Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Braderie Review

First, before I tell you about the Braderie I would like to say "miss you" to my blog friend "Le Tigre" out there. I go to Munich for a week and you have taken your blog off line! Email me when you can, or post...we newbies have to stick together.

SO! The Braderie (which happened the first weekend of September) was great! I really do think that the estimated 2 million visitors came to the event. There was everything you could imagine...new things, old things, crazy things, fantastic local food vendors, and beer. Fantastic beer sold on the street in plastic cups so that you didn't break anything and could walk around while sipping. Here is our grand place with a few tents. It seemed that all the streets downtown were lined with vendors. There were miles of them...not exaggerating!

Here is my first picture that I thought was funny. People were crowded around this table and I just had to know why. What was such a great deal? Ah, yes. Converse...the crack cocaine of the French casual shoe world. They are friggin crazy expensive here. They thought this was a good price, I had to take a photo.

Back home Target sells them for $20-$30 a pair. As you can see, these are 70 euro, which converts to about $105 a pair. I should stock up on my next trip.

An then there are the moules, known as mussels in the US. The food item of the Braderie weekend is moules and frites. That is steamed mussels with a bowl of French fries on the side. Mmmmm...fantastic!! Many of the restaurants take the shells and pile them outside the restaurant to show how many they sell. There is a competition amongst the owners. Not sure who won, but this picture was taken on Sunday morning, they still had the rest of the day ahead of them!

Known fact: France is not exactly customer oriented.
Example: Our friend Crystal wanted just an order of fries. They would not sell them to her. She HAD to order moules with her fries. Think of this...they could have charged her more, she was willing to pay. There were three of us, after she had her conversation (she is French so she could tell them what she thought) we left and found a place that would attempt the very difficult task of separating the fries from the moules.

Here is some kind of pita with some kind of meat in it that I ate. I always have them put the samurai sauce on anything that I can. It's like a mayo based spicy reddish sauce. The first time I ordered it the man told me "It very spicy!" Cyr said; "she's from Texas, she can handle it." Oh yes, I can handle it. Really frites are just a vehicle that enables me to consume the samurai sauce.

Notice the little red fork? They love these, you get them with fries when you order from the baraque a frite (french fry sales guy on wheels, like a French mobile taco stand). So cultured, you don't get your hands dirty! Well, I do of course, but that's me...

I didn't find my bicycle, but I did find some cute gifts for folks and two great scarves that were 2 euro a piece. The weather was great Saturday but on Sunday it rained off an on. It didn't seem to bother many though, people were out in force again. One thing I love about the French is that they don't seem to get bothered much by the crowds. This picture was taken Saturday at what seemed like the busiest time. The streets were packed. Sometimes at certain areas you had to take baby steps and make it through a narrow passage until it thinned out. But not once did I hear someone yell "mooooove people!" in French. We all just packed in and ambled along. There was shoving, but not shouting or frustration. I guess everyone here is used to standing in lines and living with a million folks around them.

It was a great weekend. I hope next year we get TWO sunny days to enjoy it. Not all the streets are so crowded either. The best ones, with all the used junk, are in the back of the city and the sides. Easily walkable from the grand place and sure to have many hidden treasures. And of course great food and beer...


Justin said...

Ahhh so that is why there were a ton of people selling things in the streets in my town the other weekend. I am so clueless when it comes to yearly rituals like this in France. I took it for granted how I knew when all the cool things happened back in the states... here I really just get lucky if I stumble across something. Yes I know I can check the events calendar on my cities website, but really I just need to find a nice French girl to drag me around to everything ;-) (wish me luck on that last part, hehe)

As for street food... I am hooked on what they call "the american" here which is usually a pita jammed with French fries and sausage... I only wish that existed like that in the US!

LT said...

Hey, I'm still alive! I had to move though, due to stupidity on my behalf concerning email accounts..lol.

You can find me at http://frenchlanguagedamage.wordpress.com
but I haven't updated anything yet.

Susan in Lille said...

Justin - I have seen "The American" but have not yet ordered one for fear of a heart attack right on the street. But hey, the French seem healthy so why not!?

LT - Yeah!! Glad to hear from you!!