Thursday, June 12, 2014

Jour 2 Lyon: Marché Saint Antoine

We had one full day in Lyon and we packed it full of goodies so I'm going to split up the sights into a few different posts. Today's post is all about Marché Saint Antoine and it might be my favorite bit of the whole trip. I mean, okay, we saw a lot of different amazing things but this was my first experience at a genuine French market and the memory is just burned into my brain. The colors, the smells, the haggling, the free samples, the hustle, the bustle, every inch of that market was superb. This is an incredibly photo-heavy post. You've been warned!
The closest I've ever been to this sort of market experience is probably the Farmer's Market in Ithaca. It's a ton of fun and had I been travel blogging back in college, it certainly would have deserved an extensive post. Marché Saint Antoine is so much better because it's open all year and every day of the week except Monday. Can't you just imagine living in this adorable town, waking up and heading to the market to pick up the freshest ingredients for the day's meals? That's my fantasy life.


I've got to mention that getting ourselves on the Metro that morning was a bit of a production. Apparently, the ticket machines (billetterie) do not accept bills and since our American credit cards don't have that special chip, we couldn't even use plastic. So, we had to head back to our hotel to ask the lovely staff to please exchange €25 to coins. There are no €1 and €2 bills; those denominations are coins, so it wasn't as crazy as asking an American to please exchange $25 into quarters but it was still annoying, I'm sure.
It felt like we were walking on clouds when we finally managed to grab our tickets. We purchased the 1-jour (one day) passes which were €5.20 each. Single ride tickets are €1.70 so if you take a metro, tram, or bus (tickets are good on all three) more than 3 times, it's totally worth it.
We hopped on the Metro from Gare Part-Dieu to Bellecour and walked a few blocks to the market.

On Rue Emile Zola, we encountered these two cuties and I had to scoop my melted heart off the ground before we could get on our way.
We couldn't resist posing by this little fountain either. It's got mermaids, which are my favorite mythical creature. Fountains in Europe are so classy.
The tourists sitting on them are maybe not-so-classy.
After all that dilly-dallying, we made it to the market. It was a gorgeous day, if you couldn't tell by the blue sky shining in the photos. We got so lucky with the weather everywhere we went. You'll see that as I share more and more of this trip. I like to thank Jesus for that, but that's just me.
The vibrant colors of the produce is probably what will catch your eye first.
I took this photo of these radishes and it's probably the prettiest photo I've ever taken and it's my favorite. I feel like it will always be my favorite. First of all, I love radishes. You can't be Korean and not like radishes, as it's a pretty predominant ingredient in kimchi. I mean, not this type of radish, but still. Secondly, these cutie French radishes are pink and white. Pink! Not red! Lastly, that one dangling radish on the bottom left of the photo is friggin' cute.
Okay, so since this post is so photo heavy, I have to insert a jump in here. I just have to, otherwise my homepage will take ages to load. So, if those radishes have enticed you enough, click to read more!

Have dangling sausages and cheese balls ever looked cuter? Ha.
The white asparagus back home never have adorably lilac tips.
Have you ever seen red strawberries like this? I mean, red straight to the stem, no white spots whatsoever. All of the berries at the market looked like this; perfectly red, perfectly ripe, perfectly delicious.
How about red-ripe tomatoes hanging sweetly on the vine like the yummiest jingle bells?
And several varieties of honey in three different sizes: perfect for papa, mama, and baby bears.
Avert your eyes, vegetarians and vegans!
We took a lap around the market and we just got hungrier and hungrier with every stall we passed. We bought a big tub of strawberries and scarfed them down. They were like sweet pieces of candy! Like I mentioned before, these berries were all perfectly ripe and red all over. There were no bruised berries or any past their prime; each one was perfect. It's as if cute little farmers handpicked and hand-packed all of these and you know what? I wouldn't be surprised to find out that that's exactly how I ended up with that amazing berry in my hand and eventually in my tummy. P.S. Doesn't my cousin look so cute holding those berries? She's the best.
As (wo)man cannot live on strawberries alone, we also hit up this bakery stall for some croissants. Baby sister claims to hate croissants, which we both blame on her experience with Costco croissants. But she eagerly asked for a croissant and shoveled it into her mouth even eagerlier more eagerly.
French croissants are incredibly crisp on the outside, soft and flaky on the inside, and they're dripping with really delicious butter. Oh, and when you order then, you'll pronounce it "kwah-sohn" not "cruh-sahnt," you silly American.
That's it! I'm saving my next tin can to store my fresh basil.
Every time I passed a rotisserie chicken, I started drooling. The thing is, it's not that easy to eat a rotisserie chicken while you're walking around so we never did get one. Shame.
I'm not an olive person, but these tapenades smelled like Mediterranean heaven.
We were in France in the thick of peony season. Peonies are my favorite, so I was crying and whining about how I wished I had use for a bouquet.
Ah, and you can't pass by a stand of perfect looking macarons without grabbing a few, right? Especially when they're only €0.80 a piece. Sorry Ladurée, but these were pretty frickin' amazing and the price added a ton of sweetness. As you can see, the sweet little lady at this booth was also selling savory macarons! Foie gras, tapenade, tomato confit, and bleu cheese hazelnut - interesting but not up my alley.
We settled on a chocolate, Nutella, caramel, and fig. Baby sister was freaking out about the fig (or figue, in French). She loves figs and couldn't have been more excited. Luckily, that figue macaron did not disappoint. The texture was divine and the fig flavor shone through like a comet.
Here's a close up of the bitten-into figue macaron. I have dreams about this babe.
Olive lovers, here's some fantastic olive food porn for y'all. I didn't know that there were more than just two types of olives. The olive bar at home has green and black and that's it. Here, we've got purple ones and cheesy ones and spiced ones.
Ah, crusty bread. You can't find delicious bread like this anywhere but France.
Ah, and true to American form, we were drawn to the free samples like, well, Americans to a free sample. Sorry, what a lazy analogy. How about like a bear to honey or some other cliched analogy.
Was that heavy enough of a photo diary for ya? Marché Saint Antoine is definitely enough of a reason to visit Lyon.
xoxo.

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