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Taste, smell and open wide your eyes at the markets

What better than the markets for combining the pleasures of touch, sight, smell, taste and sound? In northern Yonne, they are true gems offering everything you could want to satisfy the senses, often in stunning surroundings.


SENS MARKET BRINGS THE TOWN CENTRE TO LIFE

A covered market typical of the late 19th century

On the cathedral square – sorry, the Place de la République as it is called today - the covered market catches your eye and attracts your attention, particularly because of its metal architecture, which is typical of the late 19th century, and its unusual triangular shape. It was built by the entrepreneur Armand Moisant, Do you know which well-known Parisian buildings are owed to him? Cat got your tongue? Quite a few, actually! They include the Le Bon Marché department store and the Grand Palais.

In the Middle Ages, in place of the covered market you would have found a hôtel-Dieu (a hospital for the poor and needy). Today, market gardeners, butchers, fishmongers, cheesemakers and many other food artisans bring it to life with their fresh produce.

 

Les halles du marché couvert de Sens

Place de la République and the covered market, in Sens center © Office de Tourisme de Sens

An ordinary sight every week of the year!


Mondays are a big market day in Sens and a real attraction. On Fridays, if you get up early enough, you might bump into Patrick Gauthier, our local Michelin-starred chef, who likes to come here from 8 o'clock in the morning.


Halles du marché couvert de Sens

The lively alleys beneath the covered market © Pierre Pichon

 

On Wednesday and Saturday mornings, there are fewer market traders, but it is still perfect for soaking up the atmosphere. You can sneak onto the upper gallery, to capture the moment. The stained-glass windows fitted above each of the many entrances, during the last renovation in 2015 are particularly photogenic; drawing their inspiration from encyclopaedic illustrations in 19th-century dictionaries, they depict fruit and vegetables!


Intérieur du marché couvert de Sens

A colorful market! © Pierre Pichon


WHAT WE LOVE AT THE MARKET

Here is a little taste of what can be found at the Sénonais markets:

♥ Fresh produce : from baguettes and organic bread to superior quality poultry or watercress to aged cheeses. Some have a strong character, such as Saint-Florentin or Soumaintrain, local cheeses that are well-known to the people of the Sénonais… then there is the less typical, but nevertheless local Chaource cheese its appellation area stretching as far as Sens.

♥ Seasonal produce : at the beginning of summer, not to be missed are the locally grown strawberries and delicious Yonne cherries, while in autumn, apples from Othe Forest and squash of every colour provide us with all kinds of ideas.

♥ Specialities made with love and skill : the various stands of Sens market sometimes send us on a voyage... to Italy... or Asia... but Burgundy specialities are also to be found here, such as gougères (small cheese puffs), jambon persillé (parsley ham terrine), wines from the Yonne, ready-to-eat snails prepared by the snail farmer in Armeau, a town not far from Villeneuve-sur-Yonne, gingerbread and honey from the Yonne.

 

VILLENEUVE-SUR-YONNE MARKET IN PICTURES

Villeneuve-sur-Yonne's covered market is very similar to that of Sens. There’s nothing strange about that! It also dates from the late 19th century. The architect? Another well-known figure, Paul Sédille, architect of the "Le Printemps" department store in Paris. This is another fantastic market, with its rich colours and flavours, and bursts into life on Tuesdays and especially Friday mornings.


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