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Market Day in Provence – a delight for the senses

With the recent heavy rains of late I thought a summer video would cheer us all up. This is a short film I created of a summer’s Market Day in Provence.

I was in Lorgues in May to create a short video for Tessa Baker of Paint Provence with Tess. Tessa and I had talked many times about filming her watercolour painting trips. We finally decided the end of May would be great as the lavender fields would be in bloom.

Consequently I drove over to her lovely Lorgues farmhouse very early that Tuesday morning. Just by looking at the dawn sky you knew it was going to be one of those glorious summer’s day Provence is famous for.  It spoke of cobalt blue skies, dazzling bright light and penetrating heat. Perfect.

I pulled into her driveway and managed a quick hello to everyone before we charged off towards the town centre. A feast of croissants and coffee awaited us at one of the bistrots overlooking the market stalls. Now nicely caffeinated, Tessa’s group went and immersed themselves, somewhat gleefully I might add, in the market. As did I.

We spent a good hour before dragging ourselves back to the cars. But more fun was in store as we roared off along tight winding roads. Our destination? Lac de Sainte-Croix (a man-made lake of stunning blue water) located in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. And it’s here that Tessa took us to her favourite spot. And where, for a few peaceful hours, she and her group settled down to paint this extraordinary landscape – now covered with masses of lavender bushes in flower.

With painting tables folded and everyone back in the cars we then headed across to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and spent two very pleasant hours there. If you dream of visiting a typical Provençal village – this one is utterly delightful. By now the sun was setting, my day was done, and it was time for me to return home. Waving goodbye to Tessa and my new found friends, I drove away with some good footage, even better memories and, yes, a fair bit of sunburn too!

Market Day in Provence

Nearly every village and town has its own market. Most have one a week but some, like Aix-en-Provence, hold three a week. Markets have been the heart of Provençal life since the Middle Ages. Market day in Provence has an atmosphere of bonhomie and consequently a magic all of its own. I love the way the French have turned the act of shopping into an art. They are connoisseurs of the important things in life. And food is high on that list. Especially fresh local produce.

Everywhere you look, you’ll see a local greet someone with a handshake, a wave of the hand or la bise. They’ll often stop for coffee (or something stronger) at their favourite bistrot. And they’ll stop and chat with stall holders now almost like old friends having shopped at the market for years. Tasty cube-size cuts of cheese, ham, olives and salami are offered and enjoyed. A market day in Provence is special. It’s a social event.

Lorgues Market

Lorgues’ market is considered to be a grand marché and one of the largest held in the Var. It is held every Tuesday morning  and really worth visiting if you’re in the area. It’s about an hour away from Cannes and a bit further if you’re staying in Nice but then you could make a day of it. Starting with Lorgues market you could either drive on to Aix-en-Provence or go in the opposite direction and spend the afternoon in St Tropez.

As with all markets it’s best to arrive early. Follow in the steps of the locals do and take your time. Stop for a coffee or nibble on bite-size tasty treats.  Most of all, treat your senses to the myriad of scents and fragrances as you meander past the scores of different stalls.

By 1pm the market starts to close and vendors begin packing up. With stalls gone and the streets cleared, restaurants and café owners set out their tables and chairs ready to serve hungry diners. Meanwhile traffic flows back into the streets and Lorgues returns to normal until the next Tuesday.

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I hope you find this blog fun to read and of interest. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with me. I hope you enjoy Treasures of Provence and all that it offers …

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