Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Jumping right into market

Every day in France, there is a market or markets somewhere. These are not like your typical American supermarket. Yet in a certain way, they are.You can buy anything there and there is lots of competition. However, they're generally outdoors, with merchants' stalls lining the town's streets and/or filling a large parking lot. There do exist permanent indoor markets for various growers and industries, but these outdoor ones host merchants who travel from market to market, setting up and tearing down for however many days a week they have to, or choose to, work. The marketers sell side-by-side (or in front of) the boutiques and other permanent stores and shops in the town or village.

There are not a lot of Sunday markets (or so I've been told) but on our first day of Experiencing Provence, we head out for the large Sunday market at l'Isle-sur la Sorgue. In fact, the town seems to be made up of several islands created by the branching Sorgue river. It's a wildly popular market.

Sister conjured up her special parking magic and Beth's car scored a parking spot across the street from the market. We were instructed to meet in the park at a time certain in the early afternoon.

However, first things first: reservations for lunch at the restaurant that has seating at riverside. It's straight ahead, in the middle, of this photo.

We wandered, Sister, BIL, Maureen and I, looking at the colorful merchandise and the magical vegetable cutter gadgets like the one Sister bought last  year. I found a knit top and scarf that I liked and told the lady I'd be back later to buy it. She probably thought, yeah, sure.

Artichoke flowers, in case you haven't seen them in this state of growth,

Sister was interested in buying food stuffs for the evening meal and I still have my eye out for some blue and white Provençal fabric. It used to be so prevalent at market, but these days, most of the cut goods are coated for table cloths, or heavy weight for chair seats. We stopped by a singer who sings and sells his CDs at many of the markets to see whether he has issued a new one. He hasn't.

At which point, I got nauseous (still after-effects of that darned airport lunch) and we went into a cool cafe to rehydrate and to recover from the heat. By the time we finished there, it was almost time to meander back to our lunch venue. And I did stop by to buy the knit top and scarf.

Here are Maureen and I, sitting at our reserved table by the water.

Here are BIL (hidden by his rather large beer) and Sister, across the table.

This is my Salade Niçoise.

I mentioned the Three Sisters in my last blog. The two on the left are part of them. They came to France for a once-in-a-lifetime visit, starting in Paris and continuing with Experience Provence for an "I Survived Breast Cancer" celebration for Mona, the one in the middle, in this picture with her sister Pam. The woman on the right is Jeanne, who is from the same town as these two sisters, yet they had never met. We wouldn't be surprised if they have forged a friendship that will go home with them.

The Three Sisters have been on a once-in-a-lifetime shopping spree. They each arrived in Paris with a large suitcase inside a larger suitcase to carry the spoils home. "Ya know, don't you, that that second checked bag is going to cost you and arm and a leg on the airplane?" we all said. You can tell they're really worried, as they add more goodies to the stash.

Sister and BIL kick back with a few amuse bouche before dinner.

See you soon.


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