Back to the Market: Les Halles de Nîmes

Olives, tapenade and brandade de Nîmes

Les Halles de Nîmes. Ley Al. Not Leyzal. No liaison, my French teacher reminds me. Where we provision the kitchen.

Sometimes I go with a shopping list, intent on ingredients for soupe au pistou, or ratatouille, or pasta con le sarde. More often I go with an idea — barbeque or fish. Sometimes the day of the week is a factor in what I buy. The market is poor only on Monday, with many stalls closed. Since fisherman don’t take their boats out on Sunday, we don’t buy fish until Tuesday. I have the most fun, however, when I go without a list and wander around scanning for what looks best. Meanwhile Antony parks himself at the café.

The café

Funnily enough, Sunday is a great day for shopping, with the stalls bursting with produce, alluring displays of prepared foods, and glass cases filled with fresh meat or cheese. Over the last few years we have seen the growing gentrification of Les Halles de Nîmes. This year there are new stands selling filled pasta (figs with Parma ham was a great success), Spanish hams and charcuterie, as well as fresh empañadas (chorizo, tuna, meat), lovely desserts including assortments of macaroons. More organic (bio, pronouced b.o.) vegetables, fruits and meat are on offer than ever before.

The rice man of Les Halles

On one of our last trips, as I was buying dried beans and rice to bring back to Cairo, I stood transfixed in front of the fishmonger’s. The razor clams (couteaux) were fresh, fat and completely alluring; I bought a dozen for lunch. I sautéed garlic in olive oil, added the clams, then doused with a bit of white wine and parsley. They were delicious, tender and sweet with the hint of the sea.

Razors in the pan

Razor clams for lunch

Here are pictures of some of our favorite stalls at Les Halles:

Olives

Octopus

Onions and a potato rainbow

The brochette de canard (duck kebabs) are excellent

Fancy delicacies

Candied fruits

Spanish ingredients

The new pasta man, just arrived from Torino

The bounty of the south of France

Crustacés et Coquillages

Five or more varieties of tomatoes -- all packed with flavor

Ready-whipped cream -- and flan and fresh cheese

And to finish, le fromage

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About Cleopatraknows

I was living and working in Cairo. Now in New York City, which is another city that never sleeps.
This entry was posted in France, Shopping, Sustenance. Bookmark the permalink.

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