The weekend is market day in France, and as you know, French take food seriously. Hundreds of locals browse the crowded étalages of fruits, vegetables, specialty food and other delicacies, from spicy salami and ham to crêpes and goat cheese, from fancy cakes to freshly-caught fish.
I usually don’t have much time to cook (and eat!) with Mark and even though I don’t crave French food, I was happy to buy several kinds of cheese and bread for lunch. Mark didn’t seem to mind the crowd and the shouting match between vendors: “my cheese is the best, the best!” “Can’t have fish any fresher than that!” “Taste my strawberries, local strawberries here!”
Times have changed though, you can tell by the weekly markets. First, there are more ready-to-eat meal options than before, such as roasted chicken, salads, savoury pies, etc.—people no longer cook from scratch. There are also more “world food” offered, even in a relatively small and homogenous city like Nantes: Chinese food with spring rolls and “Cantonese rice” (stir-fried rice), Indian samosas, dishes from exotic islands, etc. Mind you, none of these foods is really exotic, it is quite bland compared to the “real deal” but for French it is still quite new.
Finally, many of the vendors are from Spain or from Northern Africa, reflecting some new diversity. Markets are definitely a snapshot of a country!
You can see the complete set of pictures of France here.