One of the highlights of a visit to Provence is always going to be the rich array of open air markets, held in almost every town & village. The market links three important French traits – the glory of the countryside, traditions of agriculture & importance of food. The market embodies the deep rooted French belief that best food goes from field to plate in the shortest possible time. The markets here an explosion of colours & scents. An invigorating experience even if you are not buying anything, but just want to enjoy the experience. Markets are full of fruit, vegetables, cheese, bread, meat, fish, olives, oil, honey and wine. Everything for a perfect picnic, lunch or home-cooked dinner. Also fabrics, soaps, crafts, clothes & gifts. In Provence, markets take place in practically every village on a weekly basis, and more often in the towns. Almost always in the morning, winding up from 12 noon onwards, mostly gone by 1pm. We propose to take you on a different experience on different days of the week to different places to enjoy all the provençal flavours.
Tour itinerary & highlights
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue on Sundays. The ultimate two-for-one. There is an excellent street market with all the usual food stalls, but L’Isle-sur la Sorgue is also the antiques & bric-a-brac capital of Provence. Sunday is also flea market day! All the antiques shops of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue are open and the streets stalls groan under the weight of everything from worthless but intriguing family knick-knacks to genuine finds you will not want to live or leave without.
If you want to spend a morning lost amid the stalls of a big street market - these are our favourites:-
Forcalquier on Monday
Vaison la Romaine on Tuesday
St Remy de Provence on Wednesday or Arles on Wednesday
Bonnieux and Lourmarin – Friday morning.Two great good-looking village markets in both villages. A short but picturesque drive through a cut in the mountain in between. Both are unique and sit perfectly within two of the prettiest villages of Provence.
Apt – Saturday mornings: Apt is the biggest market of the Luberon, with over 300 stalls filling the centre of town. It has fewer products aimed at tourists than other markets and heavily used by locals. Amid the 300 stalls you’ll find just about everything. If you want something authentic from Apt, remember this is the world capital for candied fruit (fruit confit) so look out for that.
Arles also on Saturday. So you have a choice of where to go and what to visit depending on the day of the week we travel. The big highlight of the day is without a doubt buying food to make a picnic, then and there or food to take back for a dinner al fresco that evening. Above all else this will be an adventure.
Language: English or French
Tour duration & schedule
The total duration of the tour is 7 hours, assuming pick-up in Aix-en-Provence or Marseille. (Avignon is also available - just ask at the time of booking) The location and timings change slightly depending on which day you select and which town or village we visit. We will need to depart Marseille or Aix-en-Provence around 8.00am as these are mainly morning markets.
There is time scheduled for lunch, at leisure, not included in the price. And there is generally a good choice of eateries at all of the locations, from simply market-street food to cafés or restaurant lunches. There is always a good choice, and we suggest choosing where to eat, early as this is market day and does get busy.
Pick-up & drop-off at either the Cruise Terminal in Marseille or your hotel in Aix-en-Provence, Marseille or Avignon. If your staying elsewhere we can coordinate a pick-up from your address. (There may be a suppliment payable) We can also coordinate a pick up fro the TGV station (high speed train) at Avignon or Aix.
Travel to the towns and villages specified, dedicated transport and driver/guide for the day. We will also carry a selection of cool sacks to keep your food purchases fresh.
If time permits during the day assuming we are passing vineyards, we can schedule time to stop if you wish to visit and/or taste and purchase local wines.
* We can also propose visits to local farmers markets, the truffle markets during the winter season and of course the best of the Christmas markets of Provence. Just contact us for details.
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