No stay in Provence would be complete without a stop at a local market, filled with the sights, scents and flavors of southern France. And with a different market to visit every day of the week, there’s always something new to explore, whether you’re on the hunt for antiques, lavender, or just the makings of a perfect Provençale picnic. Here are three morning markets that are worth a special trip.
Isle sur la Sorgue – Sunday
Second only to Paris for its sheer number of antique shops, Isle sur la Sorgue is a destination of choice for anyone on the hunt for vintage finds. Notable for its numerous canals and waterwheels, this former industrial town is now an enchanting setting for the weekly Sunday morning market, when antique and ‘brocantes’ (used goods) stalls fill the town. Practice your bargaining skills on the vintage homeware, then turn your attention to the market’s edible treasures: fragrant paella, olives and local cheeses – ideal picnic fare. And if you’re visiting in late summer, time your visit for the annual floating market held on the first Sunday in August, when the stalls take to the water on traditional flat bottomed boats.
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St. Rémy de Provence – Wednesday
The popularity of the St. Rémy de Provence market is due at least in part to its charming location: a picturesque medieval town at the base of the Alpilles mountains. Home to Vincent Van Gogh during one of his most prolific periods, Starry Night was painted during his stay at the Petit Hopital in the town. And while Van Gogh’s famous painting is now housed in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, you will find local artisans’ goods on display every Wednesday. The colorful Provençal pottery and olive wood bowls make fantastic souvenirs to take, but don’t forget to take in the food stalls too: you’ll find a mouthwatering selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, goat cheese, sausages, and even fresh seafood.
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Aix-En-Provence – Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
In Aix-en-Provence, markets are as much a part of the city as its fountains, universities, and artistic heritage. While the main flower market and flea market fill the streets around the town center on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, you can start every morning of the week by shopping for local produce at Richelme Square. There, in a collection of stalls under the stately plane trees, you will find the delights of the season: peaches and strawberries, eggplants and tomatoes, sausages and sunflowers – all on colorful display. For a sweet treat, try Aix’s signature candy: the calisson. Almond shaped and glazed with royal icing, this local specialty is flavored with melon, orange peel, and ground almonds.
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For a guided tour of Provence antique shops and flea markets, talk to your Concierge.
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