'Bon retour' to the French MarketNow a regular entry on the city's annual event calendar, the popular French market will be returning to Winchester this Saturday and Sunday 3 & 4 September. On Saturday the French stallholders will lend an 'ambiance française' to the cathedral's Outer Close, while on Sunday a French-style boulevard will be recreated as the market moves to Middle Brook Street.
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 delights include merguez sausages and sandwiches, soupe de poisson and cassoulet. Those with a sweeter tooth can choose from honey, Belgian chocolates, confectionery, biscuits and Grand Marnier crêpes. Also on sale are household wares such as French-African art, jewellery, 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.
There will be a chance to win a free hamper bursting with produce donated by the traders in a free prize draw each day: 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 www.visitwinchester.co.uk website - just follow the link from the home page.
Following its spell in Winchester, the French market will be making a welcome return to Bishop's Waltham on Sunday 9 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 City Council's Portfolio Holder for Culture, Heritage and Sport, Cllr Thérèse Evans, said: "We are delighted that the French market is back again as it is so popular with our residents and visitors and the Cathedral Close is such a special setting. We are very grateful to the Dean and his colleagues for their support in planning this 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."