In Manosque a small city in the Provence / France has two locations for the Saturday market: one is a the Hotel de Ville (city hall) the other one this post is about, is to be found in a short distance at the Place du Terreau in the heart of the old city. This square in the heart of the city is a parking lot on other days of the week.
The market is a mix of flea and food market. Cheap clothes and items are available. The other half of the market is focused on food, be it produce or ready made meals like paella. The crowd is more touristic in summer times and in the other seasons the multi-ethnicity of the area can easily be observed.
It is quite different to the one at the city hall, less romantic, but with more food choices, except oysters and organic produce.
What to get there
Of course all the products which should be on a (French) market are available: vegetables and fruits of the season, great cheeses (there are 2 stalls at least), dried sausages, artisan bread and others. There are also less common produce like lavender honey, Mediterranean pickle mixes, and a fish monger despite the distance to the sea.
When it comes to the cheeses it is worth looking at whole ones as they will resist pressure and temperature when bringing them back home via plane or so. I took a Tome de Pays which was about a kilogram. Since the prices are moderate it is a great culinary souvenir. There is of course also very great dried sausages which somehow found their way into my suitcase.
The choice of ready made meals from food carts and stalls is very convenient and appealing. Starting from roasted poultry in many variations, paella, shrimp dishes, stuffed calamari in tomato sauce, pizza, Vietnamese specialities, Moroccan couscous or tajine, and a few other things are available. The offering changes over the seasons. In autumn and winter there will be more hearty meals available like sauerkraut and sausages.
This market will not leave you hungry. As an alternative buy some bread and cheese from the market and enjoy this satisfying pleasure.
What do the vendors say?
Well they talk quite a lot when you have time and are interested in their life and work. I immediately was presented to visitors and other vendors as an English journalist. Something I would appreciate being, but reality is different, also when it comes to my accent. But all kinds of fun was very welcomed and political correctness not taken too seriously. And they seem to appreciate tourists as well, expressing that in a friendly service and a gentle willingness to allow pictures being taken.
One vendor had a selling tactic, which was different to the other ones. The tomatoes or other vegetables, probably a kilogram or two, were already filled in open plastic bags (see picture in the gallery). Each bag was then placed in a bowl for the clientele to immediately see the volume of the merchandise. The lady owning the stall presented this as a solution allowing her to offer cheaper prices due to the quantities and it helped her to serve the clientele in a very fast way as well. I saw this method a day before at a market in Marseille, but did not get the same explanation. In many African markets this is a standard method.
All in all: It is a nice market with good products – not a surprise in France though – worth to be visited when being nearby & hungry.
A little link list:
- What to do in Manosque
- Other markets in the area by weekday (pdf)