Outdoor markets in the south of France are far more than just vendors selling food. For locals, it’s also a daily social thing.
Some markets in the south of France are small, others very large, some invaded by tourists and others only locals.
Whichever market you visit there will always be something for everyone.
Each outdoor market has it’s specific day.. and most set up their stalls very early in the morning between 4 and 6 am.
By 1 pm they will be gone and all you’ll see are leftover cartons spread here and there until it’s all cleaned up.
So plan accordingly and let yourself be tempted by the colors and smells as you wander through!
Going to the market in the south of France is a morning ritual, whether in small towns and larger cities so enjoy and do like the locals!
Below are a few suggestions if you are visiting.
Daily except for Mondays (as it’s replaced by the Antique Market). It starts early morning until about 1 pm.
This outdoor market attracts very large crowds during the summer months.
Stalls at the beginning and in the center of the lane are very well laid out with pretty and appealing displays with higher prices. Towards the end of the market, you get more of a local feel and better prices.
But walk around and see what suits you best.
It’s located parallel to the Promenade des Anglais (beach) and lined with restaurants, cafes, and pubs on either side of the long lane.
The market borders the old town – “Vieux Nice“, where you can get lost in labyrinth after the market and try some socca a very tasty “Nice specialty”.
MARCHE DE LA LIBERATION
Closed Mondays. Otherwise daily from 6 am to 1 pm (take the tram from Place Massena)
The outdoor market at Liberation is also very crowded during the summer, but it has a much more local crowd as it is a bit further from tourist spots.
It’s very lively and spreads out onto two main streets, starting on Av. Malaussena and continuing onto the avenue on the left. Just follow the abundance of fruits, flowers, and vegetables!
The center of the market is at Place General de Gaulle, here you can select your preferred fresh seafood from several stalls. Ask the vendor to clean the fish for you unless of course, you’d rather do it yourself.
Don’t miss out on the bakeries and cafe’s around the square for a nice break.
Getting to this market is very simple. From Place Massena, (or anywhere on Av. Jean Medecin) just take the tram (1.50e) and get off at Liberation stop.
You’ll be smack in the middle of the market action.
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LE MARCHE PROVENCAL
Every day in summer from June to September, otherwise daily except Mondays.
This is a very long covered market for both professionals and small organic producers. It has shops and bakeries on either side.
Very popular and often crowded as it has plenty of choices for everyone including local produce, a variety of cheese and organic fruits and vegetables.
After the market, take a walk around the old town it really is full of charm! Small shops, cafes, restaurants, take a break on a sunny terrace and just relax.
For more ideas on what to do in Antibes and the area check here.
Every morning except Mondays.
Cannes is known mostly for its famous Film Festival and upscale shops. But for the locals who live here going to the market every morning is a must.
A short walk from the center of town. In this large and wide covered market, isles are filled with fruits vegetables, butcher stalls, and Italian specialties.
You can shop for just about anything from fresh flowers and bread to fish and local organic produce while enjoying the lively atmosphere!
However, like most markets, depending on the season, it may be more or less abundant. There is 1-hour free parking nearby, but you’ll be walking right? Good for the heart! 🙂
Gambetta and La Bocca Markets are a bit further away from the center but the Forville market is a better experience for visitors. After you’re done shopping, hang out in nearby cafes and relax.
PLACE DES LICES
Early morning to about 1 pm on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
This very large outdoor market easy to find, if you get lost ask someone as St Tropez is so small that from the center you are only a few minutes away.
It’s a busy market and traffic is really a pain, so be extra patient if coming for the day as parking is almost non-existent.
From fresh foods to local dishes to clothing and hats galore, lots of locals and tourists as it offers an array of products to choose from.
If you’ve read up on St Tropez, you already know that you won’t be alone.
During the winter holidays around Christmas time, the Place des Lice market is replaced by an ice skating rink where families and friends gather to have some good fun! (and eat some good churros)
L’ILE SUR LA SORGUE
LE MARCHE DE L’ISLE SUR LA SORGUE
Sunday mornings from 8 to 2 pm.
This is one huge market. It takes place in the center of town and winds down along the docks of the river Sorgue. Very colorful and a great place to stock up on freshness!
Incredible local produce, olives, fresh bread, and meats, of course, an array of fabulous cheese. Plus clothing and everything else you can think of. It is a big market.
You could also buy a few souvenirs here like lavender, olive oil, spices or pretty soap.
On Thursday mornings between 9-12, there is a smaller outdoor market that takes place around the church. Although not as large as the Sunday market, it does have fresh produce – in addition to fewer tourists 🙂
The market at L’ile sur la Sorgue is very popular, and with good reason. The canal gives the town a “Venetian” feel and the market is worth it as you can buy just about anything.
TIPS when going to outdoor markets:
- Bring a large canvas bag or another type of bag to put all your fresh produce in. Of course, the vendor will give you a small bag, but if you do some real shopping you’ll end up with more small bags than your fingers can hold.
- In most markets, you’ll find tins or plastic baskets to use when selecting fruits and vegetables. When you’re done, give the vendor your basket, he will then separate each fruit or vegetable, he will weigh them and give you the total price.
- Bring small change as it is much easier when just buying a little here and there. Sometimes they will not have change for larger bills.
- It’s not ok to press the fruits and vegetables to check if they are ripe or not.
Go early to avoid crowds and enjoy the early morning air. Or go as the market ends for better prices. Vendors would rather not take back their products so you can negotiate prices.
Buy the right fruits and vegetables in the right season
Here are just a few ideas for buying fruits and vegetables whether at an indoor or outdoor market according to the season.
In case you see strawberries in the middle of October, well… don’t buy them!
April – MAY
Kiwi, Strawberries, Mangos, Avocado, Blueberries – Artichokes, green purple, and white Asparagus, Spinach, Carrots
Try out local strawberries, also known as “Fraises des Bois”, these are smaller, sweeter than regular strawberries and delicious!
Cherries, Melons, Apricots, Peaches – Eggplant, Zucchini, Cucumber,
JULY – AUGUST
Raspberries, Figs, Prunes, Nectarines, Watermelon, Apricots, Mangos/Tomatoes in all shapes and sizes, Basil, Radish
SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER
Grapes, Kaki – Squash, Beets
OCTOBER – NOVEMBER:
Mushrooms, mushrooms, and more mushrooms. Cepes, Girolles, Chanterelles
Truffles for Christmas? Sure it’s the perfect time to celebrate in style! The small ones are always better. But that will depend on how much you want to splurge!
There are a few specialized markets for truffles in the south of France. The season usually begins in November and lasts for about 4 months.
If you’d like to learn more about it truffles, have a read, and practice your French 🙂
JANUARY – FEBRUARY – MARCH
Kiwi, Avocado, Tangerines – Beets, Radish, Cauliflower
So there you have it. Explore these market suggestions, try local foods and discover a few traditions from the South of France.
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