The Best French Food Market in France
Revel's Saturday Morning Food Market
This is another of my 'day out in France' lenses where I am going to discuss the very popular farmers market at Revel in the Haute Garonne department of Southern France which is located in the Midi-Pyrenees region.
Revel is very close to the border between Midi-Pyrenees and the Languedoc Roussillon region where we are located. In fact a 20 minute drive from our gite, see French Holidays Aude for details, will see you in the centre of Revel and the foothills of the 'Montagne Noire'..
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Fabulous French Food
Many of our guests have visited the market at Revel and commented on the wonderful selection of local produce that is available there and we all know that food markets are a part of French culture. But it is more than that, of course it is about the food, the fois gras, the French cheeses, the local hams and the vast array of vegetables on offer, but it is also about the ambiance that exists, the buzz of activity, the shouts of the stall holders and the banter that goes on as they try to sell their wares in what must be one of the best outdoor market facilities the South of France has to offer.
So what makes Revel so special, one of the towns most endearing features is its 14th century covered square that is topped by a very impressive bell tower. This facility plays host to the Office de Tourisme (and the public toilets) during normal operating hours, but on a Saturday morning the covered square and town streets see a massive influx of stall holders and not just selling French food.
The square is where you will find food stalls of every variety taking refuge under the covered roof. The outer sections of the square are where you will find the permanent shops and cafes but also more vegetable stalls and gardening stalls selling flowers, shrubs, bulbs and sometimes garden utensils and tools.
As you leave the immediate vicinity of the square into the outer streets you will start to find the clothes stalls, materials, hats, general tools, bric a brac and shoes. In fact, everything you might find in a busy shopping centre you can find catered for by the marketing community, often at bargain prices. We have had many a 5kg bag of French onions for €2, amazing value and often you are making the trade to the sound of a saxophone or some other musical instrument being played in the background.
There is no doubt that anyone visiting this particular market will leave it having noted a very rewarding morning in the South of France.
Before moving on however its is worth having a look around to see what else the town has to offer, for example the eglise Notre Dame (sure I have heard that name somewhere before) or in the Place de la mission, you can find the Statue de Folon and there are plenty of other nice little squares dotted about with a seat to park on for a while.
Revel is also famous for it's Art Meubles and apparently for a liqueur called Get 27 which has been produced in the town since the 18th Century. Wikipedia can fill you in on the details, I need to go to the shops and get a bottle or two, can't believe I didn't know about it.
Just joking, there are plenty of high quality furniture shops in and around the town selling some wonderful products locally produced and the town plays host to a cabinet making school where apprentices can come and train in high quality furniture manufacture and cabinet making (don't think there is a school for manufacturing Get 27, but you can't have everything).
There are also plenty of typical French cafe's, bars and restaurants where you can sit and watch the world go by while you get a bit of sunshine, so take a pause wind down the mania and chill out a bit French style, there is always 'demain' if you need it.
To purchase photographs of France on cards visit Moulin Graphic Designs
John Burton Race on Amazon - All the best chefs love France
John Burton Race spent a year living and being filmed in France, the program was called French Leave and the result was a book of the same name full of French food recipes.
Rumour has it here that he never did actually buy that van he was so proud of, allegedly he borrowed it from a local, hmmm not sure!!
A Great Place for Harricot VerteClick thumbnail to view full-size
Lac de St Ferreol - Right on the doorstep of Revel
Lac de St Ferreol, right on the doorstep of Revel
The nice thing about Revel is that while you are visiting the market you can easily collect the ingredients for a really good picnic. All you need is a lovely fresh French loaf, a bit of fois gras maybe, perhaps some Roquefort or a bit of Brie, a few tomato's and or some French onions, and then all you want is a venue.
Le Lac de St Ferreol is less than 10 minutes away and has some very nice woodland picnic places looking over the water alternatively you can just head down to the beach or sit on the rocks, anywhere that takes your fancy. Actually you don't even need your picnic, there are quite a few nice restaurants and cafes around the lake some of which look right across the water giving wonderful viewpoints.
It is also a place of historic interest for the region, find out more on Wikipedia
Another option to consider, particularly being at the gateway to La Montagne Noire and the national park, you can quickly find plenty of picnic places only a short drive from Revel. All you need to do is head out of Revel towards Soreze and Durfort and you will quickly pick up signposts to the mountains and a world of tranquility where you can lose the crowds and enjoy a little bit of quiet, you don't have to but it is a choice that's available to you.
Lac De St Ferreol Photographs - And A Great Place for a PicnicClick thumbnail to view full-size
French Food Markets - A European Lifestyle
Castelnaudary's not to shabby either - Castelnaudary, Market Town and Home of Cassoulet
Castelnaudary, which is another lovely little market town that sits on the Canal du Midi and is famous for it's cassoulet is even closer to us at Le Moulin, being only about 10 minutes away. Castelnaudary has it's market day on a Monday and I have to say it could be argued that it is equally as good a market as Revel, they are certainly similar in size and both extend their produce beyond the traditional food markets to include clothes, materials, plants and ready cooked food for immediate consumption or to take home for later.
If you buy Rick Stein's 'French Odyssey' there is a fantastic recipe for French onion soup with crusty French bread and cheese on top, plus amongst many other recipes there is also a Bull Fighters stew well worth a cooking session.
That came from the Camargue which is about 2 hours from us but is absolutely fabulous as Edina Monsoon would say, or was it Patsy. Rick floated past us down the Canal du Midi when he was making the BBC series of the same name as the book putting a few recipes together as went, not sure if it is gourmet food or not but it's pretty tasty.
Castelnaudary is also the capital of the Lauragais region which was an economic and strategic hotspot of enormous historical significance. The Story of the Lauragais has been detailed in several French History Books including a recent release from Hugh Nicklin as the second in his series following on from his History of Limoux. You can find the Kindle version of the book on Amazon using the link above.
Castelnaudary Food MarketClick thumbnail to view full-size
Another Famous Chef Loved the Cassoulet and Castelnaudary - Rick Steine's French Odyssey
We have Rick Steine's French Odyssey and it is a very good book, even the Cassoulet. But don't ask the locals what they think of him, 'a usurper who thought he could make a cassoulet as good as the best in the town on the first visit' might enter the conversation.
Well they have a point,it has been around for hundreds of years, but we used his recipe and it was very good.
A Food Market Culture
Britain used to have many superb food markets, do you think there should be a weekly one in every decent sized town like in France?
A Place to Stay in France - Languedoc Roussillon
You can visit A Place in France for more details about the property and to contact the owners.
Somewhere Nice to Stay Near Revel & Lac De St Ferreol
Things to Do and Places to See in France - Plus a few facts about France
- Activities and Things To Do In Languedoc Roussillon
There is always something to see or do in Languedoc Roussillon, these activities just scratch the surface.
- European Travel Advice
European Traveller offers general travel advice for Europe, including cheap flights to Europe, ferrys to France, rail travel and bus travel for Europe
- Castelnaudary France, For Cassoulet and Cathar History
Castelnaudary France, the capital of the Pays de Lauragais, sits on the Canal Du Midi and is located 40 minutes from Carcassonne and 20 minutes from Revel & the Lac De St Ferreol
French History Books - The Lauragais Story
Living so close to Castelnaudary, the capital of the Lauragais, this book really grabbed my attention. A chance to find out about and understand the history of the region, admittedly in English, where we live. It really is a chequered history, the region has had more than its fair share of heartache and misery, but has risen to be one of the most important parts of France. Toulouse is the centre of aerospace and the home of Airbus, but in days gone by it was wheat and woad that were the main generators of wealth in the region and where the funding for many chateaus was found.