Le MarchéThe market is the place to be on Saturday mornings. Here at Marché Forville in Cannes - every day is market day, except Monday, when it's antiques day. It’s season, and fruits and veggies are piled high on every surface from 7 am until 1. Fish, meats, and cheeses too...and homemade pastas with various sauces. The mushroom man, with his ten different varieties. Herbs and flowers spill into the aisles. Chefs and restaurateurs join mothers and couples, shopping for today's meals. There are little offerings tables on the outskirts, where vendors offer '1 Euro' bags...or 'Free' produce.
I love the market - the smells, sights, colors, people! Walking the two blocks from my studio in Le Suquet, I make my way up and down all three long aisles, stopping to chat with the vendors. They offer bites and samples: cantelope, nectarines, cheeses... By now I've developed a few favorite stalls, but I like to try a new one each time too. I've enjoyed the markets all over France. They're my first choice for food, then the little boulangeries, boucheries, Casinos or Spars...or other small neighborhood markets, essential to life here. “Bonjour, madame” comes at me. I smile back. I have been here long enough (and my French has improved enough) that almost no one mistakes me for a tourist anymore. My soul is being woven into a social fabric that holds this place...and all of us…together.
Cooking is a spiritual experience for me as I put some music on, dance a bit, then dig into cutting and prepping. Monday I make a chicken curry: onions, shallots, garlic, carrots, potatoes, hericots verte, swiss chard, sage -- all from the market this morning. It's glorious! I invite a friend for lunch.
We eat well in France. The food simply tastes great! It's fresh, mostly organic, and no GMOs. People here walk to the market, buy delicious, local foods, then carry a bag or two home for their meals. Since I have to walk my bags home, I choose carefully...and just enough for today and maybe tomorrow. Back home most drive to the market, buy a ton of food products from across the globe to stuff in their SUVs, then drive home. Doesn't seem very sustainable, does it?
The rotisserie place is here too, just on the outskirts of Marché Forville, roasting chickens, veal, lamb, ribs, pork loins. Occasionally when the smell entices, and I buy half a chicken to take home, then stop for un café and pain chocolate at the new patisserie on the market square. And a still-hot baguette to take. People sit, enjoying their post-market break, discussing what they bought for diner. Shopping and eating are a big part of everyday life here. La bonne vie. Lunches are still two-hour affairs over great food...and politics. But this morning I forget the politics of this country (and mine), lost in the sensuality of the market. People, borne of the rich earth and nurtured by mother sea, smile over their loaded tables or their croissants and infuse an overcast morning with a sunshine all their own.