Champagne Campaign – Arrival

MarketBastille

When I finally landed on 1 May after a long flight, it was to cloudless sky but a chilly 4°C welcome. Perhaps my idea of Paris in Spring will need to be complemented with thicker leggings and a new coat.

A French colleague I first met just two weeks ago insisted on meeting me at the airport and taking me to my accommodation. This saved me three stops using the RER and Metro and a long walk with two heavy bags. What more can a traveller ask for (besides sponsored business class tickets)?

After unpacking I venture out in search of food as I am starving. The vegetarian special meal on my two flights was disappointing – not an option I will choose again.

But 1 May is a public holiday in France that is taken very seriously, so many of the retailers are closed. So, after a long walk and settling disappointingly for a few consumables from one of the only open stores, I make my way back through the windy streets, not feeling too sure about where I am.

And then to my utmost delight I discover a huge open food market close to La Bastille. The aromas of fresh shellfish and cheese are music to my nostrils. After an hour of meandering I wish I had brought a bigger bag, as the one I have is now filled to the brim with some of my favourite flavours.

Watching the locals order food is fascinating. Not only am I reminded about the special rules related to quantity and food from my French lessons, but the shoppers and market producers treat each request with much politeness and respect. No-one is rushed … it takes me 10 minutes to order a floret of broccoli. And then another 10 minutes to get the whole-grain baguette and chaource – a cheese I adore.

What strikes me is that no-one leaves the market with processed, packaged, sugared junk. Everyone has large bags or wheeled trolley bags filled with fresh produce, some cheese, meat or fish.

An important lesson: what you eat starts with how you shop. 

Can you fill your basket or trolley with much more fresh produce than packaged goods? 

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Sharing is Caring