Food Markets in Aix-en-Provence Nutrition Tips to Know
Market Day in Aix
Thursday is usually an exercise rest day for me. I often use this opportunity to go to the big food market in the old town of Aix-en-Provence to buy local, seasonal produce.
Provence is famous for its markets. In Aix-en-Provence, residents and visitors enjoy daily markets in the historical centre. The old town turns into a giant extended market where you can browse delicious regional produce in an exquisite setting. The market spreads across Place Verdun and Place des Prêcheurs, with craft and clothing stalls on rue Thiers and Cours Mirabeau. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the market runs from 8h30 until 13h. Head to stunning Place Richelme for the smaller daily market, linger over a coffee and watch for local chefs buying fresh goods for their menus.
If you are anything like me, you love wandering on local markets. Since childhood, I’ve always been attracted to outdoor food markets. Regardless of where I live or travel, I never miss the markets. I enjoy chatting with local producers, tasting their products, wandering from stalls to stalls, soaking up the atmosphere.
Although I feel Covid19 killed the vibe a bit with those masks, and extra measures which prevent us from touching and choosing anything, making those markets less authentic at the moment, it is still worth the experience!
In the summer months, it is hot in Aix-en-Provence, and typically the fresh produce is not refrigerated during the market hours. Some producers and consumers might not know that exposure to heat and light can deplete vitamins and minerals from fresh foods and oxidize fat-based products such as olives, pesto and tapenades. Therefore, if you are coming for the experience and fresh products, I strongly recommend arriving as early as possible.
There is a much higher concentration of antioxidants in darker fruits and vegetables. So, although you want to eat a “rainbow” of produce to benefit from a broader range of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, make sure you never forget your dark ones!
For example, have you ever tried Purple Basil? I found out they grow some in the South of France. It’s much thicker than green basil, the smell is not as strong but finely chopped in a salad or sprinkled over pasta or other dishes, it is as good as the standard variety with higher nutritional value.
Also, know that the more diverse your diet is, the more strains of gut bacteria you grow, the stronger your immunity is and the healthier you become from the inside out.
Try to Buy Direct
Provencal markets have become very touristy. So, if your goal is to buy fresh and seasonal, then I would suggest you support local producers by buying directly. Here is a list you might find handy if you just moved to Aix-en-Provence or are staying around for a little while:
Le Verger de Celony (no website)
They stock excellent fruit and vegetables directly from the producers at reasonable prices.
37-111 Chemin des Plâtrières, 1
Paume de Terre
Order an organic basket/box to suit your needs and arrange to pick up at a relais point.
Le Jardin de Léa
Fruit and vegetable stand
2830 Route de Loqui
Garden products, fresh produce, specialty épicerie items
Route de Berre
La Galicette Lilot
Fresh, local fruit and vegetables
1790 Route de Loqui
They offer home delivery
Le Jardin de Julie
Order a basket of market-fresh produce for delivery