To market, to market, to buy a fat pig.
Still central to the French way of life is the weekly market. Where we are, there is a market just about every day of the week in one of the local villages, throughout the year. Sometimes small (the veg lady, the butcher, a fish van and maybe the local goats' cheese maker) in the main, the markets here are pretty impressive, with a wide selection of both food and other useful items.
Near us, Matignon market offers the very old lady who sells all sorts of hats in all sorts of weather. There are numerous clothes sellers, spanning the spectrum from utilitarian ladies' crimplene frocks to frothy 'designer' numbers you could only ever find in France.
There are the men flogging gadgets to improve the quality of your life - things for cleaning floors, opening jars, frying food. There is usually at least one stall selling mattresses and any number of chic displays of household linens.
Bags feature largely, whether the Algerian men with their selection of leather goods brought over from Africa or the haughty ladies with their knocked off Cath Kidston and French lookalikes.
Its the highlight of the week, wandering past the long stalls of vegetables, exclaiming with delight as something new appears in season. Right now, the asparagus is making a comeback and I saw some early strawberries last week. There are cheeses, olives, locally gathered honey; cold meats, whole tables taken up with baskets of different flavours of saucisson; vans selling freshly cooked paella or whole spit roast chickens; producers from surrounding farms offloading their cauliflowers as large as full moons; a dodgy bloke who sells live rabbits and hens for the pot and for rearing; the gentleman selling a huge array of sweets exclaiming in English "Ze rrrrabbit ees free" as he offers a balloon to my son.
The market is the place to meet people, pass the time of day. With your bags laden with fruit and veg, a baguette tucked under your arm, there is always time to duck into one of the coffee shops for a quick cafe (see C is for Café). It is a pleasurable way to do the shopping and one which keeps you in touch with the seasons and the origins of the food on your table.