Les Halles de Tours is the covered produce market right in the heart of the old centre of the City of Tours. It's full of food porn and top quality fresh ingredients. The thirty-eight stall holders are established butchers, bakers, greengrocers, fishmongers, cheesemongers, wine merchants and delicatescens. I must admit, I don't shop there. Everything is a couple of euros more per kilo than I'm used to in Loches. It's a very prestigeous location though, everything in Les Halles is in the best possible condition and sold to you by an experienced and knowledgeable artisan. There is clearly a loyal local (and aging) customer base, comfortably off, used to good service (yes, this is the sort of place it exists in France) and advice, and knowledgeable in their own right about French food.
|Centre top, rillons (slow cooked pork belly chunks, a local delicacy), bottom right, oxtail, and behind that beef cheek, at one of the butchers. Next to the rillons is meat for pets, to the left of the oxtail is beef ribs.
In 1866 the City of Tours started work on a metal framed covered market on the site of a large and thriving existing outdoor market. Roads were altered and churches demolished to improve the site. This original building was demolished in 1976 and a new building erected by 1980. The wholesale market which had shared the space was moved to Rochepinard, a quarter in the east of the city.
|Soft and stinky northern French cheeses at one of the cheesemongers.
The new building took its aesthetic from the great cruise liners, and the market traders were joined by Picard, the frozen food specialist, a newsagent, a perfumery and a couple of banks. Upstairs is a big meeting and events venue, offices and the studios of France 3 Tours television. Underneath is a large carpark with 670 places.
|A fishmongers on one side, a greengrocers on the other. The smiling blond woman is the stallholder and has come out from behind the display to serve the elderly women customers. Customers do not touch the fruit before purchasing.
Les Halles is often referred to as 'le ventre de Tours' (Tours' stomach).
|The little 'grey' shrimp bottom left are considered a great delicacy. You eat them whole, head, shell and all. Personally I don't know what the attraction is.
|Maison Clement is an épicerie fine (high end specialist grocer) and a cave à vin (wine retail cellar).
|A range of salads. The 'pommes harengs' (potato and herring) and the carottes rapées (grated carrot) are very traditional.
|The exterior of Les Halles de Tours.
|One of the poultry and game merchants.
|Hams and patés at one of the charcutiers. These are all cooked hams (aka Paris ham) and by their colour I would say that nitrite was not used, which is good to see.