There is one thing I adore about France and that’s the weekly markets held in many of the small towns dotted around the country. It really doesn’t matter what region you happen to be in, there will be a market where locally grown produce is sold and you can be certain the quality of this produce is supremely good.
Provence is a region I love to visit during the warm summer months and I spend much of my time exploring the area. There is just so much to do and see but at weekends I set aside the mornings to visit local markets and this means strolling around food markets as well as the wonderful flea markets found in the areas I like to explore.
When I stay in Avignon I love to visit the flower market which takes place every Saturday morning in La Place des Carmes. The array of flowers and plants that are sold in this market, is simply splendid. After a gentle stroll through the alleys of scented stalls I then go off to the Marché des Halles. This indoor market is simply bursting at the seams with locally produced goodies. If I am ever looking for a gift or something special I like to visit the Marché des Remparts, where they sell some of the nicest local crafts you will ever find in the Provence.
Sunday mornings are reserved for a morning of discovery at the Marché aux puces which is also held in La Place des Carmes. This is where I find a lot of my delightful French treasures when I am in France.
If you are touring around the Luberon then a stop on Sunday morning in Coustellet is a must because this is when they hold a farmers market during the summer months. The locally grown produce is just amazing with vegetables, fruit and other superb things like jambons, cheeses and spices some of which you’ll never find anywhere else in France. This market is a sheer pleasure to discover and to walk around. The aromatic aromas of all the lovely things that are for sale on the stalls simply livens up all your senses, and of course everything is so brilliantly presented which is what makes it such a joy to see.
Le Pays des Sorgues too has a wonderful market that takes place every Sunday and Thursday. Now this is a real Marché Provençale where you find lots of different produce including the lovely textiles and potteries along with local produce that’s out of this world. The location is delightful and there is a charming restaurant which I highly recommend called Café Fleurs. Whenever I visit the market I always make sure I have a reservation at this restaurant because the food is great and the service brilliant.
Haut Vaucluse, the Province of the Popes too has some wonderful markets. The medieval Marché which is held during the first week-end of August, is definitely worth putting on your agenda if you happen to be in the region at this time of the year. This is an extremely entertaining market where you’ll find a lot of things you never thought existed these days.
Of course during the autumn months which is the mushroom season, there is a superb market in Richerenches – the Marché aux Truffes which translated is the truffles market. If like me you are an avid truffle fanatic, then this is a market you just have to visit. It is held every Saturday morning from mid November right through until March of the following year and you’ll find every type of truffle for sale on the stalls of this market.
The market is divided into sections with the ‘professionals’ buying their truffles in large quantities in one part of it, but you can go to the other part of the market and buy just the quantity of truffles you need to make your gastronomic delights happen. Many of the stalls have ‘tastings’ which means you get to taste various dishes which of course all have truffles in them! It’s all so very French!