Greetings dear readers and friends. Well, it’s been a bit of a funny spring so far in the south of France. We’ve had a lot of rain, sun, and then rain again… even up to this past week when we were hit with surprise thunderstorms. But the good news to come out of all this wet weather is that Provençal gardens and wildflowers are blooming like crazy. The tomatoes we planted at the end of April are about 4 feet high and our house is awash in a sea of green. It’s a very pretty time of year.
And of course one of our favorite activities at this time of year is visiting the local markets. Last weekend, we attended the “J’aime mon marché” (I Love my Market) day in our “new” hometown of Ollioules.
The Ollioules market takes place in the center of the village on Thursdays and Saturdays (8am-12:30pm), and, like most Provençal markets, it’s a feast for the senses.
Here you have all of the standard fruit and veg of the season, as well as specialty products like olives, tapenade, and charcuterie (salumi). Everything is beautifully presented and most products are local, from the Var region. We bought a very sweet honeydew melon grown in La Garde, about a 15-minute drive from Ollioules.
The other great thing about the Ollioules market is that the square where it’s hosted becomes a central meeting-place for events of all sorts. We’ve attended “American Vintage” day, a soupe au pistou festival, a plant & flower fair, and the village’s famous olive festival all on that same square – Place Jean Jaurès.
At the “I Love my Market” celebration, numerous stands were offering tastings (fresh goat cheese, tapenade, olives) and there were also cooking demonstrations – how to make aioli (as a main dish) and strawberry tiramisu. Music, games, and a chance to win some “I Love my Market” merchandise rounded out the morning.
If you haven’t thought of visiting the Ollioules market (or have no idea where it is!), I must confess that I find it a bit overlooked in comparison with its more-famous neighbors like Sanary-sur-Mer. I think you would be pleasantly surprised by what the village has to offer. Since it’s a bit off the beaten track, even though it’s only 10 minutes from the autoroute (highway), you’re sure to have a very authentic “Provençal market” experience and get a chance to really shop like a local. Plus, it’s just about as pretty as any south-of-France village can get…
Wishing you a very bon weekend… and happy shopping!
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