About ten minutes walk from 'our' apartment there's a great market - Marche de Place d'Aligre (I'm going to have to find French accents in Blogger!). We needed some fruit and salad vegetables, so ventured there yesterday. In the centre of a small square there's a traditional covered market housing the butchers, chicken and other feathery things sellers, the cheese-monger (so beautiful - all the cheeses of various shapes and sizes displayed like jewels), the fish-monger and the charcutier, The covered market still has its central fountain-like water supply to sluice the tiled floors.
Spreading out from the central covered market, fruit, vegetable and flower stalls set up in the surrounding streets, which are lined by small shops supplying oil, coffee, dry groceries and other household necessities.
Everything was so enticing. The fruit and vegetables were pristinely fresh - a miracle of modern marketing when you read the labels so helpfully telling you where they had come from. Blueberries from Chile, mangoes from Peru, mandarins from Spain, many things from Morocco. Africa and South America as sources of your food supply - all of a sudden the geography of your food world is turned on its head.
As well as the freshness, the diversity was amazing. Things I knew but didn't usually see at a market; things I could guess at; and things I'd never seen before.
I have a tendency to take photos that make the world look unpopulated. In this case we were at the market so early there really were very few people around. Coping with jet lag leads to all sorts of opportunities - and of course provides a excuse for another coffee.
I loved the Moroccan colours of the cafe where we had our cafe au lait. Love how the tables match the window frames.
I've also made my first foray into the French knitting world. My friend with whom I'm travelling wants a knitted hat so yesterday, on the advice of a colleague at my work who frequently visits France and is a knitter, I went to Le Bon Marche. This is a wonderful old department store - very spacious, elegant, and it has an excellent mercerie - ribbons, buttons (to die for), braids, fabrics for quilting, Liberty prints, and knitting yarn. It also has a small branch of La Droguerie within the mercerie. My friend chose some Rowan Cocoon in a colour called bilberry, which is a lovely slatey purple. I can feel another visit to Le Bon Marche coming on - next time with photos and without jet lag.