Every market here in Bordeaux is distinct from the other. Some are crowded, some more quiet, some are indoors, some compete outside with the elements. The marché below the Basilique Saint Michel can be immediately recognized by its smell. Good smells...
The Saint Michel neighborhood is traditionally a district with a large immigrant population. Storefronts spill over into the streets where stacks of tagines balance precariously atop oriental rugs and stacks of leather slippers. Though this quartier, like San Francisco's Mission District, is slowly becoming gentrified in part as a result of the economic downturn, the Saturday market still reflects its varied colors and backgrounds of a global bazaar.
The first thing you smell stepping into the market are the fresh herbs- persil, coriande and romarin. Then the spices arranged in canvas sacks and sold by the gram. Then the leafy scent of fruit and vegetables, mingled with the smell of the merchants cigarette. All of these smells are augmented by another sensation: the omniscient cast shadow of the giant spire overhead; an ode to the dragon-slaying Saint Michael who, you may not have known is the patron saint of grocers.
|Oh la, la! Les francais!|