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Forks, Portland, Lyon - France, Paris - France, Portland and ending up in Bellingham.... the adventures of my life!

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Advice: Marché-Etiquette & Rules.

About two months ago I wrote a truly tragic post regarding my bad experience with a peach vendor in the marché.  I wondered, was the marché atmosphere in France changing and so inevitable to be put in bad form with the vendors?  Was it now a passé, as supermarchés became the norm?

I refused to believe it so I set forth to do a little research on my own.  A friend of mine who visits France every summer, spends this vacation in a small French town.  He was visiting one weekend and we got onto the discussion of marchés- and he pointed out something I didn't even consider...

Market Etiquette
 The fact that there is a certain way to behave, to show respect, it all relies on you.  I have spent the last few months trying to figure this out and I think I finally got it down.

  • Respect the Product:  When shopping in the marché, don't just go and grab all the fruits testing for their ripeness.  Look at them, wait, if a sign says self service- then be free to do so.
  • Ask the Vendor:  It shows an enormous amount of respect to ask the vendors questions about their product, when was it picked; when would it be best used by; which is your favorite?
  • Respect the Vendor:  This is the MOST important, when buying a product from the marché, ask the vendor directly... don't go grabbing for yourself.  Asking is simple and actually saves you time.  What do I mean by asking?  I mean tell the vendor you would like 500 grams of tomatoes.  They will pick the ripest for you, and always get exactly the grams/kilograms you asked for.  It also builds a relationship- and often they'll give you a deal on the product.
  • Say Thank You:  I know it seems minimal, but this simple little phrase and a 'bon journée' represents the fact that you are respecting the French culture.
  • Don't Be Offended:  If the vendor is abrupt or even quick with talking to you- it's their livelihood to sell the products and quickly.. they aren't mean people, they just are nice farmers who may not be that sociable.
Some marchés that I find very successful in the vendors and the products being sold and remember, Marchés are not open on Mondays...

You really can get a good deal; I bought all the veggies in the photo below for only €8 and the lemons were only €1!!

My Favorite Marchés:

Quai Victor Augagneur:  51 commerçants at it's maximum, sells a variety of products from cheeses to vegetables/fruits.  Has one of my favorite vegetable merchants, last time sold me some tomatoes and lettuce, very 'gently', picked out the perfect one.  Got lemons for €1.

Marché de la Croix-Russe:   On the Boulevard de la Croix-Russe, incredibly huge with 109 commerçants.  Sundays or Saturdays are the best day to go, very lively.

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