With 34 stalls per 1000 inhabitants, Loches market, in the heart of the town, is the second most important market in the Département d'Indre et Loire. For comparison, there are only 7 stalls per 1000 population in Tours. According to a recently published study reported in the paper recently, the market is growing year on year, unlike most of the markets in the Touraine.
Between the stalls, people meet one another. They discuss current events, the weather and pass on their news. Obviously, they do their shopping as well. Every Wednesday and Saturday the market in Loches attracts customers from the north of Indre to Cormery. Its success continues to grow, as evidenced by the annual survey of markets of Indre et Loire, which is published by the Observatory of the Economy and Territory of Touraine.
The report shows that the two weekly markets in Loches have the strongest growth in terms of numbers of vendors. Between 2005 and 2015 the total number of stalls per week has increased from 135 to 220. This positive growth means that the sud Lochois is the only area in the département where market sales figures are inceasing. Everywhere else in the département markets are shrinking at about the same rate and the report notes this with disquiet. But Loches is one of the few towns that is bucking the trend (Chinon is another example). In comparison, over the same 10 years, the markets in Tours have lost 400 vendors. Over that period the report estimates that vendors at Loches have increased by 63%. The market manager, who was appointed in 2001, says he would say the increase is 'only' 50%.
At the moment Loches is the seventh largest market in Indre et Loire in terms of vendors. It is second, just behind Bourgueil, in terms of number of stalls per population. That's a sign of what an attractive proposition the market is for stallholders.
The south Touraine has seen growth overall of its markets of 11.5%, whereas the conurbation of Tours has seen a drop of 22.2% in the number of vendors. In Pays Indre et Cher (Monts, Esvres, Veigné, etc) the loss is 28.7%. The biggest market is that of Amboise, far in front of the main market in Tours.
We've written about Loches market a number of times before. In 'The Offal Butcher' and 'The Tarte Tatin Man' I wrote about specific stalls. In 'Local Green Asparagus!' I wrote about how pleased I was that a local asparagus producer now sells green asparagus at Loches market, when previously it had been more or less unobtainable (the local taste is for white asparagus). In 'Blessed are the Cheesemakers' I included a section on the various cheese stalls in Loches market. In 'The Last Market Day Before Christmas' I describe going to Loches market just before Christmas. In 'On the Road Again' Simon wrote about house hunting and the part Loches market played in our choice to live where we do.