The Art of the Sunday Market

“Bonjour madame,” said the Frenchman. He sliced off a piece of cheese from a giant wheel. I couldn’t resist. Beaufort. It was slightly tangy with an earthy rind. Pas mal. “Merci,” I thanked him as I walked away.


The open air market was flooded with smells of garlic, fish, fresh flowers, and of course, cigarettes. I got coffee from Mexico and saw authentic Paella being made in front of my eyes. My roommate bought a fresh basil plant and I bought Majhūl dates.

The art of the Sunday market. The French have perfected it.

The Sunday market used to intimidate me. It’s crowded with people, and the French have no concept of standing in line or waiting your turn. You have to push your way through the crowd and hope for the best. I’ve started to get the hang of it now, but it can still scare me. At the market, you really have to know your stuff. And you better make sure you have your reusable bags or you will be walking all the way home with an armful of delicious food. I had my bag ready to go, but I don’t know conversions from pounds to kilos or vice versa, so I just turn to the lady at her fruit/vegetable stand, shrug my shoulders, and say, “Just give me enough for one person.”

Part of the French market confusion carries a feeling of peace because everything is so chaotically chill. It’s probably good for me to experience the Sunday market, knowing that being chill does not come naturally for me. It’s nice to stroll through the market, watching families pick out flowers or buy their groceries for the week. While I may have to fight my way to the front of the line for some produce, I can also take a step back and watch the commotion, feeling part of a community effort to keep the city afloat. (That’s probably a little dramatic, but you get my point.) Oh, and I can’t forget to pick up a fresh baguette before heading home.

Le marché du dimanche.
L’art de vivre français.


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