Jamie Ivey, author of the Moon Guide to Provence, selects his 5 favourite Provencal markets.
Cucuron – Tuesday morning
The small southern Luberon village of Cucuron hosts one of the most picturesque markets in Provence. Centuries old plane trees surround an ancient watering basin (etang). The light is remarkable, passing through the leaves of the trees and then reflected in the water. The traders set up on three sides of the water, leaving a wide alley for shoppers to walk through. Thanks to the trees, the water, the traders and the rows of cafes the atmosphere is unique. In Spring and Autumn a market morning in Cucuron is a delight.
Coustellet – Sunday morning
If you are after a market in a quintessentially pretty Provencal village then Coustellet is not for you. This Sunday farmers market sprawls across a parking lot, located next to a crossroads at the bottom of Gordes. What the market lacks in charm it makes up for with produce and prices. You’ll find the freshest vegetables, the ripest fruit and meat direct from the farm. Quite simply this is as good as farmers’ markets get.
L’Isle Sur La Sorgue – Sunday morning
The market in L’Isle sur La Sorgue is one of a kind. The usual stalls laden with Provencal goodies – olives, garlic cloves, spit roast chickens etc – give way to eclectic collections of objects from Provence’s past. You can pick up anything from an antique coffee grinder to a gramophone and at the same time cater for a sumptuous lunch party.
Rognes Christmas Truffle Market
Every year on the last Sunday before Christmas the village of Rognes hosts an enormous truffle market. If you love truffles and gastronomy it is an unmissable celebration of the bounty of Provence. As well as picking up a truffle to shave over the Christmas bird, there’s everything you need for the festive period from foie gras to fresh seafood. And the best part of it all is that you can nibble on truffle laced delicacies as you shop. Slice of truffle pizza anyone?
Bandol – Tuesday morning
I am a sucker for the seaside. So throw in a Provencal market right on the edge of the Med and I am there. Bandol is one of my favourite seaside resorts. It has a daily market, which balloons in size every Tuesday. There’s the usual collection of delectable Provencal food on sale, as well as plentiful seafood fresh from the boats. I take a seat in a nearby cafe, order a bowl of Moule Frite and watch the show.