Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Market at St. Pierre sur Dives

Every Monday morning there is a huge market at St Pierre sur Dives in and around the medieval market hall. I bet that market has been there ever since time immemorial. The country folk visit it from far and wide, and it is absolutely worth it.
The variety of stalls is not enormous but the number is. For local products it is a Mekka: produce; plants; cheeses; honey; livestock like rabbits, chickens, geese, guinea fowl etc.; cider and calvados bien sûr! But other essentials are sold as well: bras, bags, shoes, hats, beds and matrasses, plastic tablecloths, baskets, sewing equipment.
Although there are tourists in the summer, mainly British, it is truly still a market for the locals and they are as much worth the visit as the products.
Plastic surgery has not reached these regions yet, and the ruddy faces, the warts, etc. have not been taken care of. People are what they are, and that is that.
What they are is as varied as anywhere else: the fishmonger with his enormous grey moustache and loud voice, the olive merchant whose piercing black eyes and smooth talk charms you into buying more than you had intended.
But the organic greengrocer tops it all. He chats amiably with you while you are selecting this and that, discussing the quality of the peas and football, and in the meantime he is doing his reckoning. At the end of the conversation your purchases are in your basket and he gives you the sum total of them.
This man is a walking calculator!

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