Foire Froide

As this billboard shows, the city of Roanne organizes several festivities during the month of December.

One of them is the ‘Foire Froide’ (‘Cold Market’) on the 14th of December along Le Quaie du Commandant l’Herminier, the quay alongside which our ship is moored during this winter.

This picture shows how busy it was – especially during the afternoon. The crowd was just able to inch along and occasionally even came to a standstill.

Roanne’s council had very well taken care of us boaters and fenced off the market-area as effective as possible.

It worked, as you can see. Only the odd walker came to gaze at all those boats and the dare-devils living inside them and –miraculously- surviving the present cold circumstances.

The goods for sale on the market now. To start with ladies clothing, some see-through blouses included.

A bit less charming, being male clothing. Did you ever see a piece of clothing size XXXXL? We did! And share it with you.

Boxer shorts in all imaginable colours. Absolutely forgiving we’d say, one could wear one of them for weeks…

Sausages big and small. A large one (‘La Rosette’) in the foreground, three ‘normal’ sausages, two sausages ‘aperitif’ and a knife(!) – all this for a mere € 20,00.

How successful the exploiting couple were. This is what was left after they had gone home – a pile of sausages replaced by a small fortune one guesses.

More sausages, combined with ‘jambon’ (the finest ham). Mouthwatering.

Bread. Of course, 'le boulangerie' is to be found everywhere in France.

Apples. Only € 1,00 a kilo. Our family of 2 is too small for all 14 kilograms.

Cheese. From sheep-milk, for your information.

Stoves too. This one catched our eyes. A high degree of kitsch makes it almost beautiful. (‘Les extrêmes se touchent.’)

Knives are to be seen everywhere in France. (‘What’s life without a knife?’)

Watches. Only € 5,00 a piece. Guaranteed for a day.

Earrings. Just € 5,00 for 4 pairs. A genuine once-in-your-lifetime-offer.

Mugs. The one with Heineken on it not only did our Dutch hearts proud, it made us think of a hot coffee in a beer glass too.

Packed up chocolate, like Mars and the likes, was this guy’s (with the microphone) specialty. All bags for € 10,00, his customers holding them, him filling them. After one or two items he suggested that –thanks to his generosity- the rest was extra and kept filling all the bags with more chocolate candy, every time exclaiming ‘cadeau’. As our ship is moored just opposite his position we have heard the ‘sentence’ ‘cadeau-cadeau-cadeau-cadeau-cadeau-cadeau-cadeau’ a zillion times. This picture shows at least ten customers and he exclaimed ‘cadeau’ every time he dropped an additional item in any bag. ‘Shall I stop now?’ he asked (rhetoric or what?). ‘No’ yelled the crowd. It was like Punch and Judy (Jan Klaassen en Katrijn) interacting with an audience of kids. Very funny.

The chocolate-guy was really effective, so to speak. This huge pile of empty boxes is an unmistakable witness of that. We’d say he beat his sausage-colleague comfortably.

Candy. More of it. Take a bag, fill it and pay € 10,00 for a kilogram. All chocolate. Eventually we were unable to resist the temptation.

This is the kilogram of chocolate candies inside our home. Delicious. We bought it Saturday afternoon and now, Sunday evening, we’ve managed to remove the top – and more. Two of the many different candies proved to be our favorites. So we bought an extra kilogram only containing these two. A comforting thought is that we do this only in December…

The river Loire on Sunday the 15th of December. At its lowest since we arrived here. We are told things can change dramatically after the dam just upstream of Roanne will be opened. Well we’ll see…