Beaune Farmers Market magnifique

I wake to intoxicating aromas. Am I still dreaming? Did I die, and this is what heaven smells like? Orgasmically-rich butter is wafting up through my loft bedroom’s open window. Wait. Not just butter. Golden baked flour, the finest dark chocolate, pure vanilla, and the sweet smell of caramelized sugar pervade my room. Warm breeze carries those divine scents from a nearby bakery, called a boulangerie. A bird sings. A church bell chimes. A wide grin stretches across my face. I pinch myself.

Yep. I’m still in France. Beaune, in the heart of Burgundy, France, to be exact.

Room with perfume

Time to get moving–The Farmers Market is almost open and I want to go take pictures of set up. Alas, the French have beaten me: all stalls are up by my arrival, two hours before opening. However, deliveries are still being made, rows of fruits and veggies are being aligned. Cheeses and meats are arranged aesthetically. Chatter between stalls erupts into laughter. This is the social event of the week.


Open every Saturday since the 13th century, it’s been here awhile. Today it’s my turn to feast my senses on the bounty. Nearly impossible to walk past any stalls, as they’re all so beautiful and smell so good. I wonder what was being sold right here in 1450? 1680?

I’m home
Vendors having fun–and LOOK at those breads

As I walk around, I note how many folks are laughing and smiling. Neighbors catching up on the latest. People enjoying life. It is a gorgeous sunny day, and no cause for frowns. The quality and variety for a tiny village is astounding. Culinary traditions are strong.

Corsican heritage black pig saucisson? Yes, please
The finest, tiniest plums

The abundance of all the things I love is at once overwhelming and soothing. I can feel my French roots. Someone approaches me and rattles off something lightning-quick to me. In French. I smile. Instead, I converse with a few Kiwi tourists, directing them to the Hospice de Beaune, adjoining the market’s square.

Yep, that’s a mobile butcher
And mobile rotisserie
So much beautiful charcuterie and fromage…so little time

Just about anything is sold here, including butchery, charcuterie, rotisserie, clothes, and leather goods. Everything you need to live beautifully. Certain items stick out: more saucisson, tomme and pain vendors than any other type. Meat. Cheese. Bread. Makes sense. Possible exception might be the vast quantity and variety of olives. Oh. And, you can purchase world-famous poule de Bresse here, either raw or roasted. No biggie. Just the finest chicken in the world. Yeah, I guess that’ll be good enough.

The best chicken in the world is sold here
Olive orgasm
Nice melons
Show me your leather
Country couture
Herbs, extracts, scents
Glamour girl is hawking fruit: haute
Nougat: the most expensive item here

Continuing on, I taste several different fruits, cheeses, and meats. Almost enough for a light meal. Nope. I can’t control myself–I’ve got to have some of those delicious cheeses and saucisson. And some fruit to round out lunch. (I apparently missed the poule–it sells out quickly. No matter. I’ll enjoy that at a restaurant.)

Local tommes
Local saucissons
That’s MY slice

After cheese and meat are acquired, a baguette and some nougat. Old red Burgundy pairs spectacularly. I wonder if someone sat right here hundreds of years ago and ate the very same meal. Food for thought.

Beaune, France is a fairytale village and the wine capital of Burgundy. Anyone who enjoys great French food and wine owes it to themselves to visit. Along with Michelin-star restaruants, the Farmers Market is open every Saturday, rain or shine. Get some baguette, cheese, meat, olives, fruit and wine. You’re set for the best picnic you’ve ever had.
All images and content copyright ©2017 Eric Schadel. All rights reserved.

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