Market Days in Provence

Market Days in Provence

 Visiting the L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Sunday Market

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue means the island on the river Sorgue. It is the crystal-clear Sorgue which gave birth to the town, the water wheels scattered about provide the clue. The wheels drove textile mills, and the textile business is the source of the wealth still evident in the architecture.  The economy of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is no longer driven by the river, but by antiques.

In the Luberon area in the Provence region of France lies the largest outdoor market, The L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Sunday Market.  It begins around 9 a.m. on Sundays only.

It is a food market, flea market and antique market all rolled into one.  It is so versatile one can purchase basic vegetables to fine art!  This market is located in the town that is nicknamed “Venice of Provence” because of its proximity to the Sorgue River.  It is also well known as being the second largest antique center in France — the first being Paris, of course.

The best way to experience any of these markets is to stay close by and spend a couple of days, taking your time to walk through and take it all in.    One of the nicest places to stay near Isle sur la Sorgue is the stunning hotel, Bastide de Gordes.   Spacious rooms, impeccable service and an excellent restaurant.   A luxurious address in the South, but certainly not the only option for this area.  With your own research you can find accommodations at varying price points to match any budget.

French Open Air Markets

Open air markets or le marche (le mar-shay) are always held in the mornings, some starting at 7 a.m. and open until noon or 1 p.m.  There are countless Open Air Markets in France, but these mentioned in this post are all in the Provence region of France.

These markets are alive with traditional crafts and is generated by the visitors who visit that are looking specifically for genuine locally produced items.

There are so many “good” laws in France and one in particular is that price tags must state the origin of all produce – so be on the look out for the word “du pays” which means local.

Pezenas Market

A special market favorite of the Fargasons is the market at Pezenas which runs all day on Saturday. It is colorful, picturesque and a good general market.  This is the one and only market to visit on a Saturday in the Languedoc Roussillon region.  According to Ann Fargason, “this market takes over the whole town and offers a wonderful array of artisanale food, clothing, flowers and general nic-nacs.  This is the place to be!”

Below you can see how picturesque the streets are in route to market.

Ann says, “It does get extremely popular in the summer, but is well worth it for the atmosphere.  It is in the heart of the former capital of Languedoc, but the market best sums up what Pezenas is all about.”

An arial view of the market in the town of Pezenas

Getting from Paris to Provence

High-speed TGV trains run directly from Paris to Aix-en-Provence in as little as three hours. Almost all trains on this route are TGV Duplex services so you can choose between upper deck and lower deck seating. Opt for the top level for the best views.

Where is Pezenas, France?

Pezenas is located in the South of France. It’s about an hour’s drive from Montpellier, and 20 km (about 12 miles) northeast of the town of Beziers. The nearest train station is at Beziers.  You can see in this map how close you are to the Mediterranean Sea.

Where is Sourge, France?

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is located just 25 km from Avignon, and is just 70 km (approx 43 miles) from Marseille.

There is no direct train into the city center of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. However, those who want to come shop the markets here can easily get to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue without a car. There are a few different bus lines that connect L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue with nearby Avignon (which is also on a TGV line for those wishing to travel by high-speed train).

This post was just a tid bit of information on a couple of markets in France – We hope the few links provided will jump start your “market adventure”.  In order to find a market where you might be staying in France just do a little research beforehand or contact the concierge at your hotel or apartment building.  Experiencing the local customs truly does make France irresistible.

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!



Ever dream of exploring wine country in France?     

Exploring France in a different way allows you to see France as a real local.  Biking just might be something to consider! Burgundy France is one of the best areas to visit, housing some of the best wine vineyards in the world — French wine in the Burgundy area is superior!

A potential scenario of wine selections

The adventure begins upon arrival via train in Beaune, France.  Nestled inside massive fourteenth-century ramparts, this medieval town is the wine capital of Burgundy —  BEAUNE!

WINE TIP:   the wines in Burgundy are made from one grape – Pinot Noir

Image result for images of Cote De Beaune vineyards

If you do choose to bike through wine country you might find yourself on a leisurely ride through the vineyards and villages of of Cote De Beaune.  Here you could just possibly have your first sip of wine, which more than likely be the sparkling Cremant De Bourgogne.

WINE TIP:   visits to BEAUNE  increases in November for the annual wine auction, run by Christies.  The finest of wines are dragged from the basements and sold to the general public.

Beaune France

From there wine tastings in Meursault with Pommard, a hearty, but elegant wine to enliven the palate — the sophisticated Volnay wine and a buttery Meursault.

Excellent wines of choice…

Crémant de Bourgogne is a perfect pre-dinner drink, and in no way takes away from the fact that it is also a perfect accompaniment to food.  With the white and roses only  from this area being sparkling,  meticulously applied traditional skills from 1830 are enforced to achieve high-quality vinification.

Image result for images of Cremant De Bourgogne wine

Pommard wine, a rich and “wild” red wine, gives aromatic hints redolent of blackberry, bilberry, or gooseberry, cherry pit and ripe plum! It is a wine deep red in colour, powerfully aromatic, solid and trustworthy.  It collaborates well with furry or feathered game, braised or roasted.   As well beefsteak, lamb or hearty stewed poultry responds well with this wine.  It is also a natural partner for cheeses that have developed flavours such as:  Époisses, Langres and Soumaintrain, or Comté.

Image result for images of pommard wines

Volnay wine is a delicate and feminine wine of Bourgogne.  Almost like biting in to a piece of fruit this wine has aromas of cherries, violets and perhaps gooseberries.  With time and aging it may give hints of different spices and cooked prunes.  This wine does well with glazed or roasted poultry dishes, which can receive the fruit and spice aromas of the wine.

 Meursault wine has a fresh taste of toasted almonds or hazelnuts with back flavors of mayflower, lime, elder and verbena — butter, honey and citrus fruits faintly present as well. It accompanies fish, veal and poultry very as well as grilled lobster, crawfish, or king prawns in sauce. Even blue cheeses and foie gras take to it immediately.

France is famous for its generous selection of wines – whites, sparklings, reds — sweet, dry, etc.  Whether you tour France on a bike through vineyards for complete immersion in the wine culture or if you just order a glass of wine in a Paris bistro, you will not be disappointed!

Our French culinary shop, Aubergines, plays host to many accessories of wine.  You might be in the market for a wine corker if you make your own wine, or if you like the rustic initial wine making process you might afford yourself one of our grape baskets or demi johns used for the fermentation of wine.

Adding any of these to your wine table or kitchen make for great conversation pieces.



Original use for the grape basket…


FRENCH WINE GLASSES – are always in abundance at Aubergines!

Come visit our shops and see how much we have in stock from France that can make opening a simple bottle of wine fun and interesting!

Aubergine Antiques located at 315 De La Mare Ave. Fairhope, AL 36532 or call us at 251-928-0902

CHEERS!   À Votre Santé!!

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!






Image result for image of family owned french bistro

BISTREAU, from the French western dialect, meaning innkeeper.

A bistro or bistrot /bi-stro/, is, in its original Parisian incarnation, a small restaurant, serving moderately priced simple meals in a modest setting. Bistros are defined mostly by the foods they serve. French home-style cooking, and slow-cooked foods like cassoulet a bean stew, are typical.

The word may have originated from the Russian word bystro, “quickly”. It entered the French language during the Battle of Paris in 1814.  Russian officers who wanted to be served quickly would shout “bystro“.

Image result for images of bistros in France

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A French Summer Soup

Soupe Au Pistou

A good-for-you French stew

Low fat, flavorful — this soup will bowl you over. In France, where foie gras rules, this soup stands out: It’s low fat and vegetarian.

soupe au pistou recipe

This summer soup is a Provençal dish that is iconic for France.  It is made up of cubed vegetables with a tablespoon of pistou on top.  Pistou means “pounded” — that is, pound together the ingredients: garlic, fresh basil and olive oil….much like pesto as we know it here in the U.S.

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Imari Ware and its special connection with France

The Japanese porcelain industry was actually pioneered by Korean potters living in Japan– Many of who came to Japan during two hostile invasions of Korea.

Continue reading “IMARI PORCELAIN”