The Best Markets
It’s part of France’s curious charm that there is no market more perfect than the one you are strolling through at that very moment. There is always the fear that you will never see raspberries of such a deep fuchsia again or catch the very same scent of saucissons laced with garlic, fennel or Comte cheese.
The markets in the Old Towns of the French Riviera are basically the beating heart of each town. They are lively places where locals get their daily produce and say “Bonjour!” to their neighbors, while eager tourists look on, curious about the daily activities of the locals, and try to catch the feel of daily Riviera life.
There is much to see and get from the markets in the French Riviera. From arts and crafts, textiles, antiques, handmade lavender products, flowers, fresh and dried fruits, vegetables, and fish, you can find almost everything that you can think of.
Like most Provencal markets, the French Riviera’s markets are the kind of place that’ll make you wonder how you’ll ever manage to drag yourself into a big box store back home again. Here, you gaze at towers of pastel-colored jasmine, lavender and rose petal jams, pass by bins groaning with flavored sea salts, alongside terracotta bowls of briny olives and lemon confit, towards baskets of purple artichokes dwarfed by their still-attached leaves.
In this Iconic Riviera list, we will give you the best markets you should visit during your trip to the wonderful and lively French Riviera:
Nice: Saleya Food and Flower Market
One of the most famous markets in the French Riviera is the one in the heart of Old Town Nice. Cours Saleya market is a large market that is authentically Mediterranean. Stalls provide shade even during the hottest summer day and you’re surrounded by the streets of old Nice. Bargaining is welcome, if not expected.
This market has several different faces:
The Food market
Here you can find fresh local products from inland Nice. It has a warm and lively ambiance full of colors and scents. Row after row of spices beckon. There are grapes the size of golf balls and olives glimmering in the sun. Once the noon cannon goes off, the vendors are willing to negotiate in order to sell the maximum before the market closes at 1pm.
The Plants & Flowers Market
The flower market is ranked by France’s National Council for the Culinary Arts as being one of the country’s special markets. At this market, blooms of every color and shape burst into life. It is full of colorful bouquets, plants, and exotic flowers, which fill the air with pleasing fragrances.
The Artisan crafts Market
In the summer Cours Saleya never sleeps, and in the evenings it becomes a Summer Night Crafts Market. The rule is that everything must be hand-made or painted by the local artist, which happily eliminates mass-produced trinkets. It makes for a lovely festive atmosphere, surrounded by the cafe tables and restaurants.
The Antiques Market
On Mondays, Cours Saleya turns into a sprawling Antique Market or ‘Brocante’, where you can find a wide range of antiques, collectibles and fascinating French bric-a-brac.
|Food Market Open Times: Tuesdays to Sundays from 6am to 1pm (closed on Mondays). |
Flowers Market Open Times: Tuesdays to Sundays, from 6am to 5:30pm (closed on Mondays and Sunday afternoons).
Artisan Crafts Market Open Times: From June 1 to September 30, every day from 6pm to midnight.
Antiques Market Open Times: Mondays from 7am until 6pm (but they start to pack up just after 4pm).
ANTIBES: Marche Provencal
In the heart of the old town, Cours Massena’s historic covered food market offers a wonderful blend of fresh food and vegetables, cheeses, olives and olive oil, charcuterie and more. The outer stalls are for practitioners and merchants; people with large gardens or smallholdings run down through the center.
Although the prices here can get steep, it is a good place to come and see some excellent local products including fruit, flowers, vegetables, meats, cheeses, spices, herbs, fish and sausages. You are sure to be able to pick up some fantastic samples of goods used in traditional Provencal style cookery and fine local olive oils, herbs, and fruits.
|Marche Provencal Open Times: It is open daily from 6am until 1pm (except Mondays during winter).|
Saint TROPEZ: Place des Lices
Place des Lices market in the center of Saint-Tropez is a fabulous market selling a wide variety of food including pastries, bread, sausages, cheeses, olives, herbs, spices, fruit, vegetables, and flowers.
The residents of Saint Tropez get their fresh fruit and vegetables from this market. There’s also a good antique market for souvenir hunters. This is also the best place to find great bargains for t-shirts, bags, and other accessories in a typical French Riviera style.
You can pick up posh luggage, fabrics, and furniture or lovely odd items like old tins, wine glasses, plate, home accessories, antiques, mirrors, vintage posters, paintings, and arts & crafts. This is a more high-end market where you’ll find good quality items (there is no tacky plastic junk).
|Saint Tropez Market Open Times: Tuesdays and Saturdays from 8am to 1pm.|
Monaco: la Condamine MArket
The terracotta-colored squares in the market of Marche de la Condamine in Place d’Armes serve as the “other face” of extravagant Monaco. This market is of the most authentic local experiences one can have in visiting the Principality.
Monegasque and other regional specialties are also available. You can find the wet-goods such as meat and fish inside the hall while the fruits and vegetables are on the streets. Don’t expect a bargain though — the prices are much steeper than at the supermarkets.
Part of the Condamine market, called the “Gourmet Hall” (the large building with many food vendors inside), is the place where locals go to quickly grab a bite with friends after work, or eat together as a family.
|Marche la Condamine Open Times: Every day from 7am to 3pm. The Gourmet Hall is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm to 9:30pm.|
VILLEFRANCHE-SUR-MER: Jardin Francois Binon
This Provencal market is open in Jardin Binon. It is dedicated to selling local produce and delicacies like olive tapenade, local cheeses, and paella. The Saturday market also sells clothing and jewelry.
Jardin Fançois Binon transforms into a flea market and an antique bazaar every Sunday, where people from all over the Riviera come to find vintage tourism posters, silverware, jewelry, etc.
|Farmer Market Open Times: The market is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8am to 1pm. |
Flea Market / Antique Bazaar: Open all day long on Sundays.
CANNES: Forville Market
Forville Market is a covered-one but also pedestrianized and you can find it near the famous La Croisette and at the foot of the Old Town, Le Suquet.
It has seasonal organic vegetables, fresh seafood, and handmade local delicacies. Cold meats are available, like tripe sausages, ham, and dried sausages. Many stalls also sell Italian cuisine specialties, such as ravioli Nicois, Provencal pasta sauces, and delectable polenta.
On Mondays, instead of the food market, there is an all-day flea market selling any different kinds of trinkets and assortments.
|Cannes Forville Market Open Times: The market is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, from 7am to 1pm. |
Forville Flea Market Open Times: Mondays from 7am to 1pm.
Other great markets
For this guide, we focused on markets that are year-round at least twice a week. Check out our guide to the best places to shop for information about French Flea Markets and the massive, coveted yearly sale in Saint-Tropez.