Last Saturday, we finally made our way to the street market in Ferney-Voltaire (on the other side of the border) that we had heard so much about. F’s parents were visiting and we had rented a car for the weekend so it was the perfect moment to make our debut.
TripAdvisor, my new go-to website for customer reviews on just about everything, rates it well (it also ranks it as the #1 of 2 whole attractions in Ferney-Voltaire – womp, womp!). Ferney-Voltaire may be a small town, but at one point it was actually booming under the reign of the French Enlightenment writer-philosopher, Voltaire. He lived in the area from 1759 to about 1778 and founded the local church, some cottage industries, and many theaters. At the time, Calvinist Geneva (which we had lived in just before buying his estate in Ferney) forbade and banished theaters, among many other things. The town was named Ferney-Voltaire (previously just Ferney and before then, Fernex) in Voltaire’s honor, just after the French Revolution.
The vendors come to set up on the main streets of Ferney-Voltaire hours ahead of time and are open for business from about 9 am to about 12:30 in the afternoon.
Half of the market is for clothing and the other is for food. As you might imagine, we skipped the clothing section and went straight for the food. This is definitely the kind of place you want to check it out if you’re into trying different cheeses, cold-cut meats, street food, olives, 1 euro oysters, etc.
That’s right: 1 euro oysters. F’s dad and I had a little taste on the side of the oyster stand – delicious! The last time I had enjoyed an oyster was last summer when I was working in Boston. There’s nothing like good, fresh seafood. (Sorry to anyone with seafood or shellfish allergies – my heart goes out to you)
As we were walking through the market, I noticed a stand where you could buy fresh couscous and the chicken and vegetables to put on top. There was also one lady who had an “African Delights” stand (I can’t remember the name exactly), and was selling little beignets (or fritters) made of plantain or potato and spinach rolls, all of which had a delightful heat to them. Honestly, she had me at plantain…
The one downside that I will cite is that the market can be a little pricey but I would still recommend it if you’re looking to get your hands on (and pay a little extra for) specialty items you wouldn’t normally find at your local grocery store.
I leave you with a few more photos. If you live in Geneva, it’s definitely worth checking out!