Oct 23, 2009

To market, to market

The weekly open-air farmers' markets and outdoor brocantes that we see in France today have their roots in medieval times. During the middle ages, many merchants and vendors had to travel to the customers rather than the other way around. 
The merchants soon realized that they could enlarge the customer base with less effort if several vendors coordinated efforts. Smaller farmers' markets were organized locally and were soon held weekly.  The large merchandise fairs - organized by manufacturers and large companies - were usually only held a couple of times a year.  One of the largest in the south was held at Beaucaire and always had a large group of displays by textile manufacturers from the north.
Here are a few pictures of one local weekly farmers' market in July 2009 in Puisserguier. The offerings that particular day included fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, rotisserie chicken, jams, flowers, wine and more.  There were also vendors selling clothing, housewares, sewing needs, African handicrafts and collectibles.  To round out the offering, there were several artisans who offered specialized services. I include photos of the chair caning booth and the antique clock repair booth.

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