Travel

The Best Markets in Provence

by Lily Heise

Provence produces some of France’s most exquisite natural bounty, from sun-kissed fruit to lavender-infused honey. So it comes as no surprise that market days in the region’s towns and villages are real highlights. Usually held one morning per week, each market has its uniqueness. The following Provence markets are some of our favorites, featuring excellent local producers, passionate artisans, a lively authentic atmosphere, and much more.

Left: sunflowers at a market in Provence. Right: reine-claude plums at a Provence market.
Top: Julien Hausherr. Above: Sunflowers and Reine-Claude plums – Lily Heise

Carpentras

Since 1155, this town, located northeast of Avignon, has hosted one of the largest markets in Provence, which has also been selected as one of France’s “most exceptional markets.” Over 350 stands take over the streets of the old town every Friday morning. Truffle lovers should come in November, when the famous truffles de Ventoux create additional buzz to the already vibrant market.

Goat cheese, figs, tapenade and baguette in Provence
Goat cheese, tapenade, figs and crusty baguette – Erica berman

Apt

Another marché d’exception français, Apt’s delightful market brings the pretty town to life every Saturday morning. Also dating back to the 12th century, it features the best quality food purveyors of the Luberon. Buy a traditional market basket and fill it with tangy tapenade, flavorful fruit, Provençal fabrics, and some dried lavender.

Left: various spices, herbs and oils at a market. Right: bunches of lavender with sunflowers in the background at a market.
Lavender and spices at the market – Julien Hausherr

Lourmarin

This Friday market is ideal for combining a market visit with a stroll through a picturesque Provençal village. Although the town was put on the map by Peter Mayle, author of “A Year In Provence” who lived nearby, the market is still very local and one of the largest in the Luberon. On your meander, pick up some regional cheese, sausages, peaches, fougasse bread, and some Côtes de Provence wine to enjoy over a picnic or back at your Provençal country home, like these lovely ones available through our friends at Haven In.

Left: a Provence street at sunset. Right: the front door of a house in Provence.
Provence ambiance – Andrea Rapuzzi / Julien Hausherr

Graveson 

On Friday late afternoons from May to October, this offbeat village between Avignon and Arles holds a fabulous market featuring only small producers from the surrounding countryside. Freshly picked zucchini, heirloom tomatoes, perfectly ripe apricots, creamy goat cheese, and roast chicken—the bounty from the market’s stands is a feast in the making!

Left: various olives at a market. Right: two women purchasing goods from a green grocer at a market.
Provençale olives and produce – Julien Hausherr

Cavaillon

As France’s melon capital, this laid back town in the Luberon rightfully has a wonderful market, which is held three times a week. A “regular” market takes place on Monday and Friday mornings, and there’s a “local producers only” market on Thursday from 5pm to 7 pm. If you happen to be visiting in July, the town pays homage to its famous fruit during the annual Féria du melon festival held the weekend before Bastille Day. The town also has some interesting historic sites that are worth exploring after your market visit.

Left: a close up of olives on an olive tree. Right: the facade of a house in Vaison-la-Romaine.
Olives – Erica Berman / Vaison-la-Romaine – @ilpierro

Vaison-la-Romaine

If you’re in northern Provence on a Tuesday, don’t miss this fabulous market. Overflowing with 450+ stands, this market has managed to stay off the tourist track, which means you can get more authentic local products—soaps, textiles, honey, preserves—at more “local” prices. You can also find a solid collection of organic producers gathered in Place Burrus.

Both: various cherry tomatoes of all different colours at a market.
Tomatoes in Provence – Erica Berman

L’Isle sur la Sorgue

Provençal markets don’t exclusively sell food, and if you’re on the hunt for some great French antiques, add this town to your list. Every Sunday people from all over France flock to its antiques market, which overflows into the town’s many antique shops and art galleries. Visitors who come around Easter or in August will also be treated to its biannual antique fairs, where you’ll be in true antique heaven. L’Isle sur la Sorgue also has a noteworthy food market on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings.

(Note from Erica: Beware that the prices of antiques in L’Isle sur la Sorgue may be inflated for tourists. Make sure to to bargain!)

Both: the antiques market L’Isle sur la Sorgue.
L’Isle sur la Sorgue – Chantal Garnier

Aix-en-Provence and Arles also have fabulous markets, stay tuned for more about them in our articles coming soon.

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Written by Lily Heise for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a  fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.

Written By

Lily Heise

Lily Heise has been living in Paris for more than 10 years. When she's not getting into romantic mischief, she writes on dating, travel, and culture. Her writing has been featured in Frommer’s Guides, the Huffington Post, Conde Nast Traveler, City Secrets, DK Eyewitness Guides, and other local and international publications. She is the author of Je T'Aime, Me Neither, and Je T'Aime... Maybe? lively novelized memoirs on her romantic misadventures, and continues to share dating tips, stories and travel features on her blog www.jetaimemeneither.com. View Lily Heise's Website

5 comments on “The Best Markets in Provence

I was just about to write the very same suggestion about the St. Remy Market. I also think that many of the small towns around that area (like Eyguières or Mausanne-les-Alpilles) feature many of the same vendors as St. Remy, sans tourists.

Yes, there are SO many markets to explore 🙂

Lily Heise..I LOVE reading your articles! Interesting, informative……, sooooo many of your recommendations
we have enjoyed visiting. Merci!

I am very surprised that you didn’t mention one of the best markets in all of Provence — the Wednesday morning market in St. Remy de Provence. Having spent 5 summers in St. Remy, I watched it grow into the most popular market in the area. Unfortunately, tour groups have invaded the area and it has almost become too crowded. My second favorite is the Sunday market in L’Isle sur la Sorgue.

It is very touristy… but fun indeed! -Erica

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