Marché des Capucins, Marseille / France

  • The setting
    The setting

Bright autumn sun. Vivid colors. No need to hurry. A chat over a coffee with a stranger. Watching people doing their purchases at the market. This is the good side of life.

This is what can happen to you at the market on the Place du Marché des Capucins. The market is also known as Marché de Noailles. This square is framed by nice, older apartment buildings and small shops – not yet gentrified. A few trees add shade and colour. Maybe dogs will like them as well.

At one of the cafés overlooking the market I found an empty chair next to a guy. I ordered my coffee and soon we started chatting. He was of Algerian origin like many people around. He explained me a little bit the area and the people living here. A lot of people come from Algeria, Morocco, Senegal and other countries. And the vendors have different backgrounds, amongst them also one Italian, which I did not expect – always nice to get your own cliches challenged. I also learned something about the pecking order amongst the people based on their origin. Everywhere the same story, always somebody else to look down at.

Every couple minutes a friend of his walked by, stopped, shook hands, exchanged a few words. I had the feeling to get to know the whole neighbourhood during two glasses of coffee. Should do this more often.

The market is fully focused on vegetables and fruits. The shops around take care of fish, bread, meat and the other daily needs. The crowd visiting the market seems to come mainly from the neighbourhood, only very few tourists walked by (travel bloggers?).

The stalls have a very lush, colourful presentation of the produce. Together with the light in Marseille it almost gives an impression of a garden of Eden. As the buyers do not belong to the rich crowd, many products are sold at low prices – a 1€ per kilogram sign is to find quite often. In all the talks I had, the weak economy was a topic, explaining the prices at the market quite well. Still there was no bulk selling as such. Only one vendor sold it by the prepared bowl which helps to make fast purchases. Somehow it is like packed goods, just without the plastic.

The shops around the market square were worth a visit as well. They give almost the impression of an indoor market section. The offer of the fishmongers could certainly compete with the one of the fish market at the old port. Beautiful display. The baker where had a distinct Arabic influence in his products. I chose a sesame seed topped flat bread, yummy. So there is no worries to find good food at a budget.

All in all: A great place to relax and enjoy a very interesting mixed crowd without having to spend too many bucks

A little link list: