Bringing the best of France to the city

Forget the Channel Tunnel and flights to Paris - a little bit of the continent will be in Winchester this Friday and Saturday (1 & 2 October) as French stallholders bring an 'ambiance française' to the city, transforming the cathedral's Outer Close into a French-style boulevard.

Organised by Winchester City Council's tourism service, the French market offers a diverse range of traditional French and continental produce, including such tempting delights as fine cheeses, charcuterie and pâtisserie - follow your nose to the heart-warming smell of bread and pastries being baked fresh all day!

Buy from a delicious variety of olives, cider and wine, all of which can be sampled, not forgetting the wonderful strings of onions, shallots and garlic. Other delicious products include merguez sausages and sandwiches, soupe de poisson and cassoulet. Those with a sweeter tooth can choose from honey, Belgian chocolates, confectionery and Grand Marnier crêpes.

Also on sale are household wares such as French-African art, traditional dolls, earthenware, Provençal tablecloths, leather goods and crafts - the choice is yours. Or simply soak up the convivial atmosphere and practice your French with the friendly stallholders: a handy phrase book is available free to the first 500 visitors to the cheese stall.

Each day there will be a chance to win a free hamper bursting with produce donated by the traders in a free prize draw. Complete the coupon available from various outlets in the city centre, including the Tourist Information Centre and City Museum, and drop it in the box at the market. Entry forms are also available to download from the website - just follow the link on the home page.

Following its spell in Winchester, the French market will be making its first visit to Bishop's Waltham on Sunday 10 October, where it will take over the High Street and Cross Street and offer the same mouthwatering array of produce as well as the hamper draw.

Winchester Tourism's Special Events Officer, Elaine Robbins said: "We are delighted that the French market is so popular with residents and visitors and the Cathedral Close is such a special setting. We are grateful to the Dean and his colleagues for their support in planning the event."

French market coordinator, Bruno Girardeau, who has been bringing a taste of France to the UK for five years, added: "We try to visit a British town no more than twice a year to ensure it remains a novel experience. The response is fantastic; we feel so welcomed by the town and its people who clearly enjoy part of the continent coming to their region."