Sunny town square in Arles, Provence.
Provence has been on my list of “high priority destinations” for years. It’s famous for many things – sunflowers and lavender, olive trees, Van Gogh, wines from the Cotes du Rhone and Chateaunneuf-du-Pape, the Avignon papacy… I could go on and on. In just a few days in Provence, I fell completely in love with the entire region. Hubby and I stayed in the charming medieval city of Vaison-la-Romaine, and if I ever deal with the hassle of putting my house on the market and moving, it will be to move there. I loved Vaison-la-Romaine – and all of Provence – just that much.
One thing that Provence is particularly famous for is its market days. Every Provencal city and town – from the tiniest backwater to Avignon itself – has a market day. Sure, they’ve gotten a little bit touristy and some of the stalls are better than others, but there’s still no place like a Provencal market to showcase the best the region has to offer, from spices to dried lavender to fresh baskets of veggies and colorful linens. Hubby and I knew we had to make it to one of the markets, and we heard the Arles market was one of the best. So, fresh off the plane in Marseille, sleep-deprived to the point of being woozy, we drove straight to Arles for market day. It was worth it.
First view upon entering the market lanes – charcuterie and crowds.
There were olives everywhere. I believe this was when I started falling in love.
Fromage? Oui, sil vous plait.
The market was heady with the fragrance of spices.
Ready for ratatouille!
The produce was some of the freshest and most colorful I’ve ever seen.
Lavender – the pride of Provence.
Visiting a Provencal market was a dream come true for this foodie and farmers market junkie. And if the sights and aromas weren’t enough, hubby and I had our first bite of France in the Arles market – a sample of pistou (a Provencal tapenade) on fresh bread. It tasted like briny sunshine… dare I say, like Provence.