St.Quentin-la-Poterie Friday Marche

Africain Game Farme Signean France Carrie Oct 1-15 046.jpgFriday morning Marche (Market)Friday Morning is market (March�) day in St. Quentin la Poterie and it is held in a large open square that is used for events such as; the farmer's market, village garage sales (vide grenier), antique car show, concerts, and f�tes. It is also the grand parking lot for the drop-off of the kids at school and shopping at the small grocery store, Shopi. The open square is surrounded by the primary school on one side, Shopi Market on the other side, and a biologique (organic) boulangerie, Salon de Th� and the Bar du March� at the top. When we first came to St. Quentin 13 years ago, the March� was right outside our door on the Place de la Mairie. We would wake up to the sound of venders selling their wares and the smell of the fish stalls!. It was charming, but when it moved to the square below as it the market grew, we didn't miss the smell of the fish.As October is here, the leaves are falling and turning red. It is a beautiful sunny morning with a crisp feeling of fall in the air. Walking down the village with my French basket under my arm, I anticipate what I am going to buy. My first stop is to put in the order for the pizza baked in the brick oven with a thin crust. Our standard order is quatre fromage avec olives (for Zo�-Pascale) and the rest topped with champignons, olives, fromage de chevre, and onions. I wander down the two long aisles (the St. Quentin Marche has one of everything but, is nothing like the Uzes march� on Saturday) checking out the new fall clothes, hats, fruits, and vegetables. With the change in season, new vegetables are being sold and others are hard to find. A new tomato that is dark green and dark red is touted as fabulous and a must purchase. Apples of all types are in abundance and a plethora of zucchini, broccoli, lettuce and an assortment of Muscat grapes sweet as wine, delicious!Our usual olive man is no longer around and we miss him and his indepth knowledge of olives. As a result I begin a relationship with a new vendor selling Zo�'s olives noir (black) sans the pitts. Trying to find new snacks for her to bring to school, I choose some cashews and dried apricots. At the end of the aisle is the St. Quentin / Uzes wine Cooperative stand. Mireille and Madame Laurens are standing next to it chatting excitedly. Madame Laurens is Zo�-Pascale's French grandma, Zo� just adores her, and she is also is the caretaker of our house. Mireille is her daughter-in-law and Mireille is also the the manager of the Cooperative. They compliment me on my new haircut and color (see blog) which is highlighted with reddish brown and blond highlights. Since Mireille's grown daughter is a hairdresser in Al�s, she asks me what it cost and we then discuss that the shop in Uzes is quite expensive. (By Marin standards it was a great deal!). Mireille told me to call her when I wanted my next cut and her daughter would be happy to do it for me for much less. The best part of this conversation was, that I did it all alone in French and was understood! (Needless to say, some sign language, poofing of the hair, and lots of smiling went along with it!)Madame Laurens continues to tell me what Zo�-Pascale had for lunch when she visited her house the other day; of course a five-course meal, plus watching cartoons. Since we don't have a TV (only DVD), I now know why she loves to go to her house because of the rich food and the added TV bonus. As I say au revoir, I run into our German neighbors who have retired in St. Quentin. Our conversations are getting better as the woman is learning a bit of French as she doesn't speak English and I don't speak German. We discuss the event tonight in our quartier (our section of the village). Lilo, our neighbor, has organized a get together in the small square, Place de la Libert�, through the alley off Place de la Mairie. All the neighbors in the center of the village are invited to rendezvous, sing, play music, eat and share wine and other snacks.I continue to stop at the vegetable stand for some carrots, lettuce, and broccoli as well as to pick up some of our favorite cheese, L'Abondance, from the cheese stand. My last stop is to pick up my rotisserie chicken - avec onions and pizza emporter for the neighborhood get together tonight. My shoulders are sagging with the weight of my purchases and I decide to stop and have a caf� and write to you all. Jean is doing an errand and will meet me before we pick Zoe-Pacale up for lunch from school.A few minutes later, Mary and Tom walk by and we chat. I tell Mary that I am secretly thinking about buying one of those baskets that the elderly use to shlep their groceries from the market. She looks at me with the most serious face and says loudly, Don't you dare!!.� I laugh, as we are both thinking that you look like an old lady when you walk with one of those baskets on wheels. She reprimanded me just the right way and I quickly forget about buying the basket. She reminds me next time, �just bring Jean to carry, that is all you need�.It was a great morning and I hope you all vicariously joined me today as I started my day!
Suzanne Saxe-Roux