Corinne says goat cheese is best in spring. Spring, when the most paresseux(se) of us emerge from hibernation, retaking the terraces for l’apéro and long lunches of fresh fish and goat cheese tarts and picnics in the park.
Pollen permeates the air – only being stifled every two weeks when it rains and washes it up in chalk-like swirls on the sidewalks. Even I, who never suffers from allergies, cannot be saved from the constant sneezing and seemingly permanent itchy throat. Though, I suppose, a rosé will be a nice cure for that.
There are opera singers at the market today, mixing their songs with the usual bustling sounds of the market. “C’est chouette!” a market vendor exclaims to a customer. She seems to know everyone, except me. The vendor I know and awkwardly see throughout the city must be on vacation. The woman hands me a bundle of chives with purple flowers on the end and bunches of spring onions with dirt still on the roots. That’s how you can tell a good market booth: the dirt means it’s fresh. At least that’s my theory. It’s only a few centimes; she gives me the parsley for free. (This is usual. They give out parsley at the market as if it were a garden weed.)
Tourists wander through the produce with big cameras as locals struggle to push through with their carts even though it is still only Tuesday – the real crowds won’t come until the weekend. Locals still wear winter coats, despite the steadily increasing temperature and quickly blossoming flowers. I laugh at them but when the Mistral comes I wish I had mine too.
The singers are now walking through the market, belting “meeeeerci beaucouuuuuup,” knowing that they have captivated the whole market with their impromptu performance. I often wish of having any musical talent – I would just sit at a market in France and sing or strum or fiddle, desperately hoping the tourists appreciate their free concert. Instead, here I sit in the café – my favorite and most frequented – slowly drowning in piles of sniffles and pollen. The allergies may be le pire, but at least the goat cheese is good. ♦