Memories of a Medieval Market
August took its last lap while summer tiptoed away! Though our holidays are already part of an evanescent past, we all try to keep in mind the best memories of events we have taken part in, places we have visited or people we have met…
So today, talking about a summer memory, I would like to share with you the life of a tiny medieval village in France. Long ago, in this small haven of peace named Ségur-le-Château, the viscounts of Limoges, also called the viscounts of Ségur, created a small principality, where its last heir, Henry IV, spent only a few days.
Back to more recent times, the last years of the 20th century witnessed an intense activity among the villagers, as most inhabitants and the mayor had in mind to bring life back to their home village, particularly in summer to attract tourism. So, they modestly started a Sunday morning market where you could buy local products. One day, they even transformed the whole village into a medieval hamlet, with its market, its typical houses, the Viscount and his Lady, carts and horses… anybody who wanted to could dress up in medieval costumes that they had to create on their own. People’s enthusiasm resulted in a fantastic event!
The market, which has always taken place on the shady esplanade by the shallow river at the bottom of the castle, became throughout the years mostly attractive to foreigners, particularly to Dutch, German and English tourists. Nowadays, the market is still held under the majestic secular plane trees and has been transformed into a Monday evening picnic-dinner location. You can either bring your meal or buy local food from the different stalls. Strolling around, you may pick a grilled trout, some goat cheese, fresh rosé wine, homemade bread, strawberry ice-cream and even a raspberry smoothie, while listening to a nice band. When the evening is cool and families have left, it’s a pleasure to linger around sipping a fresh drink.
But the highlight of all this remains in the Culs noirs celebration. These Culs noirs pigs, that nearly died out decades ago, were saved by a passionate man, who with other enthusiastic fellows created the respected Confrérie des culs noirs. In order to get such a delicate meat better known, they established a medieval lunch where the star is, of course, this pink-and-black pig. On this special day, two big pigs are cooked on a spit over an open fire in the purest Henry IV style to satisfy the most discerning palates of hundreds of guests who have booked their seat in advance. Moreover, the scenery is so appropriate that even if a knight such as Godefroy de Montmirail came out of the blue, nobody would be amazed!
Confrérie des Culs noirs
Nevertheless, this summer happening is only a memory as this year nothing occurred, no celebration, no feast, no late drink under a starry sky. Will these events disappear for a few years, or forever? Nobody knows exactly but let’s hope we will still be able to enjoy any other summer evening under the big plane trees!
Oink, oink, oink! We are nice, aren’t we?