Bon marché: the markets of Provence

When you are visiting the Provence villages, try to combine your visits with the local market day to get the most out of your experience. Provençals take their markets (marché) very seriously. These are not just places to buy the freshest produce of the day but significant social hubs. Locals exchange news and gossip with each other and with the vendors, who seem irritated at being disturbed by tourists. Don’t let that deter you. Nowhere in the world is it more joyful to part with a pile of money to buy something that you may never ever use again. Visit markets in the morning since they tend to shut down after noon. Most are open through the year, especially the big ones but if you are going out of season, it is better to check with the Tourist Information Centre. Must-buys include lavender sachets, flavoured olive oils, fragrant soaps, cheese and, in specialist markets, antiques or pottery that the area is famous for. Or put together that aforementioned picnic lunch, head to some quiet viewpoint and save yourself some euros in the process.

The following are the big markets by day of the week in the Provence region: Monday (Cavaillon, Goult), Tuesday (Gordes, Lacoste), Wednesday (St Rémy de Provence, Sault), Thursday (Roussillon, Coumont), Friday (Bonnieux, Lourmarin), Saturday (Aix-en-Provence, Apt, Avignon), Sunday (L’Isle sur la Sorgue).

(from my Outlook Traveller story on Provence)

And here, a photoessay on why these markets are so special… (click on pic for larger image)

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