Wandering around a market is a great way to get to know a city. With its colourful sights, intoxicating smells and lively sounds of the hustle and bustle of traders, shopping at a market is an authentic and fun experience. The southern French city of Montpellier has a wide choice of markets, depending on what you’re interested in shopping for. Food, flowers, books, antiques and more, will tempt you in the different neighbourhoods. Start with our list of the top 10 markets to peruse.
One of the indoor markets, Jacques Coeur re-interprets the traditional building design of market halls with glass that allows lots of natural light to flood in. If you are passing by or staying in this area and fancy cooking some local dishes yourself, this is the place to head to source your supplies. Consider the seafood, which is especially tasty given Montpellier’s proximity to the Mediterranean.
Historically, this area of Montpellier has always played host to markets, and one was reintroduced at the end of 2016 to the joy of the locals. It’s an unfussy, traditional market where people stock up on everyday essentials. If you are staying in self-catering accommodation in Montpellier, then make a stop here to buy staples such as fresh pasta, fruit and vegetables.
Flower markets are always a delight to stroll around and Montpellier’s Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle couldn’t be a better example. Four lines of plane trees shade the wide promenade which, throughout the week, is filled with rows and rows of flowers and plants. From cut flowers to lemon trees and flower boxes ready to hang, it’s a pleasant assault on the senses with all the different scents and vibrant blooms that each season brings.
For the past 17 years, every Sunday morning, the Antigone farmers’ market is held on Avenue Samuel de Champlain. You can find everything from fruits, vegetables and flowers, to seasonal products such as chocolate treats around Easter and artisan oils, vinegar, honey and more.
The organic food market of Arceaux is the locals’ favourite. The setting for this market is gorgeous, running along the arches of the Arceaux aqueduct, hence the name. Expect to see mounds of olives, tomatoes tumbling onto tomatoes and bread that you can smell from stalls away. The market is always busy, but at a deliciously relaxed Mediterranean pace.
Montpellier’s main – and recently renovated – covered marketplace is definitely worth an hour to browse for some local (and delicious) souvenirs. Inside, you’ll find a little of everything you’d expect from the south of France: cheese, meats, bread, olives and local Languedoc wine. For a souvenir for a foodie friend and to sample a true French shopping experience, Halles Castellane is a must.
On the last Saturday of each month, you can peruse old books and magazines at this traditional market. Weather depending, the stalls are up all day; perfect for a morning stroll or an afternoon wander by. The location of Esplanade Charles de Gaulle with its large plane trees make it the perfect spot for browsing even in Montpellier’s summer heat.
Le Grand Bazar
Twice a year – in the spring and autumn – Montpellier plays host to a city-wide market, Le Grand Bazar. In the streets and alleys, stalls are erected by shopkeepers and artisans, selling everything from fashion and furniture to food. Hard to miss if you’re in Montpellier at the same time and worth keeping in mind if you’ve yet to set a date for your city break.
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