A Day at the Markets

We slept like logs and woke to a fine day – some light cloud – with hot sun, around 26C. After a quick breakfast we headed out at about 1030 to visit the market in a nearby town, Lagny-sur-Marne. It was about 15 minutes drive away.

Lagny is extremely quaint, very historic, with winding, shuttered streets, houses with courtyard front gardens behind wrought iron gates, turrets, gabled roofs. In short, out of every French film you’ve seen. There has been an abbey here since 644AD. A slightly later version of it still exists. We are about 28km east of Paris but it feels like another world.

I imagine in more normal touristic times parking for the market would be a nightmare. We were lucky, drove right into the centre and parked up maybe 30 yards from the main stalls. There were quite a few people about but they were all locals.

On went our masks. There seems to be a mix here. Walking about about half of the people are wearing them. Same inside the shops. We browsed the stalls, enjoying the atmosphere which was very friendly. They’re glad to see tourists I think.

One funny thing: Daisy and I were at one stall looking at shoes. The young guy kept looking at us(well, me!!!!!) and going “Oversized, Oversized!!!”. Daisy and I looked at each other…. Bloody rude, I thought. I’ve lost 10 lbs this month. Daisy thought the same. We ignored him. He became frantic, louder and louder “OVERSIZE OVERSIZE”!!!! We nearly ran off…… and then we realised he was saying “Autres Sizes) ie other sizes…..

At the centre of the outdoor market is an undercover section and we went in there too. Everyone was again extremely friendly and very tolerant of our, no doubt, horrible sounding French. No wincing took place 🙂 We bought a lovely selection of cold meats, some slabs of cheese, pots of Saint Marcelin (a Boler favourite) and Saint Felicien (another). Bought bags of mixed leaves, red, ripe plum tomatoes and massive salad onions. Batons of bread, of course. A good haul.

It was still early for lunch, so we walked around the town further, down to the Marne River itself. It was looking very good, lined by trees and old houses on either bank. We found a restaurant here,https://le-gorille.fr/ that looked spot on for lunch. It was right by the river with a large open air section under a huge awning. The menu of the day was excellent.

As regards restaurants and procedures, the drill seems to be: wear your mask to the table and when moving about, take it off at the table. It all seemed sensible. The tables didn’t seem a long way apart or that close, normal really. They were probably a metre apart. The menu of the day was the bargain as usual. For 18euro you could have 2 courses. Not cheap but not bad for a nice place. Wow. The portions were very large. I started with Rillettes of Saumon, basically poached salmon with herbs and seasoning minced fine and in mounds, garnished with some leaves. Daisy had St. Marcellin cheese on toast with salad (OMG looked divine) and Bob had a pate de campagne with toast and salad. All huge. For mains, I had salmon tartare which was flavoured with a beetroot juice and studded with little skinned broad beans and tiny onions. It was utterly yum. I gave my frites to the others but they looked good. Daisy had a Bavette steak in a shallot sauce with frites and salad, Bob had moules mariniere. They were all great, and again, big. I truly couldn’t have eaten anymore and I was pleased that it totally fitted in with my Dukan diet plan. Bob and I washed ours down with sparkling water, Daisy with red wine. The restaurant is very popular and they were doing a lot of business. I can see why.

Afterwards we wandered back up the hill towards the car and set off back to find a large supermarket to get a few things we’d failed on. In the end we went to the Carrefour in our village, Bailly Romaincourt. It’s not a huge one but we got most things. The fridge and freezer are now fully stocked. There is red wine. We will survive very well for the next days. The forecast for the next few is for hot sun and so we plan to enjoy the pool and stay here.

Our day around the shops was a lovely one and we really enjoyed it. We felt as though we were on holiday – which we are – and there was none of the ghost town atmosphere that we feared might be present.

Tonight we had a lovely cold supper of French bread, cheese and proper ham. Well…. I didnt have the bread or the cheese….sob…. And red wine…. I didn’t have that either…… People were in the pool till about 8pm when it closed. A lovely warm evening.

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