Mon Panier Rouge

Like all French woman, I am the owner of my very own woven basket. You need a basket to stroll the market stalls, carefully choosing fresh produce and hot baguettes from the boulangerie before cycling home with the basket hanging from the handlebars of your bike. It’s a pretty Provencal picture. But it’s not my picture.

My basket serves as the holder of all my reusable shopping bags. When it’s time to go shopping, at the large American style grocery store (I love you Hyper U), the basket and it’s contents go into the car and then into the shopping cart.
My red basket was a gift from the Boyfriend. He picked it out for me at the Monday morning market in Forcalquier (I would have chosen a more natural colored one).

Buying it for me wasn’t really a choice. As soon as I saw the stalls selling them, and all the French woman carrying them (and the tourists not) I knew I had to have one. I slipped it on my arm and tried to look like I belonged, because once I opened my mouth, the jig was up.
It was July and I was on holiday visiting Le Petit Village to decide if I would move here or not (honestly the decision was pretty much made before I had arrived but don’t tell my parents that). The Boyfriend brought me to see the market, which was a big deal for him. If there is anything the Boyfriend hates more than normal, indoors, air conditioned shopping, it’s outdoor, middle of July, hot as hell, crowded with tourists shopping. It was so packed, at one point we were at a standstill, stuck in this huge crowd that just wasn’t moving, except to grow larger. People were struggling to move in too many directions and it was causing massive human gridlock. Dehydration and sun stroke were imminent. We needed a traffic cop, and a whole lot of deodorant. It was uncomfortable and hot but I loved the market and my new red basket.
There is another reason I love my basket. For some reason, out of all the french words the Boyfriend tries to teach me, saying mon panier rouge (my red basket) has come easiest to me. And it’s amazing how often I can slip the word basket into conversation. French Mommy had her basket in her car, I pointed to it and said,
“oh, votre panier”
She looked at me, waiting for me to say something else, “oui?”
But I didn’t. Nothing else I could say.
And the other day I bumped into Mrs.Honey returning from the épicerie with her basket. (Mrs.Honey has a really nice one by the way. It’s like something you’d take on a picnic, rectangular and lined with lacy white fabric). Excited I could say something,
“J’aime votre panier”
She just smiled and looked at me like I was special. Because I am.
Maybe the secret to me learning French is by the Boyfriend buying me things. He bought me the basket and I have no problem saying panier. Next, I would like to learn how to say, black suede, over the knee boots.

3 responses to “Mon Panier Rouge”

  1. oh, j'aime votre panier rouge, maitenant, je voudrais un panier aussi! My boyfriend and I love the markets as well, its something we really enjoy, and we look forward to finding new ones all over the city.! Glad you like them too! Maybe its time for me to get a basket!


  2. Love the basket, the story, and the absolutely logical conclusion that you learn French best by the presents the BF buys you. Naturellement! (I might have to start saying “panier” – I like the way it sounds.)


  3. Paniers for everybody!


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