Wednesday and Saturday are the big market days in France – although there are various types of market held on other days during the summer months but they’re specific to certain towns and villages. We decided it was time to have that market experience once again and so The Ban Chéile (henceforth TBC) and I set out on a 30 minute drive to Blaye to reacquaint ourselves with the delights of the morning market and maybe another visit to the Blaye Citadel (a beautifully maintained fortification right beside the market – more info).
The last time we’d been to Blaye it rained quite a bit and we eventually gave up and went back to our rented refuge in Bédenac, but today we were treated to 31°C with a royal blue sky bereft of even a wisp of cloud. The approach to the market is also the road to the ferry across the estuary and can be quite busy but it moves slowly and within a couple of minutes you have the opportunity to turn up onto the grassy approach to the Citadel where a temporary car park has grown to facilitate the shoppers. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to visualise a similar market outside the citadel gates way back when the fortification was an important element of the defence system for Aquitane.
The market is typical of its type, a mixture of farmer’s market and flea market. If you have a mind to you can purchase everything from flowers and plants to meat, fish and vegetables. Just in case you prefer to do your grocery shopping in the big air conditioned supermarkets instead, you can buy other items at Blaye market ranging from knives, clothes and leather goods to novelties and jewellery – TBC bought several pairs of handmade earrings from Peru. Some unusual purchases can be found such as live poultry and some meats we wouldn’t normally see on sale in Ireland such as rabbit and horse (unless they’re secretly mixed in with beef products, but that’s another story altogether).
The town is popular for many reasons including the aforementioned ferry and citadel and that’s reflected in the number of visitors milling around at weekends. Most of them have arrived in campervans and there is a very good free parking facility right next to the citadel walls.
The market traders begin to pack up around 1pm and so did we after a short walk along the river wall to the rocks where you can see across the Garonne to the far bank in the hazy distance.
The market in the morning and a stroll around the citadel in the afternoon makes for a great day out for young and old alike.
More pics in my France 2013 album HERE