I realise that it has been nearly a year since we visited France but I’ve still got a fair bit didn’t get to share from our holiday. We came home and it was all rush for start of school and Lucas’ birthday that I became sidetracked. Before I knew it Autumn was upon us and somehow sharing all these sunny holiday photos didn’t seem right. However now the sun is shining I’m back to sharing a few of the things we loved about our France holiday, if nothing else just for an excuse to go back through the photos.
The Night Markets, or Marche du Nuit, were one of my favourites things about our holiday. The best thing about being away from home is that the routine goes out the window. This meant making the most of those lovely, light evenings and going out after tea to explore. While we were there my Mum shared with me this wonderful article about the French family life in the summer; how they let the children stay up late, they’ll go out to eat their tea at 9pm and sit outdoors together, chatting and playing games. It sounds idyllic and when you’re holidaying there with children it is. Family is such a big deal there and everyone makes the time to slow down and be together. It took me a while to get into this mindset, coming from somewhere that is all about the routine and rushing around, but once I embraced it we really made the most of our time there.
We visited a few Night Markets while we were over there – they are just what they sound like, a market at night (for some reason it always makes me think of the floating market in Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere but that’s by the by). The towns are fully pedestrianised and stalls line the streets with all sorts of crafts and art. You can buy pretty much anything there and they had plenty of tacky toys which my boys made a beeline for but don’t let that put you off. Everywhere is selling food and drink, there is always live music playing somewhere and people sit outside talking and laughing together. It feels like your eye is always drawn to something and it takes a few laps to get your bearings.
The first one we went to was in Rochechouart which is a small medieval town, like so many places in France it’s picture perfect and surrounded by history – we popped into the church which was beautiful and the chateau on the outskirts looked incredible. I believe it is also famous for having a meteorite land there and if you are ever there I’d recommend trying the ‘Meteorite’ bread from a boulangerie, I’m still thinking of it a year later.
I loved this one as the setting is so rustic but all the cobbled streets were full of people; it feels like everyone comes out for the night market and that they all know each other. The second one we tried was in Fouras where we were camping and it was massive – it sprawled across the whole town and the boys loved this one as it had a few carousels! As this one was bigger it didn’t have quite the same charm as Rochechouart but there was much more to see.
I would definitely recommend trying one out if you’re in France. There are signs for them up in the towns over summer and I think as they are pretty much guaranteed good weather they are a big event for everyone. Having been there with children they just loved all the hustle and bustle, the crepes and churros and a chance to dance out in the streets but I would have just been happy to sit with a drink in hand and watch the people.