It’s named after a Chancellor, this neat little Platz in town. It’s headed by a university building, slightly grand, but not imposing, that looks on over the newly renovated square and old town architecture. Rounded benches and newly planted trees line the sides, promising shade in summers to come when the saplings become more established.
Most days it’s quiet, the benches occupied by mothers and pushchairs, workers on cigarette breaks, and the retired taking a pause in the afternoon sun.
On Thursday though, after the lunch time picnickers have vacated the benches, it comes to life. The vegetable stalls arrive, offering a rainbow of goods grown within walking distance of where they pitch their wares. Crates of local, seasonal apples of every shade and sweetness sit atop precariously erected stalls on the light cobbles. There are of foreign offerings too: peppers, courgette, aubergine, and bananas in green, yellow and browning.
There’s one stall for everything. A bread man, the lady with the cheese, the flower guys and the coffee people. No one is in competition. Each outlet offers something different: meat for the main course, strawberries for after, and flowers for the table.
There are exotic tastes on offer too: Sicilian pesto and pasta driven across the borders, sold by a guy speaking German with an attractive southern-European lilt. There are little empanadas sold from Maria’s food truck which can be washed down with a taster of the wine offered by the German vinyard opposite.
The tiny coffee van pulls a crowd. It adds a Gallic touch with its soft pastel shades and delicate croissants. Stall holders grab a caffeine hit whilst locals and tourists loiter, savouring bitter coffee and sweet hot chocolate.
Alone, each individual item, each bunch of flowers, each ripened pear are insignificant. Some are stapples, a need for most households. Others, the wine, the French cheese, the olives are wants, a taste of the good life. Together, all these goodies for sale and all these people who come to buy them are a tapestry of existence, coming together on a this one day a week to bring life into an urban space and take home a touch of that life with them.