Every village and town in the Touraine Loire Valley has a weekly market. Often they are very small, just a few stalls selling the basics. Locally grown fruit and vegetables, a local butcher, an oyster farmer up from the coast and a local goats cheese producer would be a typical mix.
Some of the markets are much more extensive and lively though. We have a particular fondness for Loches market and often encourage clients to include it in their itinerary. It has 220 vendors who come on Wednesdays and Saturdays (that's 34 stalls for every 1000 persons in Loches!). It is the second most important market in the area. It is big enough to offer plenty of choice, but not so big as to be overwhelming. The streets in the old centre of town are pedestrianised on market day and the local population all turns out to support it. Markets like this depend on the resident population, and almost every household will purchase certain items from the market. It is a great chance to chat to friends and find out more about your food, directly from the producers.
We've written about Loches market a number of times on our daily blog, Days on the Claise. In 'The Offal Butcher' and 'The Tarte Tatin Man' we wrote about specific stalls. In 'Local Green Asparagus!' we wrote about how pleased we were that a local asparagus producer now sells green asparagus at Loches market, when previously it had been more or less unobtainable (the local taste is for white asparagus). In 'Blessed are the Cheesemakers' we included a section on the various cheese stalls in Loches market. In 'The Last Market Day Before Christmas' we describe going to Loches market just before Christmas. In 'On the Road Again' we wrote about house hunting and the part Loches market played in our choice to live where we do.
If you would like to experience a typical French morning at the market, email us and ask us to plan an itinerary for you that includes Loches market. We will be delighted to share it with you!