Mama and I have a distinct memory, from our last period in Geneva, of visiting Carouge Market on Saturdays. So when we ended up in an airbnb stay in Dancet and followed it up with a sublet in Carouge, there was no better incentive to revisit the market.

Going to the market is also a great opportunity to practice a small amount of French in a way that you just don’t get when you shop in the supermarket.

So we’ve been off every Saturday morning to the Place du Marche to get our fruit and vegetables. Until today, I didn’t realize just how big an impression the market has had on mtoto and how it has given him some new routines.

On our first visit, we ended up going to one of the larger stalls. The prices were competitive and it was busy – surely a good sign. And we’ve gone to the same place each time now. So that’s a routine.  Another one of our family routines has quickly becoming stopping to eat fruit on the same bench after we’ve made all of our purchases. And last Saturday we had a whole breakfast at the market, including croissants, yoghurt and fruit. Mama was prepared and had brought her pen knife so she could cut up some of the fruit. She also brought our plastic cutlery (which came from the Royal Festival Hall on London’s South Bank – thank you London!).

We’ve been able to practice our French and the staff on the market stall have put up with our slow choice of words and understand when we say that we would rather not speak English. Today I had fun asking for a “plus grande pomme de terre”. The woman serving me took me to the back of the stall and showed me a stash of dirty potatoes. I declared them perfect. She wasn’t sure but she did ask if I wanted to wrap them in foil. I didn’t, but I said yes, in case that helped. She checked with somebody else and then she got more out and I bought three.

Today, mtoto helped me by putting the things that we bought into the shopping bag. He was quite keen to start before I had someone serving me and then when we going he got the bag upside down but eventually he proved to be a valuable assistant. Then, when we were done I suggested to him that we could go to the playground. He turned and set off in the opposite direction. After appealing in vain I followed him and he took me to a bench in the market where he declared that he wanted to eat melon. Another routine!

Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought a knife so mtoto had to make do with four plums instead. I topped off each one and pulled the stone out and he munched away until he had finished all of each fruit. I then tried him with an apricot but he wasn’t so into that. The only thing that slightly spoiled our pause was that a trailer selling cheese was parked right in front of the beach, rather hampering our view of the market.

When mtoto was satisfied that he had had enough fruit, off we went through the square, stopping at the fountain so mtoto could wash his hands. Then we went to the playground at Parc Louis-Cottier. And when he was done there we went to the playground at the back of Boulevard des Promenades.