No vacation in Provence would be complete without at least a morning or two spent savoring the sights, sounds, smells and especially the flavors of its outdoor markets. These are places of pleasure, where locals shop and meet up with friends for a glass of rosé before lunch or a steaming hot café on a crisp autumn morning. Don’t hesitate to do the same!
Markets are no doubt great for souvenir shopping – fabrics, soaps, table clothes, and pottery will all be found in abundance. But it’s the food which makes the provençal markets so special. Fresh local produce – fruits, vegetables, wines, cheeses, pastries, breads – it’s endless and all too tempting. So indulge. Take along one of our baskets and provision a veritable picnic feast!
Here is a list of markets (one per day) to assist as you plan your vacation. It’s not meant to be exhaustive – just some of our favorites offering a good variety and a chance to explore different areas of the Luberon and Provence while you are at it:
SATURDAY – the town of Apt (10 minute drive) is THE place to be Saturday morning in the Luberon. Founded by the Romans, this pretty, quiet town comes to life with the market. You’ll find anything and everything .
SUNDAY – Isle-sur-la-Sorgue (20 minute drive) is our choice. Similar in size and breadth to Apt, with the added attraction of the largest concentration of antique dealers anywhere in Provence.
MONDAY – we recommend heading slightly off the beaten track to Forqualquier (45 minute drive) which has a nice mid-sized market and a town well worth exploring. Add a visit to the abbeys of Carluc, Salagon and Ganagobie and the lovely village of Lurs and you have the makings of a great day out.
TUESDAY – no need to go any further than Saint-Saturnin-Lès-Apt (2 minute drive/20 minute walk) where you’ll experience a small village market – lots of local color and no hassles parking !
WEDNESDAY – the drive north of us to Sault (30 minutes) is amazing. The market is equally great. And when the lavender is blooming in the summertime, your picnic in the fields will be long remembered.
THURSDAY – the drive south, up and over the Luberon, to Aix-en-Provence (1 hour drive) is not too shabby either. After exploring the large and varied market, you’ll want to spend a lazy afternoon strolling from square to square in this very beautiful university town. For reference, the market also takes place on Tuesday and Saturday.
FRIDAY – just on the south side of the Luberon is Lourmarin (30 minute drive) – our choice for a very pleasant mid-size market. Combined with visits to the villages of Ansouis and Cucuron, you’ll get a nice feel for the “other side of the mountain.”