Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Sun Saves the Day at the Menton Market

Paysanne vendor Madame Francine and her wonderful mandarin oranges

I love visiting Menton's market any day of the week but around Christmas, I enjoy it even more because it's busier than usual and that makes for a lively and festive atmosphere.

This Christmas Eve though, it all went a bit pear shaped when it poured rain and the skies were heavy and grey making it seem more like a trumpet with a mute than the silver flute it usually is. Very few people had braved the rain and the vendors were worried because hardly anyone had come to buy all of their festive offerings.   

Rain doesn't bother me in the least so Hubby and I were two of the few who arrived and hustled here and there, gathering this and that, all the while juggling wallet and umbrella.  After shopping for an hour or so, the rain started coming down in buckets so we skedaddled back home, dragging our bulging and wet granny cart behind us.

Thank goodness New Year's Eve was a different story...

The skies were a clear bright blue, the sea was glistening, it was 10°c and the air was fresh with a breeze from the South and the market was happy and crowded.  Very crowded.

A brief break in the rain on Christmas Eve
I think Menton's buildings look better in the sun

The lines to buy oysters and bread were two and three deep, less so for vegetables, fruits and cheese.  Menton's luscious oranges, kumquats, and lemons were on sale here and there.  We waited patiently in the long lines like everyone else and when it was finally our turn at the front, we took the time to thank the vendors for all the wonderful things they produced for us throughout the year.

Traditionally it's bad luck to wish anyone "Bonne Année" before January 1st but we wiggled around that by saying, "Bonne fin d’Année" which seemed fine since anyone to whom we said it said the same back.

Mentonnaise author Jean-Claude Volpi
Passionate Mentonnaise author Jean-Claude Volpi set up a table where he was selling some of his well researched and wonderfully illustrated books about Menton.  He also had a huge selection of rare vintage postcards that he was selling for a song.  I scooped up quite a few of those.

A beggar brought his cat and dog with two adorable puppies that attracted as much attention as the oyster vendor.  In all, New Years Eve was a wonderful second chance at holiday cheer for vendors and customers alike.

Now that the holidays are drawing to an end, calm has once again descended upon us.

I'd like wish each and everyone of you who visit and follow my blog a Bonne Année, happiness and good health in the coming year and beyond.

May your soufflées always rise, may your pie crusts always flake and may all who sit at your dinner table arrive with a happy heart and a good appetite!

I bought one of Mr Volpis' postcards of Menton in the sun.  This one is from 1972
Mr Volpi was selling his vintage postcards of Menton

Everyone enjoyed the sunshine on New Year's Eve
Tagged tuna.  All that was left was the tail!

Big crowds to buy oysters and seafood

Seafood, oysters, moules were selling like hotcakes
Locally grown bananas, holly, mistletoe and fresh baby carrots


Anonymous said...

And thank you for keeping us entertained and educated by your wanderings and commentary on all things "tasteful". Happy New Year to the Gustia team (cute critters included!) PattyXO

Barbara Lilian said...

I enjoyed seeing your market. A sunny day can make all the difference to peoples attitudes, vedors & the crowds who go to buy. Loved the photo of the dog tucked up in a blanket with her 2 pups. I think my purchase would have been the baby carrots in preference to the oysters.
Happy New Year.

Gustia said...

Happy New Year to you too! The critters are bonus material!

Gustia said...

You're right about that especially around here where sun is expected year round. I agree with you about the carrots. Happy New Year to you too!