I’m generally a morning person, but it was particularly hard that Saturday morning to get off the warm and comfy bed after the alarm went off, especially after a previously late night chatting with new friends and snacking on fresh vegetables with delicious homemade hummus. But we couldn’t be lazy, not that morning, not after having promised Camille and Manuel, our cool Couchsurfing hosts that were taking care of us whilst in Rennes, that we would go to the local market altogether to pick up our breakfast and feast on delicious French food.
The idea of having some freshly made French style breakfast, a nice steamy coffee and a market to explore helped me to slowly wake up and get Dale to follow me too (that was slightly more challenging than get myself out of bed, but eventually I succeeded).
We don’t need a lot to be persuaded to go to a market because we LOVE markets, especially the local ones which are usually the places we try not to miss whilst in a new city. Walking around the lovely streets of Rennes we had the impression that we had stopped in a town that wasn’t that touristic , which we didn’t mind at all – and Camille and Manuel confirmed that Rennes isn’t mention on tourist guides that often. They did say however that if there was one thing not to be missed in Rennes then it was the Marché des Lices market that fortunately was going to be there on the Saturday we were in town. In fact it takes place every week in the stunning setting of Rennes’ old town, surrounded by the amazing aged timber-framed buildings which become my new obsession whilst there.
An Overwhelming Experience for the Senses
All four of us equipped with our necessary sunglasses to cover our zombie-like faces, made our way to the market strolling across the park and the old town full of student bars where we could still smell the drinking activities from the night before. Eventually we reached the square where the market takes place. It was so incredibly alive, bustling with people busy trying to get the best deals going from one vendor to the other, tasting the fruit on sale to make sure it was of a good quality. I suddenly was assaulted by a mixture of smells, by the noise of people chatting and laughing whilst doing their weekly food shopping, by the shouts of the vendors trying to sell their goods.
So many colours were flashing into my still sleepy eyes, so many goodies I could easily buy, everything looked so fresh that I really needed a bit of self control not to end up spending our entire Rennes’ budget in only one hour. All my senses woke up and I felt like it heaven.
According to our Couchsurfing hosts, Marché des Lices is one of the largest markets not only in Brittany, but in the entirety of France too. In fact there were hundreds of stalls with flowers and food. We didn’t pay too much attention to the flowers no matter how beautiful they looked, for us it was all about the food! The food area is organized depending on the items sold. The fish and meat areas weren’t to our interest as you can probably guess, but the fruit, vegetables and bakery sections were stunning. I can still recall the smell of that gorgeous looking bread.
The vendors are mainly producers themselves and the quality of the food on sale was superb. We were invited a few times to taste their products and each time they didn’t disappoint. My favourite part of the market was the bread section where we stopped to pick up some typical sweet treats from Rennes to have for breakfast. I was always the one left behind the rest of the group, carefully looking at the market stalls, taking photos and sampling the food too, how could I refuse it?
There was everything you could possibly want or need, many of the typical French delicatessen too from cheeses, to the famous galette saucisse which we didn’t have because it definitely isn’t vegetarian, to the locally made cider or beer and the typical French bakery too. I was in heaven, literally! If you go one day, keep an eye open for the dry fruit and olives corners, another two of my favourites.
Our last stop before gorging with our just picked up breakfast was the coffee stall were Manuel picked his weekly ration of freshly grounded coffee. The smell of the coffee beans being ground in front of our eyes and noses was simply extraordinary and it distracted me from listening to a street musician that was keeping everyone’s soul happy with his French style tunes.
We are so glad we DID get out of bed that morning, the market was one of the best we’ve ever seen with an incredible atmosphere, full of locals, and the breakfast was something special too! Thanks Camille and Manuel for the hint! 🙂