If you want a proper intro to your new French town, head to the marché. Aix-en-Provence has an open-air marché every day. The most picturesque is on Place Richelme in the old town. Here you’ll find seasonal regional produce like artichauts poivrade, courgette and courgette flowers, bunches of purple garlic, cléry strawberries from Carpentras, heaps of salad, sweet striped canteloupe from Saint Remy and more. In addition to the produce vendors there is a fish monger, an olive/tapenade/olive oil stand, charcuterie and various producers with honey, lavender and Provençal baked goods such as fougasse. The marche runs until noon when it transitions to cafe tables for the lunch crowd.
Our second favourite Aix marché experience is the adjoining markets on Place des Prêcheurs and Place Madeleine, which take over the parking areas there on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
You’ll find more locals than tourists shopping the substantial selection of produce. Head to the stand with the most senior citizens in the queue. They know the good deals.
In addition to fruit and veg, there are more cheese, charcuterie, bakery (sweet and savory) stalls here. Across the way in Place Madeleine the stalls transition into trinkets and crafts such as lavender products, olive oil soap, woven marche baskets with leather straps, olive wood tableware and even vintage handbags.
Image: Lee Ann Cafferata