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One of the best things about spending time in France is searching out all the little markets that are the hub of the local communities. We have a great choice of locally grown produce and speciality goods from the whole Roannais region.
On a Wednesday and Saturday morning one of the liveliest markets is in held in the centre of the medieval town of Charlieu.
About 15 to 20 minutes drive from our local hill villlage of Perreux, near Roanne in the Roannais, Charlieu boasts an ancient Benedictine Abbey that date back to 875AD with additions during the 10th and 11th centuries, including Gothic cloisters and chapel built during the 15th century.
You wander the streets with the old timber houses hanging over the shops below in typical 16th century fashion, and the shops, of course, sell everything from patisserie to books, and flowers to charcuterie.
The market is held in the main square, flanked on all sides by cafes, shops, and the beautiful 15th century church, dedicated to Saint Philbert.
Arrive early to make the most of the morning. You will find regional produce, fruit, vegetables, fabulous cheeses, and locally-reared, and prepared meats, and poultry.
If you care to rummage around you will find stalls selling, fabric, clothes, and jewellery, and several stalls selling bread that comes in all shapes, sizes, and varieties of flavour, from simple baguettes to vast chunks of rough country loaf that, from what I can gather, you can purchase either by weight or just large, chunky pieces.
When your basket is full you can sit and contemplate with the locals at one of the cafes, and if you shopped earlier enough then just down the Rue Jean Morel is one of the famous 'Pralus' patisserie and confectionery shops where you can purchase the best croissants to devour with your petit-café.
Also well worth a visit, if you can spare the time, is the Hospital Museum, with its ward and apothecary from a bygone age, and the silk museum that tells the history of Charlieu, and its part in the local weaving and silk industry, from the middle ages onwards.
Charlieu is a great place to visit for a 'taste' of the Roannais region. It has something of interest around each corner for everybody! Visit our 'Pure Escape Days' section on the www.purefrancenow website.