Hilary in France- Part 7!

Outing 6 – Marche d’Aligre (open air market)

Our last outing was a visit to a lovely covered/open market that’s just about a 3-5 minute walk up Rue de Charenton (on the left side of the street) from the back entrance to the Daumesnil residence. I’m told this outing was added to the program just this year; and a good thing too, considering the importance of food and open air markets to the French culture. My group was assigned to look at a cheese stand, which we found out had 300 different cheeses (25 of them goat cheese).

There were also stands for meat, seafood, and things like that. Meat’s pretty pricey here though, as you can see.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that there are three or so bio (organic) produce stands there. I used my highly broken French to buy a kilo of grapes for half the price I’d pay at a grocery store. If you go, bring cash. They don’t accept cards or checks in tiny shops, markets, or bakeries. Also, try to use exact change the first time you come. The sellers sometimes round up the price if you hand them a bill expecting change, and you’ll end up get charged more that you should (e.g., 5 Euros instead of 4 Euros and change).

Behind the food is a sort of an open air bazaar for selling stuff. There’s jewelry, clothing, books, and all sorts of things there. Pretty inexpensive too, for the most part.

So, that was my practicum. Other groups had the same outings as well, but in a different order so we didn’t all go at once. We learned enough French to avoid being completely feeble when communicating, we were eased into using the public transportation systems, we were shown a good place to get food, and we were shown a sample of what we can see if we look around the city. All around, an extremely useful, fun, and worthwhile aspect of the program. So, that’s why I say – yay, practicum!

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