The Mayor of Winchester says "bienvenue" to Le Marché de France

Winchester Cathedral’s Outer Close will once again fill with the sights, sounds and smells of France this week as the city welcomes the return of the French market. Co-ordinated by Winchester City Council’s Tourism Service and the Winchester City Centre Partnership under the banner of the Winchester Christmas Festival, the market will see 23 genuine French traders from Le Marché de France selling their continental wares for three days from Thursday 27 to Saturday 29 November.

Cllr Jean Hammerton, the Mayor of Winchester, The Very Reverend Michael Till, Dean of Winchester Cathedral and Cllr Therese Evans, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services, will officially welcome the market to Winchester at a small reception on Thursday 27 November at 11am in the Outer Cathedral Close.

Bringing the best of France to the heart of Winchester, the market presents an ideal opportunity to stock up on all those Gallic essentials – from cheese, bread and garlic to charcuterie, olives and foie gras – without the need for a ferry crossing.

It’s also expected to appeal to Christmas shoppers seeking gifts with a certain je ne sais quoi and francophiles keen to sample this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau, just a week after its official release. There will be the chance to spend some of those remaining holiday coins too, as the traders will accept Euros as an alternative to Sterling. Just ask for the equivalent price.

One lucky shopper will walk away with a hamper brimming with traditional French produce kindly donated by the market traders for a free prize draw. Entry forms will be available from all stalls.

Winchester Tourism’s Special Events Officer Elaine Robbins said: "The first French market in April was a huge success, and we’re expecting this one to be even more popular as we enter the festive season. The Cathedral Close is a very special setting for the market and we are grateful to the Dean and his colleagues for their support in planning the event."

Cllr Evans added: "We are delighted to welcome the very popular Marché de France back to Winchester. It really brings a part of France into our city and, as well as bringing in all-important trade, it provides an opportunity for us to have an insight into the French culture of our neighbours from just across the Channel. We are now hoping to develop future markets which will involve schools and twinning associations."