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Sep 23, 2008 05:33 AM

Best Markets in France or Italy

We just returned from our vacation in France. A week in Dijon in an apartment and a week in a hotel in Paris. Our favorite part of our vacation was the week in Dijon. We loved shopping at the great historic covered market les Halles. We would buy what looked the best and take it back to the flat and try our luck at cooking and trying new foods. Our favorite find was the Epoisses cheese.

We're planning our next vacation and want to know where they have the best markets?
We would also like a village that has enough sights to visit by foot and car to keep us busy.


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  1. The epoisses you probably had was that of Jean Gaugry, Berthault only makes pasteurized and Gaugry is au lait cru and use less salt than the other makers; In the Dijon Marché, he sells the really ripe ones for 2€ and they are marvelous; last time through he gave me a tour of his 'farm' and was friendly and very generous with his time
    l found some years back that the market in Arles was otherworldly, 200 kilo tuna being sliced down on the street, buskers everywhere, a real party and fabulous stuff. Good central location for other markets and sights that are great as well. The covered marché in Lyon is also great and varied, but the larger city is just that and the country is just that, easier and more discoveries are made every day. Covered marché in Bresse is amazing as well. The super thing is that regardless of how small the town; their marché always has something unique, that makes the trip worthwhile. For example the salt marché in Guerande is great, sardine marché in Concarneu unusual, and the marchés in Normandy coast areas like Honfleur with 20 yards of mushrooms and 15 people selling only scallops are neat as well. For markets, France for me is the king, queen, and the whole court. If you like antiques as well, center in L'Isle sur Sorgues and travel around is perfect as well

    1 Reply
    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

      I googled L'Isle sur Sorgues and it looks lovely. Thanks so mch

    2. I definitely second DCM's endorsement of the covered market in Lyon. I also love the daily market along the quais of the Saone.

      Isle Sur la Sorgue's market is truly one of a kind, and not to be missed. Not far away, the Saturday market in Avignon is a gustatory delight.

      16 Replies
      1. re: ChefJune

        on what day of the week is the market in Lyon? how about other areas, are outdoor markets held on weekends only? Do the markets operate year round?

        1. re: mdietrich

          Both markets in Lyon are open every day except Sunday. and yes, both operate 52 weeks a year.

          1. re: mdietrich

            Sort of remember Arles is Saturday, L'Isle SS is weekends, but many town markets are done 2,3, or even 6 days per week. Google th site, or as with museums, whenever you show up, that is the day it is closed

            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

              We visited the Arles market this past Saturday, an we underwhelmed.
              Too crowded with narrow lanes, and too much junk.
              We did very much enjoy the market in Lyon, when we spent a week there last year.
              We have just returned to Paris after being centered in Avignon for a week.
              Wonderful location, and everything in town is walkable.
              It is a lovely town, as well.
              Much to see and do.
              We stayed at the hotel D'Europe which is costly, but any hotel inside the wall is well located.
              I can't say enough good about this hotel, and staff, and internet is free in your room, as a little bonus..
              Easy drive to so many sites.
              Gordes, Aix,, Arles, etc.
              Highly recommend it.
              The covered food market in Avignon Les Halles is open daily, closed Monday? not certain but is open on Sunday as well.
              and the produce is first rate.
              We had a wonderful brunch there on Sunday.
              At the back on the left hand side is a vendor of seafood, who has a few tables, and will serve you a meal ..
              We asked for his advice as to which oysters he would recommend, and he insisted that we order the Omaha Beach Select, as they were perfect now.
              We started with a dozen, accompanied by a flute of Champagne,
              and ordered another half dozen.
              He then brought us a dozen (no charge for the other six), which were two of each of his other selections to show us that we had made the correct choice by letting him suggest.
              He was right.
              He offered us a couple of the large spiral escargot, but we declined, as neither of us like raw snails.
              He was the most pleasant man, and our total bill was 30E

              1. re: erly

                Were the "large spiral escargots" perhaps not escargots but BULOTS? If so, you should have tried them, but cooked, not raw. I know no one who eats them raw, but they are delicious cooked, whether served hot or cold.

                1. re: CJT

                  Yes, they were Bulots.
                  If I'd know they were cooked I would have accepted his generous offer.
                  I want to go back to Avignon!!!!!

                  1. re: erly

                    Another good market is in Sainte Foy la Grande, half way between Bordeaux and Bergerac. It is in the Cotes de Duras wine area, unspectacular but pretty. I think it is held on Saturdays.
                    Cahors, a lovely town on the Lot, has an indoor market every day and an excellent outdoor market around it on Wednesdays and Saturdays. All markets in France are of course better in summer and autumn than winter.

                    1. re: Jenny Sheridan

                      The Saturday market in Uzes a short distance from Avignon and Tuesday market in Vaisons La Romaine short distance north east of Avignon are both fantastic. Many people consider them to be the two best in France.

                      1. re: Pammel

                        St. Remy de Provence has a great market. And the surrounding area has enough stuff to keep you busy for weeks.

                        1. re: Brunella

                          Although this is a food board, I would like to say that I find St.Remy depressing, unattractive, and not very lively.
                          It is an easy drive from Avignon, where we stayed for a week, and could have stayed longer.

                          1. re: erly

                            I'm sosrry you didn't enjoy St. Remy. I've always loved the town, but I also have friends who live there.

                            What were you expecting? It is a very small town, but in addition to some excellent restaurants, there's the Souleiado outlet store for great shopping, and the nearby Roman ruins... not to mention the proximity to Les Baux and Mausanne les Alpilles.

                            1. re: ChefJune

                              Hi Chef June
                              Jo tells us she wants to be in one place for a week.
                              St. Remy is not picturesque.
                              Even with friends, would you stay in St. Remy for a week?

                              1. re: erly

                                I don't know the St. Remy that is NOT picturesque. I think it is! I would stay for a week, but that would include side trips to Les Baux, Mausanne les Alpilles, Isle sur la Sorgue, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, and other nearby towns of interest to foodies and winies..... you might suggest she check out mascornud dot com.

                                1. re: ChefJune

                                  I fully agree with ChefJune. St. Remy is a nice town and its market is always enjoyable. A visit to the Antiquités on the outskirts of the town is worthwhile. But I second her suggestion of including St. Remy as part of a series of towns to visit in the area: Les Baux de Provence (especially its chateau if you want picturesque), Fontaine de Vaucluse, Gordes, Roussillon, Baumes de Venise (wonderful muscat to taste and buy), Chateauneuf du Pape (go to the Chocolatier at the entrance to the town and try their wine and chocolate pairings for 10 Euros), Gigondas, Vaison la Romaine, etc. Plenty to see and do plus fine wines and good restaurants all over the place.

                  2. re: erly

                    just re-reading my post.
                    Utah beach not Omaha beach oysters, and they were so good!!!

            2. Try Toulouse. The covered market is open every day except Monday. The market is a joy to behold & shop in.
              Then just when all that food makes you hungry you can go upstairs & try one of the restaurants.
              All in all a very repeatable experience. The rose city has plenty to see & do with a very lively cultural life. All without the hectic pace of Paris. There is so much to do outside the city that you are spoiled for choice.
              Give it a try, you'll love it.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Yank

                Thank you for suggesting Toulouse.
                We were just mulling which city to use as a center for our next tip, and this an exellent idea.

                1. re: erly

                  Have an old friend from there, born and bred, staying with me now in Paris, and l visit them every two years or so. Old town is wonderful, easy to get around and lovely. Many surrounding communities are nice as well. Perfect weather now.