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1er janvier 2023

The aim of every bastide was to create wealth. To enable the landlord to take a percentage on transactions, a weekly market was organised as well as at least one, or several fairs each year. And of course it was the market vendors, newcomers to this modern mediaeval life, who had the principal roles.

Around the year 1000, the ideal society was organised according to three types of people: prayer people (oratores), soldiers (bellatores) and those who worked the land (laboratores).

The market vendor upset this organisation through practices that broke from the established codes. Market vendors calculated in their own interests, not those of others, they sought to manipulate the elements, whether Human or Nature, according to their own interests.

These practices, and certain speeches, marked the loosening of traditional bonds and the emergence of the notion of the individual that was already beginning to appear in the 11th Century. In the Middle Ages, as a consequence, the idea was born that the wealth of a town depended upon the work of free men. It was a legitimate activity that enabled workers to be emancipated and have the possibility of owning property. This is the moment when the individual becomes a man conscious of his own interests, where a society becomes a hierachy based on the work of each of its members.

Commercial logic also participated in the recomposition of social and political  structures of the Middle Ages, because vendors didn’t stop at simply selling. They sought to influence decisons concerning their community and some of them even succeeded in having the keys  to the town.

The creation of new bastide towns and commercial activity were a determining factor for understanding new mentalities, centred more on the person and less turned toward the mysterious and the sacred. In effect, the town was the place where trades were established, where money circulated. It became a place to go when there was a market and the market-vendors travelled, sometimes a long way, to buy and sell their wares. They were known as colporteurs – peddlers, or pieds poudreux – dusty feet. Markets and fairs were places where travelling vendors set up their temporary stalls.

At the end of the Middle Ages, between the 15th Century and the beginning of the 16th Century certain market vendorsbegan to settle in towns, prosper and grow then leave their businesses to their descendents which had the effect of amplifying commercial activity.


The market vendor : « Me and the other stallholders think that something is going on at the butcher’s... he’s living above his means, that’s for sure! And he gets a lot of visitors, sometimes at the dead of night... » Word 4/11 :  this.

Go along Rue Jean Jaurès and find the notary!

The Market Vendor: Event
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