08 April 2012

The Easter market at Saint-Aignan

The market in Saint-Aignan was hopping yesterday. Walt and I got there early, before the biggest crowds showed up, but still we waited a while in line to buy a rabbit from our favorite poultry vendor. I know, rabbit is not poultry... but the meat resembles poultry — tastes like chicken, isn't that what we say? — more than pork, beef, or lamb.

When we left the market at about 11:15, after having a glass of local white wine in a café with a young American woman who is spending the month of April in Saint-Aignan, we just about had to push our way through throngs of people. The weather was sunny but chilly, and there was a festive, bustling feel to the whole town.

The château up above the streets of Saint-Aignan

So as I was saying, rabbit is sold by the poultry vendors at the market and is stocked in the poultry section at the supermarket. I had no doubt that we'd find a rabbit at the market; it's a standard item. I was interested to see that the rabbits at the poultry stand at the open-air market were less expensive (at 8€/kg) than the ones I'd seen in the supermarket (11€/kg) on Friday. And I think the quality is better. The one we got weighs about 1.3 kg, or nearly three pounds. This morning's job is to cook it.

A gourmet grocery shop has recently opened up in this
old Saint-Aignan house — 15th century, I think.

We saw a lot of asparagus on different market stands too, but much of it was for sale at 10 or 11 euros per kilo. We'll wait for prices to come down, as they'll do over the next couple of weeks. Last year the lowest prices we saw were about 5€/kg. I'm not sure that much of the asparagus on sale yesterday was really local — it probably came from farther south, if not Spain.

The church in Saint-Aignan seen from the market square —
the red horse's head signals a shop that sells horse meat.

The other thing we wanted to find at the market was escargots, but we didn't find any. The man who specializes in snails seems to have disappeared. A few weeks ago, during school vacations, I wasn't surprised when we didn't see him at the market. But I figured he'd been there on "Easter Saturday" for sure. He wasn't. So no snails for us this weekend.

Je vous souhaite à toutes et à tous de passer un très bon [dimanche de] Pâques ! Ou simplement un bon dimanche.


  1. The asparagus in Preuilly market is local from 2 of the producers and French from the other two, although I am sure they don't grow it. I paid 9.20/kg for medium sized spears harvested on Tuesday at the Thursday market and 3€/kg for sprue harvested on Friday at the Saturday market. It seems particularly good quality this year.

  2. Hi Susan, I noticed the "Origine : France" sign on some asparagus at the market, but not all, and I didn't ask about the provenance since I wasn't planning to buy at those prices. The one man who I know sells local asparagus still had his at 10€/kg. Other vendors did have it as low as 8€. Once prices go down, we'll be gorging on asparagus, so I can wait.

  3. Je vous souhaite à tous deux une très bonne [fête de] Pâques ou, pour les athées, une très bonne [journée de] Pâques. As you said, French is so logical!

    Who’s the crazy lexicographer, or grammarian, who decided that Pâques is singular and masculine?

  4. Saw some green from Villandry at 11.50€ in Loches, yesterday... and some green marked as Spanish at 4.50€ the bundle... 9€ a kilo on another stall... and the local white was between 12 for the thin and 14 for the huge... we like 'sparrowgrass' but not that much [and I've eaten the white but couldn't taste anything!] so we'll wait, too.

    That old building is a super bit of timber and brick work... and the, presumably new, signage is well in keeping, too.

    'Appy Easter.

  5. We looked at the asparagus too and will wait till the price goes down.

    Used to buy it straight from the growers when we lived in Suffolk and Limburg [NL]. Suffolk grew green, which we prefer. Limburg grew white. Enjoy the bunny!

  6. I passed that Epicerie a few years ago when it was just an empty shell of a building. I found it a vendre on the internet for something like ninety thousand euros. I'm really pleased to see the whole site now functioning as- what looks like to me- a flourishing business. Such enterprises are a lifeline to towns like St Aignan.

  7. CHM, I think le peuple decided that Pâques was masculine and the so-called experts (Académie, Robert) just followed along! The strange thing about the word Pâques is that it doesn't usually take an article. We say Noël and Pâques but La Toussaint or Le Merci-Donnant (ha ha).

    J'espère que toi aussi tu vas avoir passé de bonnes Pâques ! Happy Easters, in other words.

    Tim, Antoinette, we enjoy the white because that's local but wish we could get more green asparagus.

    John-san, the problem is that the prices in that shop are so high! I predict it won't be there long. Hope I'm wrong.

  8. Love all the photos from St Aignan, especially the new shop and one with the red horse.

    Happy Easter Ken and Walt and commenters-also happy Passover this weekend too.

  9. Holy cow, that's some expensive asparagus!Oh, and I LOVE that old house where the new store is... wow!

  10. Joyeuses Pâques a vous deux. (I have a new Mac computer and miss my "accents" Between my new phone and computer, I am in tech hell). Happy Easter everybody!

  11. Merci Evelyn, Judy, Nadège, our Easter was very nice and the rabbit was delicious.

  12. I like all image of St Aignan. Its very clean and beautiful as well as I get lots of information about easter market at saint aignan.

  13. Dear Ken, I sure missed the asperges for Pâques, here in Montréal, but I compensated with cooking my traditional pâté de Pâques berrichon (have you been introduced to that hypercaloric delicacy?). All the best!


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