Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Panier du Marche

I can blame it on cultural, ancestral tides and forces. It was not an impulsive purchase, but I really could have avoided it, with a little humility and a little search for simplicity. But I didn't. I really shouldn't have, but I had to have my own. For the past two and a half weeks, I have been grocery shopping and to the market with a big, ugly green plastic bag. It has a zipper, it was very kind of my mother-in-law to loan it to me, but everyone else has a basket, a market-day basket. I wanted a basket. They take them shopping everywhere, because grocery stores no longer give out bags here. And I used to have one too, but the bottom finally fell out of the darn thing. It was hand-made, it was beautiful, it served me well for fifteen years: it's time has passed.

I've been looking at baskets here and there, all the while telling myself I was just window-shopping, not for-real shopping. I settled on a shop, without really realizing it, that sells mostly baskets. They have a lot of baskets, lined, unlined, colored, basic, so many more choices than when I bought mine from a man making them on a corner of the marketplace years ago. The shop ended up being a good choice. It is located just before the market and the owner recognized us by the resemblance my Arthur shared with his grandfather. (OK, the accent probably helped too, I'll admit.)

It is beautiful. It is a blue and natural weave, it is big, it has a lining that comes up to cover everything so you don't loose things on the way home. It is the best basket I've ever had (all three of them). There is a tiny pocket inside for a change purse or list and a key chain holder. The handle is leather and the whole thing looks like it should last forever. I'll post a picture of it as soon as I can. I am sure my fish, stinky cheese, apples, olives and bread will be much happier this way, I'll have to remember to ask them.


  1. OH! your basket sounds just wonderful!!! Please post a picture soon, although I am sure it will give me a bad case of basket envy! When we lived in Guatemala and I walked to the market for our food every day, I too had a lovely handwoven basket. Alas! I left it in Guatemala when we moved to the USA. What was I thinking???!!! I still mourn the loss of that wonderful market basket.

  2. Ah, baskets are hard to move. I think mine suffered in the move and that is what caused the beginning of its demise. It has been out of service for a couple of years and I have missed the feeling of a basket on my arm at the market.

    Guatemala must have been a magical place to live. I have friends who have spent time there, as a married partner or as sort of missionaries. They love it and despair at the same time. Sounds like France, but for much different reasons! Why don't you write about your life there, or have you already?

  3. Gorgeous! I don't blame you for taking the plunge and you got years of use out of your other one. Good for the French for not giving out bags anymore! We need to take a page from their book, for sure! Can't wait to see it full of those delicious goodies!

  4. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Jen. I like your take on viewing this as an ecologically friendly move. It's a GREEN blue basket.


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