Shopping at a street market is a way of life in France – and for a very good reason. Markets can be fun, colourful, traditional. And, you can find bargains and seasonal products made or grown locally that you can’t always get in the supermarkets.
Buying a locally produced foie gras or Saucisson from an artisan producer at the market is a great way to sample French gastronomic wonder. The sellers nearly always let you have a taste before you buy which is great for those who are just not sure about it.
If you’re compiling your essential list of what to do in France and you want to get a feel for the real French culture then a market is a great way to go about it. French people are obsessed with great food and you can easily get a taste for it too!
Where to find a street market in France
In almost every area of France you will find a street market pretty much every day of the week in one town or another. They vary in size from the tiny markets aimed at local housewives in pretty much every small village to the huge weekly markets where you’ll find hundreds of stalls selling just about everything!
French website Marches de France has a helpful market locator for the whole of France.
Most markets operate in the morning, opening around 8.00 a.m. – 9.00 a.m. And generally the stalls are closing or closed by about 13.00. Some stalls are very professional. Others are home growers keen to offload their surplus goods – veg, jam, handmade butter or cheese etc. You can generally find food stalls that will provide you with a take away lunch to have after your visit.
It’s a good idea to take a cool bag with you if the weather is warm and you’re buying fresh produce. Also take bags with you as most stall holders generally only provide flimsy bags. They’re not much good if you’re buying a few kilos of fresh fruit or veg.
We’ve put together a list of the main markets in Pas-de-Calais – great for day trippers from the UK. We’ve also tried to give you a flavour of what else there is to do in the town the market is in.
Its worth noting that the markets can change with the seasons. For instance the may be much bigger in the summer. There are also seasonal markets on occasion. Such as the famous Christmas markets and if that’s your interest you can read more about that in our French Christmas Markets page. And there are night time markets in the warmer months.
Don’t forget the second hand markets too – the braderies and brocantes, flea markets and antique markets for which France is famous.
5 marvellous markets near Calais
The very best markets in France – officially
The markets of Provence