Every day is Market Day in Provence. Come rain or shine and even on holidays, independent vendors across the region are up by daybreak, loading their wares into trucks, vans, carts, and deux-chevaux and will make the trip to one of the many markets in the South of France. Just as they have done for centuries.
Within hours, the Market Towns--tiny villages and large cities alike--will be transformed: umbrellas will be up and tables will be filled with picture perfect arrays of fresh fruits and vegetables; beautiful selections of fish, some right out of the sea, will be artistically arranged on ice; and soon the air will be filled with the aromas of paella, pizza, rotisserie chickens and roasted vegetables.
Local honeys and jams will be stacked in pyramid shapes; rows of cheeses--made from the milk of cows, goats, and sheep--will be neatly arranged next to fresh eggs and sausages; baskets will be filled to the brim with olives seasoned with various blends of herbes de Provence, garlic, lemons, and peppers; and still other baskets will be unveiled, revealing colorful dried herbs for every occasion. Follow the fragrant scents of lavender and lemon-verbena to find the soaps.
There will be flowers galore, Provençal pottery, table cloths and other fine linens, silk scarves and sweaters as well as the more mundane kitchen gadgets and even underwear, jeans, and shoes.
There will be olive oils for the tasting and, if you are fortunate, some local wines as well. In the summer, look for bunches of dried lavender and, in the winter, in a few markets, arrive very early for the coveted black truffles.
If you have forgotten your basket, you can usually find another, locally made or from Northern Africa. You will fill it up quickly and effortlessly. Just as they have done for centuries.Map of Market Days >>