Vive la France!

Vive la France!

Welcome to my blog -- follow us as we travel around France.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Languedoc - Day 4: Market Day in Clermont l'Herault

The wind let up today and it was a lot warmer -- about 25 degrees.  Very pleasant.

In my morning ramble through Lezignan la Cebe for our morning baguette, I see something new everyday.  I exchange "bonjours" with several people each day.  I see the children going to school and the mail carrier delivering the mail.  The housewives are out getting their morning bread and two or three gather together to exchange the latest news. Last Monday, when I was approaching the boulangerie, a man was coming out and apparently recognized me as a stranger in the village.  We struck up a conversation -- I think he understood me better than I understood him, but he told me I spoke French quite well.  I wonder how many people he told about me and our conversation. 

Clermont l'Herault is a sizeable town about 10-12 km north of us.  Today was market day as it is every Wednesday.  In fact, Clermont has had a market on every Wednesday since the year 1000!  You get a real sense of the history and continuity here -- much more so than in the US where our history goes back only about 400 or 500 years.  This isn't just a farmer's market -- you can buy just about anything and everything there: shoes and clothing, including underwear; housewares; hobby supplies; leather goods; jewelry -- just to name a few.  And food: fresh meats, fish, poultry of all kinds; cooked food, including paella, couscous, rotissery chickens; sausages, cheeses, nuts, olives and olive oil, jams and honey; fruits and vegetables -- if it is in season, you can buy it at the market.  The market is also the social event of the week.  Friends and acquaintances, meeting, shaking hands, kissing cheeks, gossipping, passing on the lastest news.  Going to a market like the one in Clermont is every bit as much of a "can't miss" experience as going up the Eiffel Tower.  You really feel you are a part of the community -- even though the vendors have to help you with your French and count out the money for you.  When you can't understand how much something is, all you have to do is hold out a handful of coins and the vendor will pick out exactly what he needs -- I've never known them to take more.  And, if you give them even a penny too much, they will give it back.

One of the first vendors we saw this morning was a man demonstrating bowl covers.  They are rubber or latex and very flexible, come in 2 sizes and fit both round bowls and square or rectangular casseroles.  They are airtight.  Superior to foil and plastic wrap (at least that is what I surmised when he waved around rolls of those). Those who know me, know what a sucker I am for gadgets, and I knew I wanted some of those.  This guy was so into his spiel that even when I waived 20 euros around, ready to buy, he wouldn't stop, much less take a breath.  It really got to be funny and as a little crowd gathered, his spiel heated up even more -- he just kept going and wasn't going to stop until he was done & of course, we didn't understand a word of it.  He talked really fast.   But, we did understand that they were 20 euros for 2 (1 of each size), or 30 euros for 4 (2 of each size) -- I bought 4 when he was finally ready to take my money. 

Mom was quite tired after all the walking yesterday, then the walking at the market today, so we stopped for coffee before going to the Hyper U for more groceries, then going home.  We ate lunch out on our terrace today -- it was so pleasant.   After lunch we went into Pezenas to see if the olive shop was open, but it was still closed, so I asked about it at the shop next door and apparently it is permanently closed.  It's too bad because we wanted to see the woman who ran it and whom we became friendly with when we were here before.  We also checked out the quilt shop, but it was closed as well.  There was a little note on the door explaining that it was closed this afternoon.  When we were waiting to cross a street, a funeral procession came along -- the hearse leading with maybe 20-25 mourners walking behind. 

After we got home, Mom took a rest and I've been watching TV - British satellite, and mostly old American shows.  It's now almost 7 pm, so time to start dinner.

No comments:

Post a Comment