A sunny Friday morning brings the 4 of us down D11 to the weekly market in Houdan. We pass by fields of maize and canola in a countryside that is only to be punctuated with a little village or two. One village even has an electronic sign that records your speed and warns you when you are driving too fast. This does not work as it should for many local residents as they take the flashing warning sign as a challenge to see how high a number they can get it to flash. After we white-knuckle it through this village we are then able to settle in and enjoy the scenery of our ride.
Once in Houdan we must search for the ever elusive parking spot. The best spots are around the cathédrale, but unfortunately there is a funeral that day and all the best spots are taken for a while. Pas de problème(not a problem), there is a space in front of our favorite book and magazine shop.
The market is situated right in back of the cathédrale and is busy with activity from beginning to end. Everything is offered at this market. Les chaussures pour 10 Euros? A côté de la poissonnerie.(Shoes for 10 Euros? Next to the fish monger.) Imperméables?(rain coats) En face des livres.(Across from the books.) Even full sized beds were propped up on le trottoir.(sidewalk)
Further down is the ever-popular fruit seller. This rosy-cheeked man is a favorite with les enfants as he puts free samples into their chubby little hands and upturned smiling faces while neighborly chattting with their mothers as his wife carefully wraps each purchase as if she were gift wrapping a fine jewel.
Les grand-mères scrutinize les aubergines(eggplants) before allowing them to be put in their panniers(baskets) all the while looking out for the next bargain.
There are a few guys behind la charcuterie(pork butcher) and le frommage(cheese) stalls that compete with one another for their customer's attention calling out their specials for the week.
The salt seller has little bags of every type le sel imaginable. One type is best for salads, while another is good for la viande(meat) or le poisson.(fish) Fourteen possibilities in salt along with various types of salt shakers, dishes and jars to keep them in.
Next is a WARNING and is not for the faint-hearted as we see les lapins(rabbits) strung up as they have just recently given it all up to make market day in Houdan complete.