Whenever I travel to France I normally take my car because I know that I will come back home laden with wonderful things I find during my trip. This includes lots of souvenirs and a few nice things to eat and drink. It goes without saying that the markets all over France are delightful places to go and do some shopping. I have found that the indoor market in the port of Le Havre is one of the best on the northern coast of France and I really do love spending a couple of hours, at least, here when I first arrive.
The great thing about taking the ferry to Le Havre is that it is an overnight crossing, so you arrive nice and early in the morning. This gives you plenty of time to get all the shopping you need before continuing your trip to whichever destination you are bound for.
The indoor market has a superb selection of seafood as well as many other traditional French produce. It is however, the vast array of shellfish and fresh fish so exquisitely displayed that always attracts my eye first. I just love to see it all beautifully arranged on beds of crushed ice. Oysters, clams, lobster, crab, shrimp and langoustines as well as monkfish, sole to name but a few, makes it such an attractive display.
There are some fabulous cheese stalls within the market as well. I particularly like the cheeses from Northern France and usually come away with a dozen or so of some of the finest that are on offer. Brillat-Savarin is one of my favourites, this rich, soft and creamy cheese is just too good with hot crusty bread. Another cheese which I am particularly fond of is Saint-Paulin but I also like Pont-l’Évêque.
The meat stalls too have some of the very best produce to be found including wonderful lamb and beef which is locally produced. The lush lands and the way these animals are kept means that the meat is top quality. I am always given a shopping list by friends who live in France for different meats they would like me to bring down to them, so I always carry a couple of cold boxes with me in the car.
There is something about the vegetables that are for sale in this lovely indoor market that makes them look so irresistibly good and I can never leave without buying the seasonal ones like artichokes or endives. As for the long strings of gorgeous garlic, smoked or natural, I have to buy at least 2 of these every time I am at the market.
When I go over to France it is usually to visit friends and I love to take lots of things to eat with me so that when we are there we can truly have a feast or two. Le Marché du Havre is for me a little shopping paradise, where I can spend a couple of hours indulging myself with the marvellous produce that is found here.