Yes I have to admit I am one of those crazy foodies with a farmer’s market obsession!
I especially like to visit markets when traveling, I love to wake up early and head straight to the local Les Hall or produce market to see what’s in season and what is the specialty of the local region.
Every town in France has a market day so I have compiled a list of true and tested favorites while traveling from Lyon, through Provence and then on to Menton in the Cote d’Azur.
Halls de Lyon now called Halles of Lyon-Paul Bocuse after the ‘’pop of French gastronomy’’ is a melting pot of the taste buds dating back to 1859 when it first started. The market offers excellent high quality produce, traditional French food and is a unique place in the world for gastronomy. From artisan cheese makers, bakers, pastry chefs, delicatessens to a selection of restaurants and wine bars. This is truly the soul of Lyon.
Avignon Les Halles – Place Pie, Avignon, France
Stop for a wine and a chat with the locals or just soak up the atmosphere in this fantastic indoors market. It displays excellent fresh local produce, every kind of fromage to charcuterie, fresh meat and freshly caught fish. It also provides a range of café’s, little restaurants and bars.
The highlight for me was the spice selection!
Fresh produce market daily on the Richelme’s plaza and on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays down the Cours Mirabeau, on the General de Gaulle’s plaza, the Bonaparte Avenue,
Start your day with the morning ritual of the open aired Aix-en-Provence market in the middle of the old part of town; the market prides its self on showing off the best the local produce of the region.
This has to be one of my favorite markets as you can see that it’s truly appreciated by the locals for their daily grocery shopping.
It is over flowing with produce, freshly baked breads, olive oil, chèvre (soft goats cheese)and seafood.
After you have filled up your shopping bags head over to the little roaster Brulerie Richelme that over looks the busy market for an espresso or to purchase roasted beans from their wide global selection.
The Aix’s flower market offers a riot of colours and aromas.
It’s on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays on the “place de l’Hotel de Ville” (city hall).
St Remy; The quaint picturesque village that has lured many creative’s over the century’s; with the likes of Vincent van Gogh who was a patient at the Saint-Paul Maussole Asylum and monastery on the out skirts of town, You can now visit the Asylum and walk through the lavender and wheat fields he painted or sit in the peaceful gardens surrounded by Irises.
The St Remy produce market is for the early riser’s where stalls spill from the rue de la République just on the edge of Saint Rémy down into the winding alleys and shady squares of the old town; held every Wednesday.
This market is where you will meet the true produces and growers of the region. As we walked in, the first stall holder was a farmer who only sold little bunches of sweet radishes, a couple of farmers were gathered around the stall chatting away eating slices of radish with simple olive oil and a glass of wine; such simple pleasures.
Such a wide variety is on offer at this market from utensils and bowls made from olive timber, spices, olives, honey, nougat, every variety of pate de fruits to the wide variety of fromage and I can’t forget the extremely well presented offering of Saucisson (dry cured sausage).
The L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Sunday market is the largest outdoor market in the idyllic Luberon area of Provence. The extremely pretty village is sprawled across the Sorgue River earning it’s the nickname “Venice of Provence’’.
The market is three markets rolled into one, offering the very best of Provence’s produce, a flea market and an antique market. The town is famous for being a hub for antique dealers and is the second largest antique center in France (after Paris).
Shop where the Chefs shop!
The nice market on Cours Saleya is over flowing with history, ambiance, and culinary inspiration and not to mention the very best presentation of Provence’s top quality produce.
The market also has a wide selection of organic (bio) producers, like Pierre Magnani, who cultivates 54 varieties of forgotten tomato strains in the hills above Nice.
You can see Chef Dominique Le Stance regularly shopping here for fresh zucchini flowers for (which he stuffs with local cheeses) at his restaurant La Merenda.
The market runs from Tues-Sundays, on Mondays the antique market sprawls out on Cours Saleya, where you can find antiques, collectibles and hidden treasures found in French attics. It’s like a vast open-air museum!
For the freshest and wide offering of Meditation seafood, head to the Marche de la Liberation on Tues – Sundays. Here you will experience a local shopping experience without the crowds.
With its close proximity to the Italian boarder the small in door traditional Les Halles packs a punch full of Italian and French local produce. Look out for the Mentonnaise specialties such as lemons, spices, “barbbajuans” (fried vegetables and rice), and Socca (a tradtional flatbread made of chickpea flour), delicious! The fresh homemade lemon and ricotta ravioli is a must to try.
The market offers everything you may need from the little specialty fromage, viande (butcher) , legumes, fruits, patisserie, poisson (seafood) to a boulangerie (bakery) shop.
The simple citrus has become a central fixture in the town, beautify pruned lemon trees covered in lemons line the streets. So it is no wonder the village holds an annual citrus festival with statues and floats completely made up from citrus to celebrate the history of the simple lemon in the region.