Mapping the Markets of Peter Mayle’s Provence
Twenty years ago, my husband, daughter, and I rolled into Marseille on the high-speed train from Paris. If I recall correctly, the Aix-en-Provence TGV station had not yet been built. We rented a car and drove to Aix-en-Provence, where we would spend several nights before moving to Lourmarin, the small village at the base of the Luberon Mountains. Peter Mayle country.
The Manfull family fell in love with the village of Lourmarin in Provence. They also have a soft spot for the weekly markets. This post is a great read, with details on some top markets and reasons to visit.
Market Day is Every Day in Provence
No matter your “home” base in the region, rest assured that the drive to a local market will not be far. Almost every city, town and village has a market day, and some larger locations may even have two markets per week. Temptation at a market is everywhere in the piles of produce and fresh fruit, ripening goat cheese, and buckets of olives. However, practice a bit of buyer-beware as some vendors are resellers, who buy from large chains and simply re-package their goods for market-goers. Study the “Pays d’Origine” tags these little signs tell you where the produce comes from and give you an indication of quality with #1 being the best. Try to buy local, in-season, and where possible directly from the producer.
Most markets start around 8 am and end by 1 pm. Although, there are also several evening markets in the summer months. Check the exact times of the market you are planning to visit as there can be some variation through the year and the region.