The vivid colours, the shouts of vendors, the smell of roasting chicken, the old man picking his garlic, the ladies choosing flowers – even if you’re not into shopping, the people watching alone is enough to ensure an interesting morning in a French market.
One of my favourite things to do in France is visit a local market. No matter where you are, there’s sure to be a market on somewhere and with it, a host of sights, sounds and smells sure to titillate your senses.
Set your alarm and be sure not to sleep in – markets start early in this part of the world and so do the Madames and Monsieurs. Pack your camera, take some change and loosen your belt. Vendors will be happy to give you a sample of their handmade fromage cut fresh from a giant wheel,
or their homemade confit de l’oignon or vinegar
In regions like the Dordogne or Provence, marketers will travel throughout the countryside and set up camp at markets in towns each day of the week, so don’t worry if you missed the market in your local town, there’s sure to be a market in a nearby town the next day.
Of course big markets like those at Lourmarin (for a small town Provencal feel),
Sarlat-la-Caneda (for more stalls than a Dordogne town can take!)
Afterwards, follow the locals to their favourite cafe to kick back and relax with a coffee or a fortifying Pastis after the market madness and plan what you’ll have for dinner that night with all the goodies in your basket!