Ceret’s scenic Saturday markets are one of the highlights of a visit to the village – people come from far and wide to browse them – and as last weekend was the first time the place had really experienced fine spring weather, the whole place was simply buzzing.
We were warned that we would barely be able to get out of the front door of our apartment as the market stretched right along Boulevard Arago, and around the corner along Boulevards la Fayette and Jean Jaures, and indeed it was true.
With stalls set up under the beautiful tall plane trees that shade the street, it must be one of the loveliest settings of any market anywhere in the world – and we’ve seen a lot.
There was plenty of local and French produce on offer, local ladies were filling up their old-fashioned (but extremely popular) shopping carts with vegetables, cheese and preserved meats, including many items from Catalan, bearing the region’s red and yellow colours and flag.
The air was filled with the mouthwatering aromas of chickens being slow roasted in mountain herbs and the heady cheeses of the local producers.
By 11am things were starting to quieten down at the market and everyone in town appeared to be outside on the terrace of one of the bars or cafés, such as Bar El Pablo and Café de France, sipping coffee, downing beers, or imbibing red wine with snacks.
Shops and galleries that had been closed for most of the two weeks we’d been in town were suddenly open.
By noon everyone was looking for somewhere to lunch and our picturesque square, Place des Neuf-Jets, not particularly noted for the quality of the cuisine at its restaurants, had people lining up for a table in the sunshine.
Ceret had awoken from its winter slumber…