FOR THE LOVE OF.......A FRENCH MARKET!
I am, and always have been, a little obsessed with markets, and especially food markets.
Since childhood, the array of interesting stalls appearing like magic in the early hours to start market day, has fascinated me. The gathering of interested shoppers from far and near, the various stall holder characters, the smells and sights and buzzing atmosphere, have all been a curiosity and draw.
Here in the UK, my favourite destination has to be Borough Market in London for foodie heaven and on a much smaller, simpler scale, our little Friday market here in our local Kent market town is part of my favourite weekly ritual, to stock up on beautiful fresh produce, fish, meat, olives, cheese and flowers for the week ahead. This is of course by far a more enjoyable way to shop than in the supermarket, which I use only for basic essentials, and supports the local community too. There is a buzz in the atmosphere as everyone flocks to buy from the market, and in turn, our lovely selection of local shops and cafés are rewarded with more custom.
|Market square - Aix-en-Provence|
When on our travels, the local markets are a priority on my itinerary, even if I don't plan to be cooking at all. There is so much to be gleaned from local culture by visiting them. A feel for the people and what they are putting in their baskets tells us so much about their lifestyle.
Followers of my Instagram @sophiahomelifestyle will know that we have recently been in Aix-en-Provence, visiting my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, at their beautiful home just outside Aix.
Our few days there fortuitously coincided with market day....perfect timing!
Well, on my 'market barometer' I have to say that Aix's market scores highly indeed! Stretching out across this beautiful university city, a visual feast unfolds. A breathtaking array of the freshest produce, brought in from the surrounding Provence region, along with many wonderful local artisan products, including hand made soaps, lavender bags, biscuits, chocolates....I could go on....the list is endless! Also many clothes and accessories stalls, of which many were selling some very nice quality things, and not just the usual tat! My lovely neice Zöe (who was our shopping companion) and I, could not resist these fun suede and cotton 'Star' bags!
Aix's beautiful architecture...
Delicious artisan breads....
A wonderful array of heritage tomatoes...
An amazing selection of different flavoured saucisson...
Oils, vinegars, herbs and spices...
One square alone, showcases the stunning flower market....I could have bought it all, if my suitcase and BA would have allowed!
We ran out of time on this visit, but look forward to exploring the beautiful city of Aix more in the future. It is the home of one of my favourite post impressionist painters 'Cezanne', and a visit to his childhood home and studio are most definitely on my list for next time.
Do you have any favourite markets around the world? If so, I would so love to hear from you!