After living in San Francisco for years and being spoiled by some of the best produce in the world, I now have an obsession with farmers markets. Next to harvesting vegetables straight from the farm, the market is usually the freshest place to get food and provides incredible insight into the culture of a place.
In France, in particular, the farmers markets are where most locals do their shopping (locals do know best!) and in the south during the summer, you will find a market set up in every village once or twice a week. With regional specialties, a huge variety of delicious food, and even items to decorate your home in French country chic, you will enjoy wandering the stalls for anything and everything!
Being that I’m a rather picky eater, the food is the biggest draw for me. I like to stick to a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, cheese, a little bread, and light protein, and the farmers market allows me to pick up nearly everything in one go. So when my husband and I were lucky enough to be invited to stay at a family friend’s home a block from the beach in Saint-Tropez, I had to check out the local market and make sure the kitchen was stocked full of healthy options!
We arrived at Place des Lices first thing in the morning, just as the sun was rising over the market. The Saturday before, the stalls had been inundated with cruise ship tourists who had disembarked by the hundreds all at once, so we tried again in the early hours of Tuesday to be ahead of the crowds, and the heat. Pro tip: go early!
Of course, I had to buy a bag first – only a straw Provençal tote will do for a French market!
Then it was a stop at the nut and dried fruit seller so that we were fully stocked for lunch cheese platters and salad toppers. I usually keep it basic with flavors, but it was hard to resist buying a taste of everything on the table!
Then of course it was time to stop and pick up cheese!
My favorite cheeses tend to be hard, and I love a good salt crystal. Comte is our go-to cheese for sandwiches and snacks, but they had an incredible variety of flavors. Unlike most shops in the US, the French cut cheese at your request so that it’s at its most fresh. Pro-tip: Ask the seller any questions you have and don’t be shy, they’ll usually offer you a sample and help you make choices!
Next we grabbed a quick baguette, and headed out to find the best looking produce stall…
With a bag bursting with deliciousness, I had only one thing on my mind: a fresh smoothie to beat the oncoming heat!
By the end of our shop, the heat had really started to pick up and I was happy to have worn this MISA dress because it was one of the most comfortable items I packed on our trip! The woven cotton was so light and breathable, while the colors were perfect for the south of France. With little embroidered flowers all along the dress it felt chic but casual at the same time. Paired with a Janessa Leone hat (similar) to keep my skin in the shade, and my reliable Dolce Vita flats that are a breeze to walk in, strolling the stalls for over an hour was a cinch.
Just as the market started to fill up, we headed home with our basket full of goodies. Needless to say, the rest of our week was blissfully spent alongside a pool, and we certainly didn’t want for great food!
Do you have a must-visit market somewhere in the world? What are your favorite things to buy in farmers markets when you travel? Share with me in the comments below! And for more details on the Saint-Tropez market, click here.