Most French villages have a bi-weekly outdoor food/flower market, (cities have several throughout the week) when coming to France your visit would not be complete if you did not take a morning and go through a market. The markets are often located in the center of town, making it easier for those living in town to go, without the need of their car.
The atmosphere at the markets are fabulous, recipes exchanged, people watching pleasurable, food fresh and locally grown, a variety of locally made objects and specialities are available, and historical color comes alive... The French market place is a French tradition that fortunately is famously popular as much as it was hundreds of years ago.
If you are in the Provence/Luberon area some of the best markets:
Cadenet - Monday
Tuesday - La Tour D'Aigues, and Vaison-la-Romaine
Wednesday - St. Remy, and Arles with a brocante the first Wednesday of the month.
Thursday - Aix
Friday - Bonnieux and Lourmarin
Saturday - Apt and Uzes
Sunday - L'Isle Sur la Sorgue with a brocante market
(For more information and to find more Provencal markets, click on any of the towns above.)
Three Euros a kilo.
Every fruit and vegetable is labeled, it is a law:Where it comes from and what category (organic or not, what pesticides used...)
When you come to a fruit and vegetable stall, first see if there is a line, if so go to the end and wait your turn. Do not touch or collect the fruits and vegetables until it is your turn. Most stalls have baskets piled up on the side, take one to select and put your fruit and vegetables in. When you are done gathering what you want, and hand them to the salesperson, then they will weigh them and tell you how much you owe.
You can ask for recipes, or what would go best with whatever you are planning for dinner... I like to ask the salesperson to pick me a melon, or tomatoes, or a fruit by saying, "I plan on having (insert whatever it is) tonight, which is the ripest for this evening?"
The salespeople are passionate about what they do, and they will tell you anything and everything you need to know about their wares, and give you extra if you engage a conversation.
Do you know that generally French people use a table cloth everyday, and cloth napkins?
Yeah they do.
To most Americans, what seems formal ware for sharing a meal, is standard fare in France.
Tablecloths and linens are plentiful at the markets.
At the French market you can buy prepared food such as tapenades, pate, crepes, and delicacies such as marinated artichokes.
Cheese is sold,
and sometimes antiques, but usually not.
Serious shopper, serious passenger.
Lavender is plentiful in July.
Just like Truffles are in December.
Or Mushrooms in September.
Fashion at the French market.
Little leather purse.
Chic hair do.
Stylish top, all the rage at the market, 25 Euros, varied colors.
"TU" means one size fits all.
South of France.
Polka dots: Navy, beige or brown.
White cotton pants.
Top 35 Euros, three sizes: S/M/L.
Note the big pocket.
Provencal style fabrics:
Common colors: Green, Red, and Yellow.
The most famous fabric in Provence is Souleiado. Souleiado designs are inspired by traditional "indienne" patterns that were created in the Provence, the south of France, in the mid seventeenth century.
Classic French style at the open market.
Relaxed, casual chic, Provencal style at the market place.
Lavender bundles for sale in July... Cotignac... if you don't need vegetables at least go to the French market just for the sheer pleasure of eye candy.
Do you see how inexpensive endives are?
I like the old chalkboard signs the best.
The cherries too...
French Husband and our friend Vlad went to the market... Did they buy cheese? Did they buy baguettes? Did they buy vegetables or fruit? Or lavender?
Hell no, they bought beer. They are tradition breakers. What would you prefer Heinkens or 1664?
A cold beer... well they weren't so we stuck them in the freezer.