03 September 2011

Market day in Bellême

The name Bellême, according to what I've read, derives from the Latin word bellissima. I can believe that. When we went there last week, after seeing just part of the nearby town of Mortagne-au-Perche, I was struck by how beautiful it was. Bellême is about three hours north of Saint-Aignan on little country roads.

At the front edge of the market we saw the Café du Midi —
the Midi is the south of France. We were in
Normandy but it felt like Provence.

Of course, it didn't hurt that the sun was shining brightly and that it was market day in the pretty town. People were out shopping and taking advantage of the sunshine, carrying their empty market baskets toward the center of town or lugging full baskets and bags home to cook their mid-day meal. We ourselves weren't shopping, but just looking and enjoying the atmosphere.

Goat cheeses with an herb, pepper, or paprika crust


A typical market truck at the Bellême market, selling cheese

A lot of the vendors at French open-air markets drive their specially designed trucks in. Cheese vendors and butchers, especially, use the trucks because they have refrigerated display cabinets.

The market sets up around the Bellême church

We talked to the people in the foreground of the picture above because we heard them speaking English. They were British, but the guy in the red T-shirt was Canadian, from Alberta. The British people said they lived in a village just north of Mortagne, and they recommended a restaurant in Bellême.

A cave, in commercial terms, is a shop where wine and spirits are sold.
It's pronounced [kahv] and it's a feminine noun — une cave, la cave.
This shop has two synonyms in its name: cave and cellier (cellar).

We were in Bellême on a Thursday morning. Walt was on his way back to Saint-Aignan. The rest of us had a nice lunch in the recommended restaurant, which is in a hotel just below the old town. More about that later.

10 comments:

john-san said...

Ken, if you had to live somewhere else in France, then where would it be?

Ken Broadhurst said...

John-san, Paris if I could afford it. I'm also tempted by the Atlantic coast -- Charente or Vendée.

Seine Judeet said...

Ken, do you feel a little bit re-energized after seeing a new area of France? I remember you posting (during some of the hum drum days where routine was kind of getting you down) about feeling a little wistful in realizing that you had started to just get used to living in France, and it was no longer giving you that feeling of, "WOW! This is FRANCE!". Sometimes, it seems that changing one's air helps with that, non?

Unknown said...

Do you use a GPS system to find places like the out of the way gîte and some of the smaller towns or do you still use maps?
We used a TomTom last time in France and it took away 90% of the stress of driving.

Ken Broadhurst said...

I use maps and especially Google maps, with satellite view. No problem.

Judy, it is always refreshing to discover a new region. Le Perche was beautiful. Next trip: Champagne. In about a month. Really looking forward to that.

Starman said...

It does seem like a strange place to have Café du Midi. Of course, they probably meant 'noon'.

Anonymous said...

Love the pix of you, Walt,and Lewis. Thanks for sharing.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Starman, if they meant noon, it would be "de" midi, not "du" -- noon is "midi" and the south is "le midi" or "le Midi". Le Café du Midi is a name on the same pattern as L'Hôtel du Nord.

Mary said...

Ken, your new banner is superb!

Monkeying around fits the three of you quite nicely! Photos that are of people acting differently than a posed still picture are intriguing.

I assume that you were using an Ipad or other tablet to get a google map while you were traveling? Or perhaps you had printed one out before you left home?

Mary in Oregon

Mary said...

Ken, your new banner is superb!

Monkeying around fits the three of you quite nicely! Photos that are of people acting differently than a posed still picture are intriguing.

I assume that you were using an Ipad or other tablet to get a google map while you were traveling? Or perhaps you had printed one out before you left home?

Mary in Oregon