20 May 2009

Market day in Valençay

We had a nice trip to the outdoor market in Valençay yesterday morning. Valençay is a little town with a big château — a château that Napoleon bought for his powerful foreign minister, Talleyrand, in the early 1800s. Part of the château complex dates back to the 1500s, and the gardens there are beautiful.

Valençay is about 10 miles east of Saint-Aignan. Its market day is Tuesday (Saint-Aignan's weekly market is set up on Saturday mornings). Valençay is famous for a goat cheese that goes by the same name, and that was one of the things we went to buy. I'll post a picture later.

A produce vendor's stall at the Valençay market

We are having company on Thursday and we want to prepare a meal featuring some of our local products. That means local wines, of course — we figure at least one Touraine Sauvignon (the A.O.C. white), one Touraine Côt (the most lusty of the local reds), and maybe a Vouvray or two, since we have some sparkling and a dessert wine from there in our pantry. It also means goat cheese, and why not a few asparagus spears?

Valençay restaurant menu

We also bought a chicken (a 5½-pounder — huge), a few sausages, some smoked salmon, and a céleri remoulade salade. The chicken and sausages will be our main course, along with pasta and pesto. It will be a pesto we made using radish greens instead of basil leaves. More about that later, after the event. More about the salmon and celery root later too.

Valençay is in the Berry region and this
charcuterie features local pork specialties.

I took a few pictures in Valençay this morning, but not many. Part of the market stalls are set up inside a building — une halle, a market hall — and it was crowded in there. It wasn't the easiest environment in which to try to use a camera.

This is the château in the village called Villentrois,
on the road from Saint-Aignan to Valençay.

When I took pictures of stalls outside on the square, two different vendors joked with me about asking for permission first. People in Valençay were in good humor yesterday and there were smiles all around. But it's not yet tourist season so with my camera I stood out like a sore thumb.

By the way, we had nice weather yesterday. It was partly cloudy in the morning, cloudy with a brief shower at noontime, and then bright sunny and warm late in the afternoon. We sat out in the sun and listened to the radio for a couple of hours.


  1. I always asked for permission before taking pictures at the market or any place of worship but once, we were refused. Hubby was surprised but I knew the reason- we were at a market just north of canal St Martin and I believe that there must have been some "sans papiers" amongst the vendors .

    In some small villages, we are even invited to "participate" - at least one of us is in the picture :-)

  2. I just found your blog by following wcs from Ur-Spo's blog. What a wonderful place to live. I am sure I would miss some things but it looks like heaven on earth.

  3. Oh, Ken, I just love your market day pictures! You know, one of my French 4 students was browsing your blog entries on châteaux during class the other day, and I heard her say, "I just love this blog." !!

    Thanks for all of the effort you put into it!

    By the way, that wonderful veal roast dish reminds me of one that my au pair family used to make-- though they didn't use a tomato liquid of any kind, nor black olives. But, it was a veal roast, fresh cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, olive oil... as I recall. We browned everything in the pressure cooker first, then actually cooked it in the pressure cooker. It was DELICIOUS, but I was never able to quite match it here. Of course, I had to use a pork roast, too.

  4. Thursday's menu sounds wonderful. Looking forward to seeing the pictures. We just love French markets - so colourful. And usually a good oportunity to try out our not too good French. My other half once asked at a vegetable stall for a "cabbarge", as our French teacher said if you don't know the correct word, just try the English word pronounced in a French way. The French for cabbage is choux but the stall holder knew what he meant!

  5. Jean, I do agree with your French teacher. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. And you may have surprises with "faux amis."
    Those two that come to mind right away are actually and actuellement, eventually and éventuellement.

  6. Valençay is such a nice little town. Thanks to your suggestion, Danielle and I visited there and toured the chateau. I have a photo of that cute tuxedo clad pig too!


  7. Hello there..
    I want to find some recipe then i stuck here in your blog and all i can say is BRILLIANT! I love to read what u wrote esp all about france..I study france also and I agree with Jay, ur place is like heaven on earth, what a bless...


  8. Hi The Beav, I often ask permission too, but in the case of the Pig in the Tuxedo, the shop was closed when I took the picture. But the woman who walked by and commented to me, something like "bonjour, monsieur, je vois qu'on prend ses droits!" was going in to open the place up. And the vegetable stand was unstaffed when I decided to take a picture. It was afterward that the man came up to me, laughing, and said I hadn't asked permission. I told him no, but I hoped that the photo was free.

    Hello Jay, we do like it here. Paradise, I don't know, but it is nice.

    Judy, you ought to be able to find veal. In San Francisco, the veal I bought came from a producer near Chicago.

    BettyAnn, glad you liked Valençay, because I do. I've been there many times over the past 6 years.

    Fenni, thanks for your comment. Have you been to France already? If not, I hope you get a chance to visit soon.

  9. I love those menus on blackboards. It's not something we see that much in Aveyron.

    Word check: nondishe


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