There are markets every day in Provence, with each town setting aside a day or two a week. Some are just food and necessities; others have large crafts areas and some markets are good sources of inexpensive clothing as well as designer clothing. One of the largest, at least in summer, and featuring nearly everything, is the Wednesday market in Saint-Remy-de-Provence.
We got a good taste of it when we arrived for our five-day stay in this gorgeous town southwest of Avignon, because we planned to arrive on market day to enjoy the market and stock our apartment. As we arrived at the ring of small boulevards that surround the historic center (they follow the route of the former city wall), we discovered that that parking that was not full of market booths was already full of cars...and it was still early!
Eventually, after passing sights like this, and traffic like this, we found a fairly distant but available space and walked back to immerse ourselves in the market. No problem finding our way in: Just look down any block coming off the boulevard, and there it is.
We planned to walk around a bit before choosing anything, as we do in our neighborhood Greenmarket in New York, but there was no clear route or direction to follow, and many samples to try. Soon, things just started piling up in our re-usable shopping bags: Local cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, multi-grain bread, ham, jam, smoked salmon, white beans, cranberry beans and a melon.
We started to worry a bit about our accumulation because we really had nowhere to put it! The apartment would not be ready until 1 pm, and it was now only 11 am, But a solution was at hand. Saint-Remy is, like most towns with a big tourist trade, rich in cafes, and that's the one we went to—the Grand Cafe Riche. For no more than the price of tea and hot chocolate, they graciously lent us a table, out of the sun and with a view of all the goings-on. By the time we started getting restless, it was time to meet our Airbnb host.
We didn't have far to go, because the apartment is just off the ring of boulevards, on one of the side streets closed for the market. In fact, these peaches and nectarines were right outside our door! There's also a Saturday market, heavier in crafts, and that's been at our door as well. It's been fun, and a great location. Restaurants and stores all around, and a free organ concert at the church across the street.
Hope you enjoy these pictures as much as we enjoyed the market!
Above: back and front ends of porchetta, a specialty from Italy, a stuffed pork roast made from an entire de-boned pig.
A million kinds of vinegar, based on practically anything that grows in Provence...