There is nothing like wandering through a French market, filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, bread, soap, honey, and so much more. It’s a lively place—the heart of France, the heart of the village.
Today, I was meandering a French market in the stunning hilltop village of Bonnieux in the Vaucluse department of Provence, keen with excitement to pick out the freshest of fruits and vegetables, to smell the lavender sachets and soaps, to stop and enjoy an espresso, and to watch village life unfold.
Naturally, my lack of French language skill got me into some interesting encounters. I knew I was in trouble when I went to pay for my fruit and vegetables and realized I only had 50 euros and nothing smaller on me, at least to my knowledge that is. I held out my 50 saying, “desole.” The owner of the stand started speaking rapidly, going on and on and pointing to my wallet. I said, “So sorry, but I only have this.” He continued to speak rapidly and walked over and reached in my wallet and pulled out 20 euros. Oops. I laughed. He laughed. The whole line of people waiting laughed. To me, all the money looks the same. After all, it’s “play” money, right?
Next, I venture on to buy a loaf of bread for dinner. I approach a beautiful stand of delicious looking bread and point to the loaf I want. “No!” I am told. I can not buy the loaf. OK. That makes perfect sense. I am at a stand that is selling bread but cannot buy it. Why of course, this is France! There must be something I don’t know. I just pause trying to figure out how I can get some bread. But then the very kind woman proceeds to make a cutting motion with her hand. Apparently, I can only buy slices of bread? Still not sure what that was all about. So I asked for four slices.
So many “rules.” So many interesting encounters. Yet, I love this place. I wouldn’t have it any other way.