Spain and France 2016

A Walk in the Market

The Bonnieux market is all about food with booths lining a small cobble stoned street that works its way up the hill towards the old 12th century church.

May 20, 2016 | morning

Our first full day in France as we head to one of the loveliest villages in France, Bonnieux. This isn’t just me saying this, its official and I know this because it would appear they hand out awards for this kind of stuff and they post nice little signs informing you that you are now entering one of the official loveliest villages in France. Turns out driving between these villages is fairly straight forward, much like driving on the backroads of Ireland…1 ½ lane wide roads that hit roundabouts with big arrows telling you which way to go. One of the many historic hill villages built back in Roman times Bonnieux hosts one of the more charming little markets in the Luberon.

We start out at the base of the market and wander through some arts and crafts…but that’s not the draw of this market. The Bonnieux market is all about food with booths lining a small cobble stoned street that works its way up the hill towards the old 12th century church. We start up the hill and make it about 10 meters before seeing dried meat. Charcuterie. Being the good shoppers we are we grab a locally made saucisson (dried sausage) as we round the corner and stop for fromage…and olives…and tapenade…and spices…and more saucisson.

On the flight out I was reading a book on street photography. It hasn’t really been my thing in the past – and let’s be honest, I’m not the most social person to begin with so the idea of going up to someone I don’t know and asking if I can take their picture is about as comfortable as driving down a French road as one of the scourge of the Luberon, a white minibus, comes flying by in the opposite direction. The book makes a point of suggesting that in many scenarios, especially in a market, it is much better to ask permission to take photos, especially of the people working at the market. For the most part they won’t care, and who knows, you might learn something or meet someone new.

So, that’s my goal…not necessarily to make a new friend but to at least not come off as a rude tourist shoving my camera where it doesn’t belong. Turns out…not a bad idea…at least I wasn’t the person with the camera standing in the middle of someone’s stall trying to arrange pictures while the vendor is comparing the cameraman to a cochon in what I can only imagine are very descript terms.

We point this out to one of the vendors and he agrees…”just ask”, he says…we almost always say yes and it shows us some respect.

Great idea…so I stop at the booth of the local photographer and we strike up a halting conversation in French and English. Turns out she’s been photographing the area for 20+ years and she has some fabulous work. I motion to some of her photos of Bonnieux and ask if she has some suggestions…and suddenly our conversation becomes very pigeon and her description of the local area isn’t quite so specific! Ah well…I guess some folks have to protect their trade secrets.

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