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Market Days in Provence

Market Days in Provence

 Visiting the L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Sunday Market

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue means the island on the river Sorgue. It is the crystal-clear Sorgue which gave birth to the town, the water wheels scattered about provide the clue. The wheels drove textile mills, and the textile business is the source of the wealth still evident in the architecture.  The economy of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is no longer driven by the river, but by antiques.

In the Luberon area in the Provence region of France lies the largest outdoor market, The L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Sunday Market.  It begins around 9 a.m. on Sundays only.

It is a food market, flea market and antique market all rolled into one.  It is so versatile one can purchase basic vegetables to fine art!  This market is located in the town that is nicknamed “Venice of Provence” because of its proximity to the Sorgue River.  It is also well known as being the second largest antique center in France — the first being Paris, of course.

The best way to experience any of these markets is to stay close by and spend a couple of days, taking your time to walk through and take it all in.    One of the nicest places to stay near Isle sur la Sorgue is the stunning hotel, Bastide de Gordes.   Spacious rooms, impeccable service and an excellent restaurant.   A luxurious address in the South, but certainly not the only option for this area.  With your own research you can find accommodations at varying price points to match any budget.

French Open Air Markets

Open air markets or le marche (le mar-shay) are always held in the mornings, some starting at 7 a.m. and open until noon or 1 p.m.  There are countless Open Air Markets in France, but these mentioned in this post are all in the Provence region of France.

These markets are alive with traditional crafts and is generated by the visitors who visit that are looking specifically for genuine locally produced items.

There are so many “good” laws in France and one in particular is that price tags must state the origin of all produce – so be on the look out for the word “du pays” which means local.

Pezenas Market

A special market favorite of the Fargasons is the market at Pezenas which runs all day on Saturday. It is colorful, picturesque and a good general market.  This is the one and only market to visit on a Saturday in the Languedoc Roussillon region.  According to Ann Fargason, “this market takes over the whole town and offers a wonderful array of artisanale food, clothing, flowers and general nic-nacs.  This is the place to be!”

Below you can see how picturesque the streets are in route to market.

Ann says, “It does get extremely popular in the summer, but is well worth it for the atmosphere.  It is in the heart of the former capital of Languedoc, but the market best sums up what Pezenas is all about.”

An arial view of the market in the town of Pezenas

Getting from Paris to Provence

High-speed TGV http://www.francetravelguide.com/tgv-taking-frances-high-speed-train trains run directly from Paris to Aix-en-Provence in as little as three hours. Almost all trains on this route are TGV Duplex services so you can choose between upper deck and lower deck seating. Opt for the top level for the best views.

Where is Pezenas, France?

Pezenas is located in the South of France. It’s about an hour’s drive from Montpellier, and 20 km (about 12 miles) northeast of the town of Beziers. The nearest train station is at Beziers.  You can see in this map how close you are to the Mediterranean Sea.

Where is Sourge, France?

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is located just 25 km from Avignon, and is just 70 km (approx 43 miles) from Marseille.

There is no direct train into the city center of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. However, those who want to come shop the markets here can easily get to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue without a car. There are a few different bus lines that connect L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue with nearby Avignon (which is also on a TGV line for those wishing to travel by high-speed train).

This post was just a tid bit of information on a couple of markets in France – We hope the few links provided will jump start your “market adventure”.  In order to find a market where you might be staying in France just do a little research beforehand or contact the concierge at your hotel or apartment building.  Experiencing the local customs truly does make France irresistible.

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!