Crazy coloured cauliflowers

Crazy coloured cauliflowers

 

Flamingoes!

Flamingoes!

A decorative display

A decorative display

 

What would markets be without music? Buskers predominate in every market - here is one in the Sunday L'Isle sur la Sorgue market.

What would markets be without music? Buskers predominate in every market – here is one in the Sunday L’Isle sur la Sorgue market.

Provence and Markets go hand in hand. Although the large supermarket chains are encroaching into the most remote rural areas, the local Market is still an occasion. Farm fresh produce, unique clothing and fabrics, cheeses, wine, flowers and local delicacies such as rotisserie chicken (poulet roti) abound.

 

Colourful fabrics

Colourful fabrics

 

All markets typically start at 07h00 and finish at 14h00

Monday / Lundi:
Cavaillon – Lauris – Cadenet

Tuesday / Mardi:
Cuceron – Gordes – Lacoste – St Saturnin d’Apt – Aix en Provence – Marche Paysan d’Apt

The Aix market is a large one and apart from the usual local produce has a unique collection of local crafts and art. The market stretches around the main Church. The Cuceron and Gordes markets are brimmed full of fabrics, cheeses, delicatessens and vegetables. The small villages give off their own individual atmosphere and pavement cafés throng with happy customers.

Wednesday / Mercredi:
Gargas – Merindol – Sault – St Remy de Provence – Marche Paysan a la Gare de Bonnieux

One of our favourites, St Remy is in the Les Alpilles area, so you will find some different stalls. There is a huge fabric and clothing area on the Town Square and then food and art stalls wend their way throughout the old town’s narrow streets. Many buskers play in the little squares and the atmosphere is special

Thursday / Jeudi:
Ménerbes – Ansuis – Isle sur Sorgue – Roussillon – Les Beaux de Provence – Maussane les Alpilles

Friday / Vendredi:
Bonnieux – Louramin – Pertuis – Carpentras – Aix en Provence

Lourmarin is rightly regarded as one of the jewels of the Luberon area even though it is not a perched village. This market reflects the upmarket nature of the Lourmarin residents and is jam- packed. The mix of fabrics, craft, food, flowers and spices is a heady one and a great experience. There are a number of good restaurants in the village as well, so a long lunch is almost compulsory (Numero 9 is a particular favourite).

Saturday / Samedi:
Apt – Oppede – Pernes les Fontaines – Cheval Blanc – Arles

If its fabric you’re after, then Apt is considered the market to visit. It threads its way through the ancient Roman town and bargains can be had. Parking, however, is a bit of a nightmare so arrive early with ample patience.

 

Markets are a social event - even for the stall holders as they breal for lunch (naturally).

Markets are a social event – even for the stall holders as they breal for lunch (naturally).

Sunday / Dimanche: L’
Isle sur la Sorgue / Marche Paysan a Coustellet

The granddaddy of all markets is the Sunday L’Isle sur la Sorgue market. The village (called ‘The Venice of the South’) in Provençal due to its many canals and water wheels is recognized as the third largest antiques and collectibles centre in the world and many stalls and shops reflect this. However, within the narrow village streets you will find produce, spices, fabrics, wine, food, fruit, vegetables and crafts. It’s a great social occasion – go armed with a large basket (you will buy!), comfortable walking shoes and hungry.

However, if it’s fresh produce you’re after and you don’t want to tackle the Isle sur la Sorgue crowds, Coustellet is regarded by the locals as the best for farm products.The local cafés are open for an aperitif and the fish shop LO serves outstanding seafood snack platters, washed down with local sparkling (champagne).

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

France is famous for its ‘brocante’ or flea markets, chock a block with everything under the sun – eveything that is that can fit into someone’s battered Renault or Citroen and taken to a small village and peddled for cash.

Vintage bobbins

 

 

Crocheted baby hats for anyone?

Spices galore

 

…and more

 

Before you dive in and start to fill up your little packets, take a peep under the vendor’s table or see if you can see into his van, usually parked behind him. If you see big blue and white packets, leave well alone. Then, these spices have come from Metro, the large wholesaler and provider of commercial merchandise. Look for the genuine article – it is worth it. Beware of mutton in lamb’s clothing!

 

Autumn is the time when the markets are full of colourful courgettes and mini-pumpkins. THese find their way on to our outside table as decor!

 

At the end of the ‘season’ we’re all a bit “marketed out”, but as the days grow shorter, the clocks go forward, things quieten down, it’s not too hard to fall back in love with the traditional Provençal market – especially ones like Coustelelt which is as local as you can get.

Autumn heralds the influx of butternuts and all things bulbous

 

Not to mention the end of the sunflower season

 

Lettuce of all kinds and shapes, sizes – very inexpensive

 

The French love decorative courgettes, pumpkns, butternuts and other exotically coloured and shaped vegetables

 

Madame got quite crrative on our outside table, awaiting some friends ofr an aperitif, as we cling on to the last warming rays of the sun

Markets are in full swing – literally! These two stall holders decide to serenade themselves at the end of the Coustellet market.

 

Garlic ready to go

some more……

Markets are family occasions too

 

Anyone for strawberries?

 

Our charcuterie vendor – all the way from the Alps region of High Savoy

 

A younger fsmily members selling her Dad’s olive and apero wares

 

The dogs are also characters – Domino loves the market!

People visiting Provence always made a bee-line for the Markets. While the produce, cloth and other knick-knicks are superb, always made a point of looking for the ‘characters’. People who have been serving at these markets for years and years.

We visited the Coustellet market to check out – the characters.

The flower seller at the entrance to the market.

 

Lettuce-growing husband and wife team

 

Another of the flower sellers

 

Some real old scoundrels with their vegetables – the market is also a time to catch up with the latest gossip

 

Our Ménerbes asparagus farmer – Monsieur Bernard

 

The markets are starting to shake off their winter clothes, some which close are reopening and the colours are bright and al lthe stall holders are fresh and eager for business.

Hot off the Press. Fashino handbags made from post office cloth

 

What would am market be without colourful espadrillas?

A piglet – just for Vicky and Christine (Durban)

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