My Travel Blog

The Madhouse Market City of Louhans

Lisa’s brother Jerry and wife Arlene were back for the fifth time on Rabelo in four years. That’s a record for us.  I guess they like our floating home. They are some of our easiest guests, and we always enjoy having them. Of course we had to start off with a champagne welcome consisting of fine French cheeses, a baguette, pate, sausage and a bottle of champagne or two, or was it three?

Jerry and Arlene joining us on Rabelo.

Rabelo in a lock. Note how close we are to the lock wall, and we are just as close on the other side.

The next day we had a real treat in store for them.  We were going to the open market in Louhans.  Our new friends John and Sandra from Saint Jean de Losne had told us about this market, and said it was something special. It also happened to be Pentecost, which is a legal holiday in France, or I should say one of four holidays in May alone. Because it was Pentecost I was concerned that the market would be much smaller than usual, but in fact it was much larger.

We were driving down a two lane country road and the traffic started to get heavier and heavier.  Eventually we came to a complete stop, but we were still two kilometers from Louhans. I noticed that some of the people had parked, and were walking.  That’s when I made an executive decision, and pulled into the first open spot I could find. We had to walkabout a mile, but it was a good thing I parked when I did. The city, or should I say village was a mad house. I couldn’t believe how many people had inundated the place.

The market was packed.

How about a giant slice of bread?

Do you like olives, garlic, or sun dried tomatoes?

Louhans is fairly unremarkable so far as French villages go. The church had a glazed tile Burgundian roof, there were plenty of narrow roads and alleyways, and I suspect most of the homes and buildings date back to medieval times, in other words a typical Burgundy village. But what Louhans lacked in character it made up for with it’s over the top open market.

Most French villages of any size have at least one open market per week. The market might take up the village square or one or two streets, but that’s about it. After awhile they all look pretty much the same.  In fact the same vendors travel between each market in a given region, so you start to recognize them, and on occasion they recognize you. Louhans is different, as they turn the entire village into one giant market. Of course they have all the fresh fruits, vegetables, breads, meats, poultry and fish, but what makes Louhans different is that some of their products are really fresh, as in alive.  That’s right.  If you were looking for a live chicken, or goose, or maybe even a rabbit to cook up for dinner they had it.  They also had pigs, goats and ducks.  They even had a few horses.  I know the French still eat horse, but I don’t think the horses they had in Louhans were for eating, but then you never know.

I know what’s for dinner tonight.

Goats, sheep and horses.

The original duck McNugget.

Fortunately the French do not eat dog. However these guys were for sale as pets!

-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave”  and “When Stones Speak”– 
Chuck Palmer Adventure novels


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.