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Market of the Month: Aix-en-Provence, Place des Prêcheurs

Besides munching on French comfort food (I’ve got a few stews in the making) nothing beats the winter blues like a trip to Aix-en-Provence. Our last day trip was quite a few weeks back – just in time to visit the Christmas market and take in all the sights, sounds, & sweets of the holiday season.

Apart from being all the dazzling things that Aix is during the holidays, it is also incredibly, impossible-to-park, crowded.  Hence our parking-garage hike down through those lovely avenues to reach the city center & delightful Cours Mirabeau.

And as often happens when you’re traveling, or in our case, just a bit lost, we stumbled upon the Saturday market at Place des Prêcheurs.

I wouldn’t say this is a big market as Provençal markets go (although I think this was more due to the season as I’ve read it’s normally quite large) but one thing that is certainly occupies a large space is the bright pottery on display.  Even though my thoughts were more on the wintery-side, I haven’t often found good Provencal pottery that doesn’t cost a small fortune.  These bits & pieces are quite striking and moderately priced.

The market also offers woven baskets (a must-have for any South of France market-goer worth their weight in tapenade), various textiles, and some downright “interesting” antiques.  It’s not exactly the Parisian high street, but definitely worth a peek.

Where:

Place des Prêcheurs next to the Palais de Justice.

When:

Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Special Interest:

Well, really everything on Cours Mirabeau is worth doing.  Granted I don’t have too many euros to drop in the fancy boutiques, but there’s always the cafes, restaurants, and bookstores to while away the afternoon – not to mention all those lovely bakeries & patisseries. Our new favorite, Riederer is just around the corner from the market. Reason enough to leave a bit of room in your Provençal basket.

 

About Tuula

I’m a 40-ish American woman & I’ve been blogging about my travels around belle Provence since moving here in 2010. You can also find my travel writing in International Living magazine, Charming Small Hotels (France), & Living France magazine. Bienvenue!

17 comments on “Market of the Month: Aix-en-Provence, Place des Prêcheurs

  1. I love those cheery mugs with their curvy handles. 🙂 I’d happily purchase a whole shelf of those to brighten up my kitchen. 🙂

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    • I think they’re perfect to brighten a kitchen and of course how can we pass up anything that’s homemade 🙂 Lots of love in that pottery!

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  2. We love Aix-en-Provence. If you ever need Provencale fabric, make sure you go to La Victoire. It’s a wonderful fabric store, not a tourist shop, very helpful owners, near the Hotel de Ville. We bought all of the fabric for the table cloths and curtains for our Bistro there. The owner Marie-Helene had them fabricated for us on very short notice, I think at a place in Marseille.

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    • Great advice Michel. I think I may have passed by there before… Anyhow, I love that square in front of the Hotel de Ville, especially with the pretty fountain and clock tower – not to mention the nice ambiance of the outdoor cafés. Sounds like a lovely shop & I’d love to visit your Bistro if I’m ever in Northern California – must be a very special place!

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  3. Thank you for the wonderful pictures of the Aix Marche. We can’t decide in six years if we want to spend six months in Aix or Antibes. They are both wonderful. I have this wonderful Victorian figurine of a lovely lady, very small to get on the airplane. I bought it at the Thursday Aix market. Just sitting on Cours Mirabeau and enjoying a cup of coffee and watching all the people is a great experience everyone should experience once in their lifetime. Love your blog and beautiful pictures. My friend in Apt says it is warm there for January. Lucky you as it is 20 degrees above zero or about -10C here in the tundra of Minnesota.

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    • Many thanks for your kind comment Karen. I agree, both Anitbes & Aix are wonderful… I just wish I had more time to get to both of them. I read a travel article a few years ago that said Cours Mirabeau was the most elegant boulevard in Europe – don’t think they’re too far off there… it’s gorgeous any season, but I especially love it in the fall when the leaves are changing, so pretty. And it’s true about the weather, we’ve had a very mild winter so far – definitely feel very lucky! Hope you’re staying warm in Minnesota 🙂

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  4. Anne Woodyard

    Oh my I can’t wait to return! We’ll be staying in Ambiance d’Aix in early February, and you can be sure we’ll be at the markets every day!

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    • Lucky you Anne! The weather has been really great for this time of year too – still chilly but with loads of sunshine. Hope you’ll have the same weather in February…. perfect for roaming the markets in Aix!

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  5. Anne Woodyard

    Oh my I can’t wait to return! We’ll be staying in Ambiance d’Aix in early February, and you can be sure we’ll be at the markets every day!

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  6. Tuula – I love your pick for market of the month! During my first trip to Aix, I bought a vase made from a Provencal fabric at one of Aix’s many beautiful markets. It then became the inspiration piece for decorating my dining & living room, and the cause of many jokes friends made about the very colorful rooms. I’m not sure if it was from this market or another, but your post brought back both that memory & that of you and I searching for the correct elevator to the parking garage after our wonderful day in Aix!

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    • Ohh Kathy, we had such a blast when you were here and really wish you would come back and visit soon. We definitely needed more time in Aix – plus to get to the chocolate tour at Puryicard… I’m dreaming of it! I can also just imagine your Provençal fabric… that is totally something I would do too, create a room all around one piece! Plus that Provençal “feeling” is catching, lol … hope all is well bella!

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  7. Holy what a treasure trove! You are so lucky living in the south with all the great food and non food markets! Jealous!
    XO
    Sam

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    • Too sweet Sam! Hope we’ll see you in the south one of these days.. we’ve got a lot of great markets to explore. The ones in Aix are especially fabulous 🙂 Salut from France!

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  8. I used to live in Aix and would never miss a weekend at the market there. Definitely fond memories and terrific buys!
    Ashley

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    • Thanks for your comment Ashley 🙂 Lucky (lucky!) you having lived in Aix.. I only wish it was closer to us – such a terrific city and above all, I find it really relaxing whenever we go. And of course the markets are one of the best parts!

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  9. Love your site!

    Where do you recommend purchasing table runners or napkins of the Mistral branding? Bought some in 2001 and want more! Coming soon…and staying at Hotel Roi Rene.

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    • Hello,

      Just saw your comment and we had an “expert” write a post about tablecloths a few
      weeks back.. she found the best shop that she’d come across in Provence for tablecloths is La Victoire in Aix en Provence.

      I actually passed by there last week and they have a very large selection.

      Hope you find what you’re looking for and bon voyage! Tuula

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