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Anything from jams to jewelry! A market in France is much more than a place to pick up your weekly shop, it’s a social occasion and a way of life. Le Touquet has one of the best-loved markets in the Côte d’Opale, which makes it a wonderful place to catch a glimpse of local life.
The market is held twice a week on Thursday and Saturday mornings, all year round. Outside of these days, it is held on some special Mondays such as Easter, Pentecost, and spring break. Check the market’s website for accurate information on opening hours as they can vary slightly according to the season.
The Touquet market is held partly in the covered stalls of the main building, largely for food stalls, and partly on temporary stalls in the square and spilling on to Rue de Metz and Rue Jean Monnet for everything else. The sheer variety of the goods on offer can be overwhelming at first, but take your time, stop frequently for a break, have a coffee or a little apéritif, and enjoy the experience of strolling aimlessly – what the French call ‘flâner‘. The most unexpected treasures appear when you are not looking for anything in particular.
As with anything else in France, the place to start is bonjour. If you need to catch the vendor’s attention, use the always trusty s’il vous plaît. Feel free to pick up and sniff fruits and vegetables, with a little nod to the vendor first. Cheese and charcuterie stalls will usually have some samples on offer on a board – don’t be timid and enjoy a taste, even if it smells positively pungent.
If you are in need of advice, the vendors will be more than happy to suggest a recipe. Remember to bring your own basket or shopping bag; environmental rules in France strongly discourage disposable plastic bags, so for the most part vendors will be unable to provide them. Regarding prices, unlike other countries where haggling is expected, the price displayed will normally be the price charged.
In 1927, with the inauguration of the new Paris-Plage post office that was built in the spot where the old market was held, in a converted chapel, the need for a proper market presented itself. The site and building would have to be in line with the relaxed but elegant image of the swish seaside resort. The project presented by young architect Henry-Léon Bloch was a hit thanks to its two main features: the crescent shaped 84-meter building that respected the semicircular shape of the old square, and the central arch that created a focal point spanning the street while preserving the perspective linking the forest with the sea.
Make sure to stop by the impeccable seafood counters. They have the freshest ready-to-go prime quality seafood, prepped that same morning, no extra work involved. Just a squeeze of lemon and serve.
The food stalls in the covered market are brimming with foodie delights, like these home-made jams and preserves. Bon appetit!