Why the Lices market remains so special

It is considered the second largest food market in France without really knowing which is the first. But ultimately it doesn’t matter where it ranks. Along with those of Aligre in Paris, Wazemmes in Lille or Capucins in Bordeaux, the Lices market in Rennes is indeed one of the best-stocked pantries in France. Every Saturday morning, thousands of regulars or curious crowd in its aisles to fill their baskets with good products.

Once the shopping is over, tradition dictates that we then go and have a sausage galette on the go before continuing with an aperitif on the terrace. On the occasion of the 400th anniversary of this veritable Rennes institution, our readers told us what the Lices market meant to them. So many gourmet testimonials but also for certain acids.

“A Proust madeleine” for expatriates

For Tom, the trip to Les Lices is “the Saturday morning routine”. On the stalls of the 250 traders present, he comes to look for “what to eat good, local and fresh for the weekend”. Faithful to the place, Yann enjoys “sneaking through the crowd in search of the right vegetable, the right vegetable before heading to the stands of caterers and butchers and sometimes listening to a huckster or a street musician”. A must for politicians, the Lices market is also a must for Rennes expatriates. “It’s our Proust madeleine,” confides Vianney. Now based in Paris, he “never misses an opportunity to go there” when he returns to Brittany.

“So that Najat is a spider!” When Manuel Valls played guide on the Lices market in 2015. – GEORGES GOBET / AFP

Present on the market “for four generations”, Stéphanie Bougerie would not miss the appointment for anything in the world. “It’s an essential market for us, there is atmosphere, it’s friendly and our customers are loyal,” says the vegetable producer based in Saint-Grégoire. In the spans of the market, some still regret the excessive place given to early vegetables to the detriment of certain local producers. “But people can tell the difference, the vegetables don’t taste the same,” smiles the producer.

A market “less essential than before”

In this ode “to colors, flavors and smells” so dear to Catherine, some readers are however more critical. “A big tourist trap and nine sores per square meter”, thus loose a surfer. Another also denounces “the exorbitant prices” while some flee him “because there are too many people”.

“Less than before, all the same,” replies Guillaume, who sells Italian products there in his Pasta & Company truck. A consequence according to him of the Covid. “During the confinements, people turned to neighborhood markets and they have since kept their habits,” he says. As a result, the Lices market is, according to him, “less essential than before”. But still so appetizing.

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