Today is market day!

For a list of markets in Lyon and their locations, see here.

What better way to fully experience the joys of French life, engulfing all of your senses, than with a trip to the neighborhood market? Feel the uneven cobblestones beneath your feet, knocking you off a balanced path from time to time. See the brilliant array of colors in the fruits and vegetables lined across the tables. Listen to the women gossip and barter over the sounds of a muffled accordion player nearby. Pick up a carrot or turnip and touch the dusty layer of dirt on the outer skin of the freshly dug vegetable. Taste the sweetness of a perfectly ripened tomato the vendor sliced for sampling.

Most neighborhoods have at least one or more weekly open-air markets, often located in a town square or open parking lot and taking place in the morning. Many covered markets are open all day long. Your neighbors can point you in the right direction, or just follow the ladies making their pilgrimage with woven baskets and rolling carts.

Arrive at the market with an open and adventurous spirit. Market shopping can inspire you to cook new dishes and try new tastes. Be spontaneous. Don’t arrive with list in hand. Let that day’s promotions or soldes write your menu. Shopping mid-week often means fewer people and lower prices. You could also try going later in the day for the possibility of easier bargaining on the food needing to be eaten that day.

(c) K. Masson

No matter when you go to these marchés découverts, it is appreciated if you try to speak the language. Keep in mind basic shopping etiquette: “Bonjour,” “s’il vous plait,” “merci,” and “au revoir” said with a smile go a long way. As far as asking for different foods, manage what you can. There are little helpful hints peeking out of each section, as the name and price of all the items are often etched in white on small chalkboards.
Tip: one kilo = 2.2 pounds
Depending on the season, you will find tables covered in melons and berries or apples and pumpkins, and always an array of flowers, bursting with magnificent colors. Most often, quantities are sold by weight in kilos or grams. Good deals can be found by buying by the plateau, or dish that is pre-loaded with ripe produce.

There is no doubt the food you come home with will be the freshest available. Each producer is an expert on his goods. You will receive one-on-one assistance picking the perfect pêche or pomme. There will not be a need to spend time reading the labels at a supermarket or hypermarket. Which is better, ‘free range organic,’ ‘natural,’ or ‘grass-fed’ meat? The perk of the market experience is the ability to simply ask the farmer how their animals live.

If you become a repeat shopper, even if you only return once a week, forming a friendship with the producteur can get you the freshest pick and ideas on how to prepare an item with which you are unfamiliar. Instead of fingering through all the fruits, poking and prodding each one, tell the producer on what day you would like to eat your choice melon, and most will gladly pick out one perfect for the occasion. And when there are more than 350 different French cheeses, you are going to want an expert behind the table; someone who learned the trade from his father, who learned it from his father.
Tip: for farm-fresh eggs, save a cardboard container from your last supermarket trip. If not, there is a good chance you will be given your dozen in a brown paper bag, playing a juggling game to see how many whole eggs you have once you reach the kitchen.
There is much more to a market than fruits and veggies, though. Selections vary at each location, but you can often find fresh fish, meats, cheeses, honey and fruit juices. Let us not forget about the non-edibles too! Beautiful scarves, dainty handbags, shoes, jewelry, clothes and handmade crafts are also for sale; although on sale is more like it—a necklace at a department store might cost you EUR 25, whereas you might find the same one at the market for just five.

By shopping at a market, you might also lose a few things as well. In the popular book French Women Don’t Get Fat, Mireille Guiliano reveals her ideas on the mysteries behind French eating habits, weight gain and “the secret of eating for pleasure.” One of Madame Guiliano’s recommendations for keeping a French figure is fresh ingredients found at your local market. She also says the way a French woman walks everywhere provides great exercise. While you are walking back and forth from the market, adding a rolling cart for a little resistance, you have combined a small workout with grocery shopping.

Whether it is picking up a mélange of dried fruit as an afternoon snack, instead of McDo, picking up supplies for a scrumptious picnic, or checking out the ripest produce for a delicious dinner, the open-air market is a true French advantage. Get out in the fresh air; take a stroll and find some fresh food.

Guest writer Erin Chupp is an American freelance writer and photographer. Copyright 2009. No reproductions of any part without prior written permission.

Lyon markets

Lyon food markets

Boulevard de la Croix-Rousse 69001, closed Mondays
Cours Bayard 69002, open Sunday and Thursday mornings
Place Carnot 69002, open Sunday morning
Quai Saint Antoine 69002, open mornings daily except Monday
Place du Château 69003, open Wednesday and Saturday mornings
Rue Gabillot 69003, open Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday mornings
Place des Martyrs de la Résistance 69003, open Thursday morning
Petite Place de la Croix Rousse 69004, open mornings daily except Monday
Place Camille Flammarion 69004, open Wednesday and Friday mornings
Place Docteur Schweitzer 69005, open Wednesday and Sunday mornings
Rue des Anges 69005, open Wednesday and Saturday mornings
Rue Montgolfier 69006, open Friday morning
Rue Bellecombe 69006, open Tuesday and Thursday mornings
Rue Tête d'Or 69006, open Wednesday and Saturday mornings
Avenue Jean-Jaurès 69007, open Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday mornings
Place Jean Macé 69007, open Wednesday and Saturday mornings
Place du 8 mai 1945 69008, open Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings
Place Belleville 69008, open Wednesday and Sunday mornings
Avenue Andreï Sakharov 69009, open Tuesday and Saturday mornings
Avenue du Plateau 69009, open Friday morning
Avenue Barthélémy Buyer 69009, open Saturday morning

Book market: Place des tapis 69004, open Saturday
Stamp market: Place Bellecour 69002, open Sunday morning
Art and Artisan market: Quai de Bondy 69005, Sunday morning
Farmer’s market: Place Carnot 69002, open Wednesday evening
Animal market: Place Carnot 69002, open Sunday morning

For more information, visit the Site Officiel de la Ville de Lyon

ABC Domino's!

Domino's pizza in Lyon is offering the following Mega Deals this week. You can order by phone by calling 3959, or if you want to avoid speaking French on the phone, you can order online here.

TIP: Prices include delivery, but if you pick it up yourself, you can take 3 euros off the price.

Six locations in the Lyon area:
121 av des Frères Lumières, 69008 Lyon
61 rue Chevreul, 69007 Lyon
36 rue Marietton, 69009 Lyon
256 rue Paul Bert, 69003 Lyon
29 rue Charmettes, 69100 Villeurbanne
288 cours Emile Zola, 69100 Villeurbanne

Tips from a reader

This morning I got a wonderful email from a reader of Lyon Eats. She sent her contributions to help the rest of us navigate the stores and markets in search of American products and substitutes. Thank you, K. C.!

Sun-dried tomatoes
I found tomates séchées à l'huile at our local Casino grocery store and the jar I bought was actually a Casino brand (Saveurs d' Ailleurs).

Sour cream
Crème fraîche épaisse (15%) is the closest to American sour cream. The brand I buy is Bridelice. Crème fraîche to me is the consistency of sour cream, but tastes like cream cheese. I have substituted the two though if I am in a bind and crème fraîche is what I have on hand, and it works fine.

Cream cheese
I use St. Moret for all cream cheese substitutes. You can buy it in a block (just like the shape of Philly cream cheese, except it is in a plastic container, not foil wrapped) and you don't have to unwrap all of those little Kiri wrappers!

Spotlight: KFC!

Looks good, doesn't it? The Lyon KFC is actually located in Bron at 10 rue Paul Langevin, 69500.

(c) www.kfc.fr

If you've ever tried to look up Kentucky Fried Chricken on www.pagesjaunes.fr, you probably came up with nothing. That's because according to the French phonebook, it's Kentucky Friend Chicken. Oops - typo!

(c) www.kfc.fr

In the kitchen: stocking up

This is the third in a series of five topics that will be covered 'In the kitchen'. Check back each week for updates. This week we'll look at the names of shops and stores where you can go to stock your kitchen. Now you can get started 'dans la cuisine'!

Also on Lyon Eats:
Translating the spice rack
Translating the veggie drawer
Translating the fruit basket
In the kitchen: French verbs

la boulangerie: bakery
la boucherie: butcher
la confiserie: candy shop
la crémerie: cheese and dairy shop
l’épicerie: grocery store
la fruiterie: fruit shop
l’hypermarché: large supermarket
le magasin de vin: wine shop
la pâtisserie: pastry shop
la possonerie: fish shop
le supermarché: supermarket

This week in Lyon

This week's special: a lowfat latte

Try one at the Starbucks at 2 Rue de la République near the Lyon Opéra, a at the newest location in Villeurbanne at 40 rue Henri Barbusse.

Need to brush up on your language skills for ordering Starbucks in French?

Try this list of drinks and descriptions in French and this audio learning guide (CD and booklet). You'll be all set.