On Sunday, everything in France is closed. Your Sunday entertainment options are limited to sitting at a café, going for a walk, or doing some open-air market shopping. My roommate and I headed to the market. Our fridge was empty, we were expecting a dinner guest, and the grocery stores were closed.
Every market I've been to in France feels the same. It's way more cramped and hectic than a farmer's market. Not only can you buy fresh produce, but also underwear, mousetraps, and freshly slaughtered meat, among other things.
As we were walking there, my roommate spotted the most stereotypical French couple either of us have ever seen. They were wearing only black and looked like models. Very trendy market shoppers. As if it were more a matter of being seen looking good rather than a matter of buying some meat, underwear and mousetraps. I, on the other hand, had just taken a shower, and went out with wet hair. I think this is considered blasphemous to the French. They always look good in their trendy black garb, their makeup and their hair parfait.
As my roommate and I decided what to cook, it started pouring. This is seriously so Parisian. It flipping always rains here. Paris has nothing better to do than to dumb grey icky rainy weather on people all the time. Neither of us had an umbrella, so we were in trouble. The market was almost closing, so we pushed on. Meanwhile, we saw the chic French couple from before, but in a panic. The woman had lifted her shawl-coat-trendy-thing over her head to protect her hair.
We got some veggies and waited in line to buy some meat. An old French dude selling wine tried to convince us to buy some to add to the soup we were making. We told him we aren't making soup, we are making Chinese tonight. He got offended. The French are really serious about their cuisine. He rambled a bit about that, then invited us to come to his château (castle) to work the welcome desk. We can live there, he says. A bit creepy, but harmless. The meat counter where we were waiting was already closed, so we tried to find another.
We finally did find someone still selling chicken. The meat woman hated us. She was mad that we were buying so little chicken. She wanted us to buy the whole tray, which was probably 10 or 15 pounds. At first we say we'll take two pieces, but realize that is too much, so ask for just one. She was pissed. She dramatically grabbed one piece of chicken with her bare hand and whipped it back into the case. Customer service nonexistant. So French.
The whole Sunday was French. The market, the blackly dressed couple, the rain, the old rambling man, the mean meat lady. I felt like I got a really good culture day in.