Thursday, 24 September 2009

The end of an era

In my last Blog I was rather lyrical about the “old-fashioned” cattle market in Saint-Christophe. Unfortunately I was not aware of the changes that had taken place in the meantime. There was an article in the latest bimonthly magazine of the Chamber of Commerce about the market in Saint-Christophe. The article very proudly announced the introduction in June this year of a “marché au cadran”, which is a market by means of a clock. Because we had not been there for a while, we decided to see how dramatic these changes were.

The moment we arrived we saw what had happened. The traditional market still exists, but at a much smaller scale. Next to the old covered market hall a new building had appeared, a modern circular building. Inside the building was a small ring, with around it a sort of amphitheatre. One man brought a cow or cows in from the outside, and made them make a little round in the arena. In the mean time all the particulars, such as vaccinations, weight, lot number, etc. were displayed on a big screen. The farmers were bidding electronically, this time in Euros, although the price in Francs was still displayed as well, and after the highest bid the cow was lead outside the arena, to make place for the next one. It is needless to say that the sterile environment and the efficiency has advantages for farmers as well as cows. However, it is, at least for the tourist lacking the charm of the noise, the smell and of manoeuvring around heaps of cow dung, in order to see what is going on. For those who want to see an old fashioned market in its full glory, the motto is : do not wait too long. It looks like that within a year the old market will completely be replaced by the bidding via a clock. Something similar already has happened to the other big cattle market in Burgundy, the one in Moulins-Engilbert (Nièvre).
The blow was finally softened a bit by an excellent lunch at La Tour d’Auvergne. For € 13.30 we got steak frites, a cheese platter and a mousse au chocolat. Ever been to a restaurant, where, because one of the steaks was a bit on the small side (according to the waitress, they looked the same to us!) the cook had thrown in an extra, third steak? It happened to us that day!

The website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle

1 comment:

  1. I agree, it is a sad day for the nostalgist but it is probably better for the tax man, not so much money passing under the table! The lunch is still VERY good tho'.