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Sunday Marché

DISCOVERING THE VILLAGE MARKETS OF THE DORDOGNE

In Rouffignac-Saint-Cernin-de-Reilhac, we visit the village’s famed Sunday market. Each village in the Dordogne has its own “marché,” held on a different day of the week. The larger towns, like Sarlat and Périgueux, hold biweekly markets, usually on Wednesdays and weekends.

Other nearby attractions in Rouffignac are the Grotte de Rouffignac, an enormous network of tri-level caves housing over 250 Prehistoric paintings and engravings, and Château de l’Herm, a 16th century dilapidated castle in the Barade Forest.

We wander through the aisles of the Rouffignac market, browsing booths where locals sell charcuterie, fromage, vegetables, baguettes, desserts, wine, flowers, and prepared foods. The Dordogne is particularly well known for their geese and duck products, like foie gras. A man sells oysters and the perfect white wine for pairing. Buckets of pansies blanket the floor of the flower seller’s booth. Jewel-toned kale, dusky root vegetables, and pearlescent fruits glimmer in the morning sun.

We stop to chat with boulanger Jean-Robert, whose booth, Les Pains de la Pastourelle, is brimming with “levain naturel” (sourdough bread) and “agriculture biologique” (organic farming). Jean-Robert tells us he left an office job in 2009 in order to do something with his hands, and in service to people.

Jean-Robert tells us he left an office job in 2009 in order to do something with his hands, and in service to people.

As our brief chat with Jean-Robert ends, we purchase some bread for dinner and some snacks to enjoy now. Jean-Robert wraps the baguettes in white paper bags. Inspired by the medieval castles of the Dordogne, we decide to buy a bagful of medieval cookies, called “gateaux de la joie,” made of spelt flour and following a recipe by 12th century mystic Hildegard de Bingen.

We bite into the cookies, spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves—meant, according to Hildegard de Bingen, to increase joy and positivity. It might not be the cookies, per se, but we definitely feel something like happiness, and something like history, with every bite.