Fresh baguettes, paella, figs, wild mushrooms and Sussex wines were snapped up by thousands of visitors to Heathfield’s Le Marche French market on Bank Holiday Monday.
It’s 23 years since the first traders from Forges-les-Eaux were invited to the market when the towns forged a twinning agreement. Since then the towns have competed at tennis, rugby and show-jumping, stayed with host families and made lasting friendships. Last year Heathfield Community College hosted a science teacher from Forges.
Now most French stallholders are from Normandy and bring the region’s fruit, vegetable and dairy specialities to the market which attracts people from across Sussex and Kent. Buyers also swooped on delicately scented olive oil soaps from Provence.
Queues formed for cheeses, sausages, meats, baked delicacies and pies from local producers and farmers. Most of the town’s clubs and groups were represented including churches, social clubs, Rotary and the new Bonfire Society.
Cllr Richard Ridley thanked co-organisers and said this year’s Le Marche broke all records, with collections raising £600 for the Youth Centre, adding: “Whatever the outcome of negotiations we will run Le Marche next year.”