Monday, October 01, 2012

To Market, To Market, French Style - Part 2 - Annie West

Approaching the market - this is just the beginning
Last month I had a marvellous time sharing with you some of the photos from my market shopping experiences in France. My current book DEFYING HIS DESERT DUTY is set (despite the title) mainly in France and inspired especially by the wonderful time I spent in the Loire Valley and the Perigord region of SW France. Last time I told you about some of the edible treats I encountered. This time I thought I'd tell you a little about the huge range of other items on sale.

These photos are all taken in the town of Le Bugue in the Perigord. We parked by the river and walked up beside the water to the main street, watching a kingfisher dive and swoop along the way. I thought this square, the first I came too, was the sum total of the market. I was wrong. It went on and on, across both sides of the main square (this is half), into a delightful undercover area and then, to my surprise up a very long street then down to another little stream. A great way to spend a morning!
I was stunned by what I found. I'd thought in terms of food - baguettes, vegetables, cheese and meats. There was all that and far more. There was something for everyone. It seems the locals are quite happy to shop for pots and pans at the market at well as for fresh produce. I got lured in by a guy demonstrating a new kitchen device - not at this stand but at one four deep in passersby. Usually I don't buy those kitsch all-in-one utensils so I gave him a wide berth, but on the way back I paused and got hooked. Now I own a brilliant pair of scissors perfect for chopping parsley, chives and other soft herbs. They look like normal scissors till you open them and see there are 5 blades on each side. Honestly, I can never wait to use them as they make cutting so much fun!

Her'e a stand selling wonderful, wonderful cookware. If I hadn't had the weight restrictions on the flight back to Australia I'd have indulged here, believe me. The colours were terrific in the morning sun and I could see myself using so many of the terrific dishes on display. The fact this was next to a huge stall selling hot food helped too!

There were stalls filled to the brim with clothes. There were shoes, belts and scarves. There was even a stall selling epiphytes - small plants anchored on twisted branches, just perfect for hanging under a pergola. Here's the wonderful stall where I brought my brilliant jacquard tablecloth in summer blues and daffodil yellow. Big enough for our large dining table and cheerful with its lovely pattern to make me feel good whenever I use it. The stall holder had me intrigued with the news my choice was water repellent - demonstrating by tipping water over it before he wrapped it - then tilting it and letting the water slide away. It looked like a simple linen cloth to me!

Here's the last stall we found, tucked away around a corner on the tranquil bank of a stream. I wanted to stay and sift through the pottery, sure I could find a few things that would fit in my bag. They were all so gorgeous and I knew they would work wonderfully in my kitchen. My husband, made of sterner stuff when it comes to markets, just gave me that look and I had to admit he was right. The whole market was one big temptation, but I couldn't take it home with me. Fortunately there was some compensation to be had. On the stroll back to our car we found a lovely little restaurant with a courtyard shaded by a massive plane tree. Perfect on a sunny day. It was just the place to stop and enjoy a restorative coffee before heading off to a lovely spot in the hills for lunch washed down with local wine. Sigh. Is it any wonder this part of France provided inspiration for my latest story?

How about you? Are you a market shopper? Have you ever made a terrific purchase at one that still makes you smile? What do you wish your local market sold that it doesn't? Our local market at home sells mainly food and I wish from time to time it sold the sort of gorgeous handmade crafts that would make gift shopping so much easier.

To celebrate the release of DEFYING HER DESERT DUTY, my French location sheikh story, I'll give away a signed copy of the book to one person who leaves a comment here today.

This month Annie has 3 releases:  DEFYING HER DESERT DUTY in the United Kingdom and an anthology: GREEK AFFAIRS: TEMPTED BY THE TYCOON in Australia/New Zealand. In the UK there's also an anthology available from 19th October: SULTRY NIGHTS. If you're after a copy of GREEK AFFAIRS, here's a link to Mills and Boon. If you want free postage on DEFYING HER DESERT DUTY here's a link to The Book Depository.

You can visit Annie's site to find details of her books or sign up for her newsletter and be in the draw for great prizes and the latest news.




24 comments:

  1. I like to buy fresh fruit and veggies but they also have local honey and some craft items. I wish they had some antiques there to but they usually don't have anything like that.

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    1. Hi Linda, I buy honey at my local markets too - yum! Oh, yes, antiques would be wonderful - but possibly a little bit too dangerous to my wallet.

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  2. Oh Annie, that market looks like heaven! How did you resist that pottery? And those saucepans?

    I love markets and clearly remember my first visit to a European market not in France but in Italy. It was a long time ago, I was in my early twenties. I was with my father, my stepmother and my then husband. I spied a small, exquisite, hand-painted pottery jug. I just had to have it, in spite of all the arguments against getting it back to Australia on the plane. My father and stepmother have died since then and both ex and I are long married to other people. But I still have that beautiful little vase, still love it, and it still has such power to evoke past times and past people. Such is the power of shopping!
    Please don't put me in the draw for DEFYING HER DESERT DUTY as I am fortunate enough to already have a copy. It's a marvelous story about two passionate, honorable people who have to fight their attraction because of their strong sense of duty. Whoever wins this book is truly in for a treat!

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    1. Kandy, what a lovely memento that jug must be! I love things that bring back memories, especially of happy times. Good on you for bringing it home. I have to admit it was hard resisting the lure of the pottery at this market.

      Thanks for the lovely comments on DEFYING HER DESERT DUTY! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

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  3. Hi Annie. We have a wonderful thing called Night Markets now... I think they're a recently new idea. They are mainly about fantastic cheap food... and other bits and pieces. They are usually on a Sunday night and it's very very family friendly and very cheap, it's like probably cheaper than a visit to McDonalds these days. I want to go to the Glenfield Night Markts but I know that the Pakuranga Night Markets are very popular too. :))))

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    1. Tash, that sounds like such fun. Next time I'm in NZ I'll have to check them out (after asking your advice on where and when). Love the idea of markets that are family friendly.

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  4. Annie, what a scrumptious blog. Love the photos. You're making me so envious of your wonderful French travels. Although as you let me live vicariously through your beautiful new romance DEFYING HER DESERT DUTY, I might be able to forgive you! LOL!

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    1. Anna, I'm glad to have made you smile - twice!

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  5. I love markets. I'm a browser and love looking at the odds and ends even if I don't buy anything.

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    1. Claudia, you sound like me! I tend to browse and stroll and it takes a while for me to decide to buy. But on the other hand if I find something unique I've been known to lash out!

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  6. Markets are colorful and fun when you have a lot of time. I love to watch other people buying and selling. I appreciate the chance to win a copy of book.

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    1. Sue, good luck in the draw. Yes, markets are a great place to people watch, aren't they? Especially while you sit down with a cuppa on the sidelines.

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  7. I'm all but drooling over the market photos!
    In fact, I am not allowed to visit stalls or
    stands such as those displayed in your pic-
    tures! I can run through my housekeeping
    budget in not time at all!
    C.

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    1. Pat, it sounds like you've got great willpower, staying away from places like that. If it weren't for consideration of cost and carrying I'd be tempted to stock up on far too many platters and pottery. But just browsing there was a treat in itself.

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  8. I ADORE markets, Annie! I have a black jumper that I bought at a market nearly 30 years ago now and it is still one of my favourites. And when I visited Anna Campbell a few years ago, she took me to a market near her place and I bought a couple of gorgeous pink tops that I wear and wear! They fantastic for travel too because they don't crease.

    I love your pics! Having a luggage allowance puts a serious dent in temptation though, doesn't it! That has good points and bad points! LOL

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    1. Sharon, I know just the markets you're talking about. I bought some lovely pendants there when I was in Queensland. And the soaps! So many nice things. I like finding things that aren't available at home, something a little different. Most of the time I find myself buying gifts for other people - double the pleasure - I get the pleasure of choosing plus the joy of seeing them enjoy their gift.

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  9. Wow, Annie! What a wonderful experience! It must have been hard to drag yourself away from the cookware--I have my eye on some cast-iron bakeware myself.

    Our local farmers market is fabulous. Lamentably,it's only open from 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. I could spend all day checking out the cheeses and chocolates. Still, it's a great place to pick up wonderful potato varieties that you can't get from ordinary supermarkets.

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  10. Vanessa, are you a potato gourmet? Do you cook different meals with different varieties? I'm a sucker for the cheeses too and for that matter, I love a great chocolate. Sounds like a good thing that I'm not close to your local market!

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    1. I *love* a good potato, Annie! There's so much you can do with spuds -- chip 'em, mash 'em, bake 'em, slather 'em with cheese. Hmm, I'm hungry again...

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  11. As it's getting late in the day and I suspect the next post will be up soon, I've just drawn a winner's name from those who have commented so far. The winner of a copy of DEFYING HER DESERT DUTY is QUEEN OF BOOKS SUE. Sue, if you'd email me at annie(at)annie-west(dot)com with your postal address, I'll send the book to you.

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  12. We have loads of different markets. The best are those set up in December for the Christmas trade. Lots of beautiful hand-made gifts on offer - though most do have a price tag that makes you think twice.

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  13. I obviously don't get around very much, as I only frequent our local market, which basically carries food items. (BTW, Annie - YOU get around a lot (grin); it's great seeing you here at ASR!)

    My hometown has an annual celebration. In fact, I was there this past weekend. Vendors line the street with their wares. I usually buy belts and sunglasses, but I've been known a time or two to purchase some sweets. (Shhhh! Sometimes they don't make it home!)

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  14. Marybelle, I LOVE Christmas markets! I used to live in Europe for a little while and their Christmas markets are fantastic. Thanks for reminding me. Hm - maybe another post in December on those? I love the Christmas themed gifts.

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  15. Laney, I try to get about - in between stints lost in my manuscript!

    Sounds like your local markets are fun. Sweets, eh? How tempting! At the moment I've got some Erlicheer daffodils in the kitchen from the last market I went to - a real touch of spring.

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