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La Vie en France

semi-overcast 21 °C

Daily life in France is little different than life in any other Western country, however there are certain customs and institutions that are fairly unique here.

La Mairie
Rules and regulations are important to the French, (not that they always comply with them). Just remember where the word bureaucracy comes from! La Mairie, (the town hall), is the centre of administration in every community and is usually housed in a beautiful building on the town square. This one is in the village of Trémolat.

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Le commémoratif de guerre
Even the tiniest of villages has a war memorial. France has a great number of wars to remember, chief among them the two World Wars when being Germany's next door neighbour turned out to be a liabilty. This memorial stands on the banks of the Dordogne River in the town of Lalinde...

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La boulangerie
Few French can survive without their daily bread and, when smaller villages lose their stores to the hypermarkets and shopping malls, the boulanger is usually the last to leave town. One of our delights of visiting France is a warm baquette for breakfast. The baker's charming wife served us sweetly every morning in the Le vieux fournil, (the ancient oven), bakery in Bergerac...

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La boucher
The town's butcher is also a survivor and the range of meats and the quality would put the average Canadian purveyor to shame. Rabbits, wild boar, horse and all kinds of game birds are readily available here alongside the speciality of this region of France. Perigord is renowned for foie gras, (goose liver pâte). However, the ancient inhumane process of force feeding geese to produce grossly enlarged livers is now illegal. Goose and duck are the staples of every butcher and restaurant in the Perigord and we have taken advantage of that. While meat prices in general are comparable to those in Canada certain cuts are prized here. For example: in this butcher's shop in Bergerac the finest steak was 24.80 euros a kilo, ($36.00 Cdn) while the calves liver was 37. 90 euros a kilo, ($55.00 Cdn.)

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La laverie
Ancient wash-houses usually fed by natural streams can be found in almost every small town and village and it is occasionally possible to see a woman doing the week's laundry there. This unusual, and sadly neglected, semi-circular laverie was cut into the rocks on the outskirts of the village of Monplaisant in medieval times...

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Le marché
Although supermarkets and enormous hypermarkets are common in all larger towns, street markets remain as a major source of goods in almost every community. Covered market halls more than 500 years old like this one in Cadouin are a common sight...

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We love the markets of the world but here in France they are an institution that cannot be missed. The Sunday morning market that winds through the medieval streets in the Dordogne town of Sarlat-la-Canéda is a perfect example, with hundreds of venders selling everything from wine to furniture. Variety is the spice of life in France and there is vast array of products for sale in every market. In Sarlat on Sunday we counted more than 25 types of onion, shallots and garlic on one stall, and 30 different dried sausages on another....

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This stall offered dozens of different cheeses...

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Note: The cheese counter in one supermarket in Bergerac had more than 400 different cheeses on offer.

La cave à vin
Vineyards and wine shops are ubiquitous throughout France, although the aisles of every supermarket and corner store are stacked with booze of all kinds. The local plonk can be bought in plastic bottles for a few euros a litre while drinkable bottles of vin ordinaire start around three Canadian dollars. However, the sky is the limit for certain Chateau bottled vintages. This chateau bottled Bergerac wine was $5 Cdn a bottle but only $4 if you bought six...

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That's all we can write for this blog – we still have 5 bottles to get through.

Posted by Hawkson 03:49 Archived in France

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Comments

Good that you can "splurge" on the wine. That label looks familiar and I can tell you the sticker price for it is a long way from $5 Cn in our local store. Same bargain with the cheeses? (having just bought some from McLean's in Nanaimo-$$$$$)

by R and B

What a mouth watering post. Our market at Lansdowne is not quite like that one. Love markets! Always a pleasure to read your blogs. Today I get to catch up. Big hugs.

by Trudy

Bringing back lots of memories for us. Bought one of those sausages in Sarlat in 2004. The apartment stank of stinky feet for days after. One of many fun stories from that trip. Enjoying your blog yet again ... thanks!

by Shelagh

Wonderful description of village life. All the important essentials and then some. Envious of the wine choices and prices.

by Sue Fitzwilson

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