My family and friends know that I have a serious farmers’ market obsession. I especially love visiting markets when we travel, and since my in-laws live in the beautiful sunny Aix-en-Provence – better known as simply Aix (and pronounced like the letter X) it is one of my favorite ones to visit. Of course, since we don’t live there I have to limit my desire to buy everything they’re selling and usually settle for some berries, apricots, cheese and a few other things that we can take back to the in-laws without risk of overstuffing their fridge (which they already have full since they know we love to eat).
Nicolas (husband) and the kids tend to get bored pretty quickly of my need to take a gazillion photos of all the amazing looking fruits, vegetables, cheese, charcuterie, and other goods. They usually end up at a nearby coffee shop waiting for me to finish. During the last visit I was able to get my kids into taking photos (it made sightseeing with them so much fun), so at least for the first part they were walking with me through the market and snapping shots of the food – yes, I know, we look like crazy tourists.
The market sets up in the Old Town part of downtown Aix, and there are different locations for fresh foods vs flowers, clothing/textiles, and antiques. The main farmers’ market is located at Place Richelme and is now a daily market. There are a couple of additional ones at Place de la Madeleine and Place de Precheurs that are open on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. They are all within walking distance of each other. If you are looking for souvenirs, I love the textile market on Cours Mirabeau (Tuesdays & Thursdays), it’s a great place to find the typical Provençal style tablecloths/napkins/baskets, and it’s one of those places where you can barter and negotiate the price – especially if you are buying several items. My husband (and now the kids) love to barter and negotiate, it doesn’t hurt to ask and it’s a good way to practice your language skills.
I’ve only been to the Aix farmers’ market during the summer months and it’s really the best time to go. Admiring all the amazing local produce, from the perfectly ripe tomatoes to the colorful bell peppers, really gives a sense and feel for the inspiration behind the local cuisine. The berries, from the bright red strawberries and currants, the apricots and the melons are my favorite summer fruits from Provence. The market has more than just produce: you will also find freshly baked bread, a mouthwatering selection of cheeses, local honey, fruit preserves, olives, and olive oil. They also have fresh fish and seafood for sale, and I even seen live chickens in cages that you can purchase. There’s also wine and beer, and yes, you can taste it.
The photos posted here were taken during our trip last summer (2013) and a few are from previous trips. You can find a detailed map and schedule of the Aix-En-Provence markets here: http://www.aixenprovence.fr/IMG/pdf/plaquettemarchedersiten.pdf