Au Marché, Au Marché pour acheter un gros cochon…

Halles Ste. Claire

To market, to market to buy a fat pig…

Well, since we’re mostly vegetarian, we did not buy any cochons, but we did buy a few other items this morning at Halle Ste. Claire, the local outdoor market.  St. Clare Hall was built in 1874 on the site of a convent of Poor Clares (an order of nuns), in the heart of the old town of Grenoble, near the Place Notre-Dame and the former Jesuit College, now Lycée International Stendhal. The places are named after St. Clare, patroness of the convent.It was restored in 1990 and the clock and the fountain are its centerpiece.

As you can see from the pictures it is a bustling place.  It’s a stop on one of the 3 tram lines  that services Grenoble and so it’s convenient for people to ride there and shop.  We get the tram there every morning to make our way to our french class at CUEF (That will be a future blog topic.)  The farmers set up their fruits and vegetables every morning  under the canopies.   You take a round basket (or two) and walk around and choose your items.  You take the basket to the counter and  le fermier weighs your items and dumps them into your sac.  We’ve found the prices to be so low for the freshest fruits and veg.  Lower than le supermarché by far.

The vegetable stalls at Halle Ste. Claire

Inside are permanent stalls that are occupied by la poissonnerie, la boucherie, la charcuterie, le fromagerie et, bien sûr, la boulangerie.  We’ve roamed through here, stopping at the little café inside for un café (noir ou au lait) and trying to speak to the vendors in our Pigeon-French. I’m sure they have a good laugh when we leave, but they are open to explain what they have and even how to cook it. Today we even taught the vendeur de volailles something.  We asked what la dinde was  that he had in the case.  One of the other waiting customers had to tell him that it was turkey!  Then I explained about Thanksgiving to him.  He was impressed with my command of the french language (not).

La Poissonnerie

We made our way to la poissionierre and watched as the other customers chose the freshest and often pinkest fish.  We bought some saumon and made our way to my favorite spot, le fromagerie.  We chose fromage de chèvre, and we were surprised that it was only € 2.53 (about $3.50) for a large section of cheese. I think it would have been at least $5-6 in the US.

We still made our way to a little market nearby to buy some spaghetti, eggs and beer.  We’ve discovered a brand called Kwak.  To our surprise the alcool content is 8.4 %!!!!  (Steve says in the US the content is usually 4%)  It is a good honey wheat- type beer!!!!  We’ve likewise found that wine is far less expensive here.  Are you surprised???

Kwak beer

We’ve discovered the  bread and other wonderful pastries that are offered in the boulangerie et  pâtisseriePain au chocolat is a favorite of mine.  ( You know my sweet tooth.)  The history of bread in France is well-known (think Marie-Anoinette).  The weight  and price of bread is still regulated by the state in France in the twenty-first century.

‘Tis a long day, a day without bread.—French Proverb

* Please click on the pictures to enlarge them and see them better.

cochons: pigs

le fermier: farmer

la poissonnerie: fish shop

la boucherie: the butcher’s shop

la charcuterie: pork butcher’s shop

le fromagerie : cheese shop

et, bien sûr: and, of course

la boulangerie: the bakery

un café (noir ou au lait): a coffee (black or with milk)

vendeur de volailles: poultry vendor

alcool: take a guess?


le fromagerie:cheese shop

fromage de chèvre: goat cheese

Pain au chocolat: a pastry heavy with butter and chocolate (et trés délicieux)

Le dîner par Etienne- des harticots vertes, du riz et du saumon avec du pain

Halle Ste. Claire fountain


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mireille
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 09:38:31

    One more Belgian beer. I’m glad you enjoy it.


  2. Renee Baker
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 19:50:27

    Sounds like you two are having a great time with your food adventures!

    I’ve had Kwak at a Durham bar whose name escapes my memory at the moment. Not far from Carolina Theatre. It’s good stuff, even if it does come in the crazy over sized beaker glass dealio.


  3. Allyn
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 12:55:08

    Hi Steve and Maureen,
    Sounds like you are having a wonderful time and that your French is coming along. How are Steve’s classes going?


    • steveandmo
      Aug 03, 2010 @ 17:12:50

      We’re at the library to access email, etc. Doing okay and making our way through the system. No internet @ apt. yet, so I am behind in the blog. I’ll try to work on it tomorrow.
      Steve hasn’t started yet. Probably not till mid-August when people start coming back from vacation. Grenoble is emptying out with everyone on vacation. Truly amazing!


  4. Barbara & Jim Johnson
    Aug 02, 2010 @ 19:16:32

    Very interesting! I enjoy all your descriptions of things there.
    No more yoga this summer. Carolyn missed the last two classes and no teacher was lined up for the next session. Knowing Carolyn, it is surprising that she just dropped it.
    Enjoy your time in France. sounds great!


  5. Michele Darrah
    Aug 03, 2010 @ 17:11:53

    Merci de me donner le grand plaisir de partager vos aventures, decouvertes, et experiences colorees, racontees avec tant d’humour et de bonne humeur.
    J’attends le prochain episode avec grande impatience!
    Bonne continuation!


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