There is no better way to spend your day than visiting the weekly market. Where you will see the locals catching up with their friends and with their favourite vendors, buying their items for the week. It is a true feast for the senses – where you will see the brightly-coloured display of fruits and vegetables, the wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread, the most delicious selection of fresh and aged cheeses and a beautiful showcase of linens, flowers and lavender.
Any day of the week, no matter where you are, you are bound to run into a market. So, here are a few of my favourites, by the day of the week, to help you plan your itinerary if you find yourself in the Vaucluse region.
Monday – Bedoin
The village of Bedoin sits at the base of Mont Ventoux and if you continue down the main road, you will find lots of activity with its terrace cafes and shops, all filled with hikers, dogs and cyclists. However, it is inside the old village, where you will find the long, narrow streets with the colourful Provençal facades and the market.
Tuesday – Gordes
As a Plus Beaux Villages (Most Beautiful Village), Gordes is a photogenic hilltop village where the marketplace is set at the foot of a castle with one of the most fantastic views to beyond you will find in this area. At the market, you will find many fabrics, linens, soaps, lavender and clothing, along with the usual vendors of fruits, vegetables, and several delicious things to snack on or plan a lunch with. Inevitably, you will want to stop your car driving into the Village as it is even more magnificent from the outside.
Wednesday – Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
One of the best and most well-known markets in the region is in St-Rémy. This small, sleepy village comes alive on Wednesday mornings offering everything from seasonal produce to local olives to bread to Provençal ceramic cookware and tableware. It truly has it all. You can’t help by not getting swept away by the activity and vibe this market offers.
Thursday – Roussillon
This impressive village is situated in one of the largest ochre deposits in the world, which makes it famous for its magnificent red cliffs. Trust me, the amazing views will inspire you to want to create an impromptu picnic. So why not gather what you need at the market – a baguette, a chunk of cheese, some tapenade and a bottle of wine, and allow the impressive views be your backdrop.
Friday – Lourmarin
Although not the largest market as some of the others, it showcases the best quality vendors in the region. It is a local’s favourite, and easily became mine too. It is blissfully quiet and quaint with some of the best shops and restaurants in the region. As a Plus Beaux Villages (Most Beautiful Village), it is nestled in the middle of vineyards, olive groves and almond trees.
Saturday – Aix-en-Provence
Aix-en-Provence, or referred to as “Aix”, is a wonderful larger city dotted with plane trees and fountains. The twisted laneways in Aix lead to different squares that host different markets many days of the week (Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday) where you will find a farmer’s market, a flower market, an antiques market, and the textiles/artisans’ market. This is a can’t-miss experience in Provence, and one that requires the full day to really see it all.
Sunday – L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
Taking place right along the winding River Sorgue, as well as the inner streets of the town, you will find a lively twin antique and food market. The Sunday (and Thursday) antique market is rated as one of the largest in Provence and best in France (second to Paris), so it is the antiques that drew me in. Make sure you get there early, as parking is limited and it gets extremely busy.
So, if you are planning to visit this region, why not plan your itinerary around these villages on market days and enjoy immersing yourself in the Provençal way of life!