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Paradise for young tourists

17 mai 2010 No Comment

Covent Garden has always been a market place full of animation and activity. When we went to visit London with our collège in March 2009, we were quite pleased to hear that we could have some free time in Covent Garden : it meant shopping for us !

When we arrived in La Piazza, a large square in front of the covered market, we were happy to see there was till a « market » full of people there. We couldn’t believe our eyes : it was like a paradise for a young tourist ! There were many shops selling anything we would dream to buy (clothes, shoes…), but there was also a covered market called the « Jubilee Market » where you could buy all the typical English souvenirs a French teenager is looking for!
But what surprised us the most was the atmosphere in Covent Garden : some artists were performing in the streets ! Some musicians were playing opera songs near the stairs, some magicians were performing in another street… we walked past a « living statue »…there were street shows nearly everywhere !
We felt we were very lucky to see that. So we stopped with some friends to see one artist performing in La Piazza. Suddenly, the artist came towards us and asked Méganne something. At first, she didn’t understand what he was asking her. So he led her to the middle of the square and asked her to become his « assistant ». There were many spectators around, some of our friends stopped to see what was happening when they recognized Méganne. Indeed, she is usually rather shy, so it was unexpected to see her performing in the Piazza! We could imagine she was feeling ill at ease because of all the spectators watching her! In fact, she didn’t really understand what the street performer wanted her to do. But she tried her best  and finally left when he asked for someone else in the audience.
This free time in Covent Garden was really the best afternoon in our trip! We enjoyed ourselves very much, being there with our friends was great!

A little of History

Covent Garden used to be a fruit and vegetable market situated in the district of Westminster in London. Today, it is a popular shopping area where you can buy anything from clothes to crafts.
Why is it called Covent Garden? It was first a convent market.. The monks from Westminster Abbey grew vegetables and sold some of them here, starting the first Covent Garden market.
For hundreds of years, fruit, vegetables and flowers have been sold here.
The Central Market was built in 1830. It had several buildings linked together by glass roofs. It housed the Covent Garden fruit and vegetable market until it moved in the 1970′s.
But you can still shop in Covent Garden today! The old Central Market buildings were restored and today they are full of small shops and stalls selling crafts.
Covent Garden is also famous for its lively atmosphere, especially on the « Piazza ». It is where you can see all kinds of street performers (jugglers, musicians, mime artists and « living statues »).
30 millions tourists visit Covent Garden each year.

Article paru dans les Reportages d’Europe N°5, 2010

Rédigé par Marine, Laurine & Méganne du collège Louise Michel de Paimboeuf.

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