Markets in and around Cordes sur Ciel
French markets are a delight for residents and visitors and Cordes sur Ciel and its surrounding towns offer excellent examples, brimming with fresh local produce and handicrafts. In Cordes sur Ciel itself, in addition to the weekly daytime market where the emphasis is on food, there is a night market in the summer months where local artisans come to offer their wares to discerning customers.
Speciality foods available in the morning markets include foie gras, L’Ail Rose de Lautrec (a sweet and subtly-flavoured pink garlic), vins de pays such as the distinctive whites, reds and rosés of Gaillac, and you will also find, depending on the season, local farmers’ stalls offering honey, goats’ cheese, eggs, poultry and fruit and vegetables raised just a stone’s throw away from the marketplace. In the winter months, highly-prized black truffles are on offer; they may be added to omelettes and pâtés and feature in a number of regional dishes.
Many of the stalls offer organic produce - known in France as “bio” - such as bread and cakes, fruit and vegetables, conserves, wines and meat. Organic farming is becoming increasingly widespread in the Midi-Pyrénées; certified goods bear the AB (Agriculture Biologique) mark and, to achieve the quality standard required, the farmer is not permitted use any agrochemicals and he must respect the well-being of his animals.
Other markets in the surrounding districts include Les Cabannes (1.5 km), Carmaux (23 km), Gaillac (24 km), St Antonin Noble Val (25 km), Albi (25 km), Graulhet (43 km), Réalmont (44 km) and Castres (66 km). The bigger markets such as St Antonin and Gaillac offer the widest range of goods, including clothing and household goods as well as internationally sourced products. In addition to the regular weekly market days, some towns now mount a separate market for organic producers only.
Not to be forgotten are the non-food Marché aux Puces (Flea Market), the Brocante (Second Hand goods) and the Vide-Greniers (literally, Empty Attics). Some Flea Markets take place on a regular basis and the stallholders are mostly professional dealers, but the Brocante and Vide-Greniers sales tend to be held only occasionally, although there are exceptions such as those held at Graulhet. Vide-Greniers normally attract private sellers who in the UK might attend a Car Boot Sale or in the US would hold a Yard Sale. Really big Vide-Greniers may attract hundreds of sellers and thousands of bargain hunters.