When I heard someone say that on a recent visit to Rouen one sunday morning, they had finally found sustanance in the local Macdonalds, I nearly sat down and wept!
Had they only known to turn left out of their hotel door and not to the right, they would have found ‘le monde’ in all its colour and vivacity, the air full of aromas and scents and the hubub of the masses going about their business at the big sunday market at Place St Marc.
I stopped a few people to ask where would be the best place for ‘petit dejeuner’, and they looked about smiling at the surrounding crowds- well you do what the French do of course.
…park your bike and find a seat in a local cafe, if indeed a seat can be found!
…have a strong coffee and muse over the ‘marché’ on the other side of the street. Many cafés are right next door to a patisserie, and most will provide a croissant or two when asked!
Then get down to business: the real french business of ‘petit dejeuner’ – which of course literally translates as ‘little lunch’…
A fresh crèpe would be a lovely start – nutella, citron sucré, confiture…
…then there are little morceaux of home made ‘Pain d’Epîces’, a local honey producer’s spicy honey cake to try.. and maybe a pot of honey to take home…
a few strawberries would be nice..
..or an apple or two. But being Normandy, with over 13 varieties of apples on display it becomes a difficult choice. More than likely, I will be sweet-talked by the producer, and will wander away with several bottles of locally produced cider!
..before I know it I am sampling the cheese..
The cured salami and olives are delicious..
…and I am impressed by the queue for locally grown cress and mushrooms. It must be good!
There is Neufchatel cheese, formed in the shape of hearts and traditionally given to the allied soldiers by the Normandy dairymaids. Little morsels are on the counter to sample!
… perhaps a spicy paella?
Appetite appeased, it’s time to wander through the brocante at the far side of the market..
I can’t resist the flowers
But wait – If a strong cup of coffee and sampling all the produce at the market don’t constitute a fully satisfying breakfast, why not try either of these…
Appreciate the interior of this great café, dedicated to discussion and the meeting of ‘minds’. One might expect to meet the great thinkers of the ‘Belle Epoque’. Open every sunday morning from 10-2, the owner serves food on weekdays, but is open to clients selecting their vienoisserie from the Boulangerie next door to enjoy with their coffee on a sunday morning.
..or if a formal breakfast is in mind – Try the Couleur Café on rue Eau de Robec where for 5€ an immense ‘petit dejeuner’ can be ordered with the most incredible selection of teas and coffees and vienoisserie.
Now there’s just time to drop the flowers, cider and ‘finds’ from the brocante off at the hotel before going to visit the…
Musée de Beaux Arts
…or the Musée de Ceramiques,
both open for free the first sunday of every month.
or perhaps the Jardin de Plantes,
for a game of petanque,
or perhaps just a stroll along the Seine before dinner.