Markets of Provence
There’s more than one market to enjoy each day in the Luberon, Provence, but of course it’s your choice if you like to get up close, smell the cheese and fresh fruit, sample the cured meats and marinated olives, touch the fabrics, or, if you prefer to sit back with a coffee and ‘people watch’ from a nearby café…
For many of our guests a trip to a local, bustling market is one of the highlights of their stay in Provence. It gives you the opportunity to get up close and practice your French Language skills – or just point and smile!
Most of the beautiful, historic villages host an outdoor market one day of the week and whilst you may see some of the same vendors at different locations, there always seems to be something new to sample and buy.
Some are classified as ‘Paysan’ or farmers markets and tend to be stalls manned by the grower, offering produce grown locally, often picked that day and of course, seasonal. Others are larger markets with a wide range of stalls selling a plethora of gourmet delights; breads, olives, fruit and veggies, cheeses, meat, fish, flowers, lavender, soaps, honey, spices and cosmetics, along with clothing, tools, souvenirs and much more!
Browsing and shopping done, head back to your holiday rental with your basket of fresh, local produce and create a delicious lunch or evening meal. Keep it simple, maybe some barbequed fresh fish and salad, or a platter of Cavaillon melon, strawberries from Apt and locally cured ham, accompanied by a bottle of chilled Rosé.
Remember the markets start early and are usually packing up by lunchtime. It’s fun to combine a morning of market shopping with a lazy lunch at a nearby restaurant, perhaps the plat du Jour, which is always great value.
Below is a selection of some local markets, but if you’re keen, you’ll discover your own favourites, or ask us for advice.
Monday – Lauris This is a pretty village, sits in a perched position, West of Pertuis in the Southern Luberon. It has lovely views over the Durance river, the Alpilles and the Luberon. Market day is Monday, 7am to 1 pm in the Town Hall Square.
Tuesday – Gordes This very well know, perched village, hosts it’s market Tuesday morning close to the castle and centre of the village. It’s a great place to pick up gifts such as Lavendar products and honey but also sells fresh local produce including wine. Gordes has a great selection of good restaurants and cafes if you find the shopping exhausting and need a good lunch!
Wednesday – Pertuis Just 20 km South of Aix-en-Provence, this small town is well serviced with shops, supermarkets, galleries and a twice weekly market. It’s well worth a wander around the town to see it’s Medieval history, with fountains, archways and historical laneways.
Thurs – Menerbes. This is a favourite village of ours, very pretty and in a beautiful, perched location with great views. The market is quite small but good quality with some specialist stalls. There are some lovely cafes close by if you fancy a rest – shopping can be exhausting!
Friday – Bonnieux or Lourmarin – what a choice, or can you manage both markets? Bonnieux is a lovely place to stay in or visit and the market starts close to the church at the lower level of the village. Why not buy strawberries, cheese, jam, sausisson and a baguette and enjoy a pic-nic.
Lourmarin is a favourite for many visitors as it specialises in beautiful gifts and homewares; baskets, cosmetics, olive wood products, olive oil, wine and jewellery. It’s larger than the market in Bonnieux but well worth a visit.
Saturday – Apt This is the largest of the local markets and has been going for more than 900 years! It sells almost everything and spreads throughout the town centre squares and lanes. It draws both the locals and tourists and has a fantastic, vibrant atmosphere.
Sunday – Coustellet is a super market and a great spot for Sunday breakfast. You can then continue on to the spectacle of L ‘Isle sur la Sorgue market. This one lines the streets and river side with antiques stalls and bric-a-brac. Something for everyone!
Finally, why not try a Vide Grenier? Similar to a car boot sale or garage sale, these quirky markets are a great place to grab a bargain or marvel at the things people want to sell….The early bird catches the worm so arrive early if possible.
Don’t hesitate to ask us for more information about markets, or things to do and see in Provence.
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