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The very best markets in France – it’s official!

Everyone loves a French street market – from the visitors who flock to France to experience the good life to the locals who shop at their favourite each week. There are markets in almost every town and village. From the grand street marchés, to covered markets called Les Halles, to authentic street markets of Paris and in tiny villages where there may be only a few stalls, but everyone has their favourite. In 2018, a contest aimed to discover – which is the most loved market of the French? The “Votre Plus Beau Marché” competition run by TV channel TF1 was hugely popular with voters. 25 contenders from all around France went through to the finals and when voting ended in May 2018 there was a clear winner – lovely Sanary-sur-Mer in the Var Department, Provence-Alpes-Cote-D’Azur.

We look at the winner and the contenders in mainland France and Corsica…

Sanary-sur-mer Market, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur: Best market in France

The colour, scents, sounds and flavours of this vibrant market on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea make it a real stand out, happy place to be. The town is located in the heart of Provence, between Marseille and Toulon and its wiggly streets are filled with beautiful buildings. At the friendly market you’ll find around 300 stalls. Honey, olive oil, wine, cheese, spices, fruit and veg plus of course the freshest sea food are on offer. And you’ll find colourful baskets, flowers, pottery and table cloths. Wander under the shady plane trees along the Allées Estienne d’Orves and soak up the ambiance.

It gets busy in the summer months and will probably be even more so now that it’s been recognised as France’s favourite market, so get there early to avoid the crowds and if you need a parking space, have more chance of finding one (there’s plenty of paid parking).

Pick up ingredients for a fabulous French picnic and head to the local beach after-wards to enjoy it while watching the world go by. Market day: Wednesday 08h-13h; www.sanarysurmer.com/

Colmar market, Alsace

The market in the town of Colmar has been going for more than 150 years. In days gone by market gardeners would arrive by boat with their wares using the canals that cross Colmar giving it the nickname Little Venice.

The lovely old city of half-timbered houses looks like a scene out of fairy tale and it’s the perfect location for a spot of shopping. Expect to see plenty of local specialities at the market from pretzels to sauerkraut. Covered market daily except Monday; Wednesday street market, Quartier Est

Quai du  Roi market, Orleans, Loire

A lively food only market held on the banks of the Loire River. Local produce including mushrooms, wine and cheese – delicious! Saturday 07.30-12.30

Belfort Market, Franche-Comté

Located on Rue Dr Frery this foodie covered market is held in a spacious 100 year old building with huge arched windows in an Eiffel-like metal structure. Foodie perfection. Wednesday 07h-12h

Amboise market, Loire Valley

A short walk from Amboise city centre, this large market is one of the most popular in the region and is a former favorite market. Sunday and Friday mornings

Cahors Market, Midi-Pyrenees

A 700 year-old market at the foot of a UNESCO World heritage site, the magnificent Saint-Etienne cathedral, fabulous local produce make Cahors market a superstar. Wednesday and Saturday mornings

Uzès market, Languedoc-Roussillon

In the centre of Uzes, in the enchanting Place aux Herbes the market oozes charm. Spectacularly tasty and oh-so pretty… Wednesday and Saturday mornings

Chatillon-sur-Chalaronne,Rhone-Alpes

Great atmosphere, fabulous food in a stunning building that has inspired painters to capture its vibrant good looks. A must see in the area. Saturday morning

L’Île-Rousse Market, Corsica

Housed in an almost two centuries old building, a classified historic monument, small but the food is outstanding. Daily

Puy-en-Velay market, Auvergne

The market has taken place since the 15th century in the elegant squares of this town.   Delectable dairy and scrumptious produce. Wednesday and Saturday mornings

Nancy Market, Lorraine

A lovely covered market in historic Nancy which has been open since 1848 on the site where a market has been held since the 15th century. Superb produce. Tuesday to Saturday 7h-19h

Versailles Market, Ile de France

Feast like a king at this fabulous and vibrant market. It’s so worth the trip if you’re in the area. Tuesday, Friday and Sunday from 7h to 14h; indoor covered market daily except Monday.

Royan Market, Poitou-Charentes

Held in a dramatic 1950s building – excellent produce. Came second in the contest! Daily 7h-13h

Issigeac Market Dordogne

Colourful market in a beautiful location and a major attraction in the area. Sunday morning

Arras Market, Nord Pas de Calais

At the foot of France’s favourite monument, the Belfry of Arras, is a grand market on the Places des Heroes, where it’s been held since the Middle Ages. It spreads into surrounding streets and is a busy, bustling affair with all things foodie, clothes and household goods. Wednesday and Saturday mornings

Vannes Market, Brittany

Held in the historic centre of Vannes, the market has a great atmosphere. Mainly food and clothes. Wednesday and Saturday mornings

Brive-la-Gaillarde market, Limousin

In the historic centre the weekly market is an institution for the locals and a must see for visitors. Great local produce, friendly and authentic. With more than 300 stalls, its a grand market and one you won’t leave empty handed – far too much temptation. Tuesday,  Thursday, Saturday morning

Troyes Market, Champagne-Ardenne

Covered market selling scrumptious cheeses, bread and more in the lovely town of Troyes with its half-timbered houses, museums, cobbled streets and fabulous restaurants. Daily

Dieppe market, Normandy

A large friendly, bustling market with around 200 exhibitors, superb shopping for local specialities from cider to fish. Saturday morning

Saint-Valery-sur-Somme market, Picardie

With stalls laid out alongside the quay and fabulous views over the Somme Bay, this authentic, charming market is simply lovely as is the town of Saint Valery-sur-SommeSunday Morning

Toucy Market,Burgundy

There’s been a market in Toucy since the Middle Ages. It’s held in the streets whatever the weather and it’s THE place to go for the freshest veg and artisan products like cheese and bread. Saturday Morning

Nantes market, Pays de la Loire

Talensac indoor market, almost 100 years old, is the only covered market market in Nantes, located in the Hauts-Pavés, Saint-Félix district. One of the best known and most popular markets in the department. Daily except Monday 07h – 13.30h

Saint Lo Market, Normandy

A very popular market, lots of lush local products and a real winner in terms of fun, friendliness and fabulous food. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays on place Général de Gaulle

More on markets

Best markets of Provence
5 marvellous markets near Calais – perfect for day trippers
Samoens market, one of the best markets in the French Alps
Antiques markets of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Provence
Markets of Nice, southern France
Dijon market, Burgundy, foodie heaven

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