring the bunches of crisp pink and white radishes, the bouquets of green grey artichokes, the pastel of the country eggs on wicker baskets, the rows of white goat cheeses... Even if you never had any artistic inclinations, these sights would make you grab a brush!

All this bounty is offered against the background of Vieux Lyon with Cathedrale Saint Jean, and La Fourviere.

Wherever you decide to visit in France, do stop by at a local farmers market. Enjoy!

Bon appétit et a bientôt!

Do we eat them, or shall we paint them first?


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