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.
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).
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???
We’ve discovered the bread and other wonderful pastries that are offered in the boulangerie et pâtisserie. Pain 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
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)