What is one activity that all visitors should experience while in France? Yes, there are many, but we are thinking about “le marché”! The French markets are not only addictive, but they are also an integral part of life in virtually all French towns.
Local markets are a huge part of a city or village life in France. Every village – sometimes even the small ones – has its own market, where the producers of the region gather to show and sell their fine products: fish, meat, bread, honey, sweets, cheese, fruits and vegetables, and many others. In bigger cities and in tourist areas, you will also be able to find souvenirs, like the famous Provencal fabrics you can see on the stalls of every Provencal market!
Most towns host a market once a week, however, in larger towns markets may take place twice a week, or even every day, like for example the Halles in Avignon. Halles is the French word that describes the main market – usually a covered one – of the city.
Sometimes, and especially in bigger markets, you will also be able to find items such as wine clothes, jewelry, toys, and kitchenware.
Most markets sell an array of goods, but there are also specialized markets throughout the country. A couple well known specialized markets include the flea market at the Saint Ouen just outside Paris, the flower market in Nice, the Christmas market in Strasbourg, the olive markets in Provence, and the fish market at the Old Port in Marseilles. There are wine markets in Bordeaux, and famous gastronomic markets in Perigueux in Dordogne.
Generally speaking, markets are a local or regional event, attended by local producers, craftsmen or traders. Do try and visit at least one while you are on your France holiday as it is such a good way to immerse yourself and the family in French culture!
You can easily find out when the marked takes place in each city and village by visiting the website Jour de Marché.fr. The website is in French, but you just need to enter the city/village you are interested in and you will find all the information you may need.