ENJOY A REAL FRENCH MARKET
By Ann Evans
If you’re heading to the Dordogne in France this year and you’re a fan of local produce, then take time out to visit Brive-la-Gaillarde’s indoor and outdoor market in the Correze (Limousin region) in the southern-centre of France.
The market is held three times a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings from 7.30am. The Saturday market being the largest. And you know it’s a good market when you realise that the locals come from miles around to buy good fresh, locally grown products at a fair price.
The reason why there is such a rich variety of local products is because the town of Brive is at the centre of four different kinds of soil with four difference types of agriculture. To the north you’ll find fruits such as peaches, apples and plums; in the south it’s goat’s cheese, walnuts, black truffle and strawberries; east is ideal for rearing cows and the west is well known for its fois gras and ducks.
But you’ll find all kinds of fruit and vegetables as well as honey, bread, cakes, clothing, shoes, wicker ware, iron ware and lots more. Be prepared to practice your French though, or you’ll have to rely on pointing to what you want, as it’s a local market for local people so the language is the native tongue. But should you need assistance, the tourist information office is located in the water tower near the market where you can also buy Gaillard branded goods and souvenirs.
At the centre of the town is St Martin’s church which was originally built in Romanesque style but has since been heavily restored. And as you explore the narrow streets, you’ll find the architecture of the buildings features slate roofs, round turrets and domes, and balconies made of stone and wrought iron.
There are various interesting buildings to admire such as the 16th century Hôtel Noble de Labenche which is now home to Brive’s museum and contains a display of archeological finds from the area. Also, the Maison Cavaignac which has been a convent, a ladies prison, a bourgeoise house and a museum over the years, It’s now home to the town archives.
And if you’re staying for the evening you can view everything in a different light by taking a stroll along the illuminated path – the parcourse lumiere and see the town’s buildings and features lit up giving them a lovely night-time atmosphere.
The Denoix Distillery is also worth a visit. This family-run business has, for the last 170 years been making oils and liqueurs and other products from crushed green walnuts. Here you can see demonstrations in the art of making liqueurs from walnuts in the large copper vats, infusing them with chocolate, herbs or fruits, then storing in oak barrels for years before selling – delicious!
And if you take a drive out to the west of Brive-la-Gaillarde you’ll come to the attractive town of Terrasson where you’ll find Les Jardins de l’Imaginaire, which I’ll be writing about next Monday.