Breizh Poellrezh SF - Douarañ Santel
Breizh Poellrezh SF - Douarañ Santel

The Tuesday market in Möelan-sur-Mer is a busy and fun place, more of a social event than a shopping trip and the range and variety of size in produce is so unlike a UK supermarket or even many English markets. All sorts of things are for sale: flowers, vegetables, clothes, and hot food. Mainly home-made or home-grown produce e.g. eggs, jam, cheese, vegetables, pastries and cider. Plus of course the lovely rotisserie chicken carts. Also lots of conversation. There is something special about our markets; somehow it epitomises much of what goes to create the unique character of Brittany - the lack of haste, the gentle friendliness of the people who live here and, above all, an abundance of great produce.

People also seem to value the market and there appears to be less of the omnipresent chain stores. The cafés and bars all feel independent; the markets sell local produce and are large and bustling. French cars, wine, food and beer are dominant, maybe to some people it could feel stifling, but to us it is refreshing. In the market people taste and bargain, buy their vegetables and meat for the week, have lunch with friends and buy flowers. Lots of clothing for sale too, maybe half the market is devoted to clothes, jewellery or similar.

In England there seems to be nothing that is quite the same, the typical market doesn't sell the local produce, the farmer's market is local or deli produce and feels more up market, with less of a populist feel. Möelan-sur-Mer market feels like a central part of the town, in the UK supermarket chains dominant to the exclusion of the local market, the butchers and the bakers.

I have found that many market traders offer tiny pieces of a product as tasters, as to whether you eat them or refuse them is up to you. The British idea of politeness is very different from ours, as we do not have words for ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’ in our local dialects, and can find British people thanking us constantly quite irritating. But we don’t seem to mind if that same view of politeness obliges Brits to buy our wares. Of course, traders know that foreigners are more likely to buy than us if they’ve had a taster, so we sell hard. Enjoy tasting, and then selecting what you actually want, according to deliciousness and price.

Then there is the fish market at Belon, the fish is so fresh that they are still wriggling but, it would be no exaggeration at all to admit that I can quite happily spend a whole hour wandering round and, after a quick coffee, go back for more! I happily queue up for the 10 or 15 minutes (sometimes longer), that it takes to be served; whilst the fishermen happily take their time chatting to their customers, preparing their fish (just the way they like it - they always seems to remember each one individually) and generally having a good gossip.

We, Bretons (particularly us older ones), have our favourite suppliers of fresh produce, even if it may cost a little more. I have friend who drives miles out of her way, after work, to buy her bread. There is a boulangerie in her village but, according to her, the bread there isn't as good as it is at the boulangerie that she uses.

Queuing up on the fish quay does have its downside, though. It gives me too much time to peruse what's available and, as a result, I always end up buying more than I had intended to; perhaps a couple of those extra large Langoustines for me and, maybe some prawns for the cats.

Actually, the best part of going to Belon is sitting outside one of the harbour-side restaurants, leisurely enjoying a dozen oysters with some salad and freshly baked bread and, a glass or two of cold Muscadet - just generally watching the world go by.

Below is a table of markets in my region I have visited over the years, take your pick and enjoy the experience!!

Les marchés en Finistére

Argol Dimanche Clohars Carnoêt Samedi Lanmeur Vendredi Plougerneau Mardi soir*, Jeudi
Auderne Mercredi, Samedi Combrit Mercredi Lannilis Jeudi Plouhinec Mardi, Dimanche*
Bannalec 2e & 4e Mercredi Concarneau LOundi, Vendredi Lesneven Lundi Plouigneau Dimanche
Bénodet Lundi Le Conquet Mardi Locmaria Plouzané Jeudi aprés-midi Plounéour Trez Jeudi*
Brasparts 1e Lundi Crozon 2e & 4e Mercredi Locquirec Mercredi Pont-Aven Mardi
BREST Dimanche Daoulas Dimanche Loctudy Mardi Pont-Croix Jeudi, Dimanche*
Bellevue Jeudi Dinéault Mardi, Vendredi Melgven Samedi Pont-l'Abbé Jeudi
Kérinou Mardi soir, Mercredi, Samedi Douarnenez Lundi, Samedi Milizac Jeudi soir Quimper Mercredi, Vendredi aprés-midi, Samedi, Dimanche
Lambezellec Vendredi Ergué Gabéric 3e Mardi Moëlan-sur-Mer Mardi Quimperlé Vendredi
Piller Rouge Mardi, Vendredi Le Forêet-Fouesnant Dimanche, Mardi soir Morlaix Mercredi*, Samedi Riec-sur-Belon Mercredi, Samedi
Place de la Liberté Vendredi Fouesnant Vendredi Nevez Samedi Roscoff Mercredi
Pontanézen Mercredi Guerlesquin Lundi Playben 2e Mardi, Samedi St-Guénolé Mercredi*, Vendredi
Sadi Carnot Mardi Guilers Vendredi Plobannalec Mercredi St-Martin-des-Champs Dimanche
St-Marc Madri Guilvinec Mardi, Mercredi, Jeudi aprés-midi, Dimanche* Plogoff Vendredi St-Nic/Pentrez
St-Pierre Mercredi Guipavas Vendredi Plogonnec Samedi St-Pol-de-Léon Mardi
Briec 1e Mardi, Vendredi Guissény Jeudi soir Plomeur Samedi* St-Renan Samdi
Brignogan Vendredi* L'Hôpital Camfrout Vendredi Plomodiern Mercredi*, 1e Vendredi Santec Samedi, Dimanche*
Cameret-sur Mer Mardi, Jeudi, Samedi Huelgoat Jeudi Plonévez-du-Faou 2e Vendredi Scaër Samedi
Canrantec Jeudi Île d'Ouessant Mercerdi, Samedi Ploudalmézeau Vendredi Sizun 1e Vendredi
Carhaix-Plouguer Samedi Île Tudy Lundi Plouscat Samedi Telgruc-sur-mer Mardi, Vendredi
Châeaulin Jeudi, Dimanche* Lampual-Plouarzel Jeudi Plougasnou Mardi Treffiagat Samedi
Châteauneuf-du-Faou 1e, 3e & 5e Mercredi Landéda Mardi, Vendredi aprés-modo Plougastel-Dauolas Jeudi Trégunc Mardi aprés-midi, Mercredi, Dimanche
Cléden Cap Sizan 4e Jeudi Landerneau Mardi, Vendredi, Samedi Plougonvelin Dimanche* La Trinité Plouzané Mercredi
Cléder vendredi, Dimanche* Landvisiau Mercredi Plougonven Mardi

Notes: The markets highlighted in BLUE are all in Brest - the various locations in and around the city.
* = Seasonal Markets

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