The Croix-Rousse Market


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The Croix-Rousse Market... Or FREE groceries!

Translated by Kate Norman — 2 years ago

Original text by Nuri Mercury

Market's are something very characteristic of France. They are different from those in Mexico because they are only available on certain days and at certain times. Let's say they're more like our "tianguis" (street markets).

The Croix-Rousse Market... Or FREE groceries!

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Being a big city, Lyon has several markets throughout the week (in smaller cities, there is only a market once a week, usually on Sundays). There are some that are only fruits and vegetables and others where you can also find clothes and others dedicated mainly to crafts.

One of the most characteristic markets in Lyon is the Croix-Rousse hill market. It is characteristic for two reasons: one for its location in the neighbourhood of the same name (which is considered the Bohemian area of the city) and another for the amount of merchants that there are. On weekends, there are up to one hundred of them.

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View of one of the hill-top views form the Croix-Rousse.

By the way, from the top of this hill, you have a very beautiful panoramic view of the city. In Lyon there are two hills: Fourvière (where the cathedral of the same name is located) and Croix-Rousse. Each one is respectively called "la colline qui prie" (the hill that prays) and "la colline qui travaille" (the hill that works). Why? For Fourvière it is easy to find out, because that is where the main church of the city is located as well as a large number of temples and convents. For the Croix-Rousse, the explanation is that this is where the silk workshops are located - the ones that gave Lyon its fame since the beginning of the 19th century, in terms of the production of this cloth (remember that Lyon, in addition to being known as the gastronomic capital of the world, is also known as the capital of silk).

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A mural you can find in this part of the city. Art in the city.

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Panoramic view of the city.

As for the market, here you will find stalls mainly filled with fruits, vegetables, meat, cheeses and flowers. It is the perfect trip for a Sunday morning. Strolling through the stalls, observing what each merchant has to offer, the colourful market makes it worth getting up early. You can only find it from Tuesday to Sunday from 6am until 1pm (Friday to Sunday until 1:30pm).

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Cheese... Colourful cheeses! To get these colours, they add natural ingredients such as tomato, for example.

Now, you may ask, what do you mean, free pantry? Well, here in France they have a bad habit of wasting food. And in the market, it's no exception. We can attribute it to the fact that the French are more (much more, perhaps) fussy and if the vegetable no longer look "pretty", then they don't buy it even if it can be eaten without any problem! The merchants leave behind the products which they know won't sell because they are already beginning to spoil or because they are already ripe.

The Croix-Rousse Market... Or FREE groceries!

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But the big advantage is that if you go at the end of the market, from 1pm, you can get the fruits and vegetables that the traders leave behind. Some may say "What?! Me, a scavenger!? ", but the truth is that there are several people who do it, in fact the person who told me about this was a French friend. And don't think you have to settle for mouldy products, either. As I said, they leave the fruits and vegetables that are already ripe and have to be consumed quickly. It's just a matter of making the right choice. So they kill two birds with one stone: they have a free pantry and help to avoid food waste (you know how much food is wasted in the world today! ).

The Croix-Rousse Market... Or FREE groceries!

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Also, don't think that they're going to see you as vagabonds or beggars. No, in fact, it is something that is commonly done here in the markets of France. There are some traders who even come over to you themselves and offer what they intend to leave behind. Most of them are very nice, we haven't had any problems with them and there are even some who have recognised me and my friend. I go very often, but there have been some weeks when I haven't been able to go so when I come back, they say: "Ahhh, I didn't see you anymore, you didn't come anymore".

As for what you can get, it's a bit like Emmaüs (read my article about it): it's a surprise, because you don't know what you will be able to find!

If you still think that this practice is dubious, then perhaps the photos of what I have recovered will convince you:

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Here's my first one: tomatoes, pumpkin, eggplant, strawberries, apples, kiwis, onions, parsley, avocado, chili and carrots (ignore the wires and that).

If you do the maths of how much it would cost to buy all those fruits and vegetables... The avocado is for example 70 cents for only THE PIECE, or the kiwi, it's the same as they sell it by piece. And we can continue with the prices of each thing.

Oh by the way, two weeks ago we were lucky enough to pick up... watermelon! Here in France, fruit is expensive, especially tropical fruit. That's because they're obviously not grown or harvested here. In Mexico we are very lucky for all the variety of fruit available to us throughout the year, but as here in France there are several that have to be imported... As you can understand, that means the price goes up. But come on, thanks to the Croix-Rousse market, I've been able to enjoy kiwi, apple (green, my favourite! ), even lychees! The time we found lychees, we found a whole carton and it lasted about a week and I couldn't finish it all by myself.

The Croix-Rousse Market... Or FREE groceries!

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Not to mention all the delicious things you can prepare with whatever you recover. I leave you one last argument to encourage you: the money you save can be used for travelling!

Well, whether you're going to walk around the stalls to browse, go shopping or get your fruit and vegetables, the Croix-Rousse market is another visit you have to make in Lyon.

Bon marché!

The Croix-Rousse Market... Or FREE groceries!

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