One of the best things about living in Southern France is the weekly outdoor market (marché in French). The marché is a colourful, bustling display of village life gathering in one place to partake in the exchange of local foods and merchandise. In Agde, it’s held every Thursday morning at the Old Town. Cars parked in the market area (warned beforehand by signs on the street) are towed away the night before. Vendors come as early as 5:30 in the morning to set up their stalls and prepare for an 8 o’clock start. By noon (and at the latest 1pm), the marché closes, and everyone goes home to enjoy their lunch and remainder of the afternoon.
In addition to the weekly Thursday market, the Brocante (antiques and flea market) are held Wednesday mornings. On Tuesday mornings, they have a smaller market for organic produce.
Below are some photos I took over several visits to the market this winter; as well as a video of a friendly vendor who told us about Aligot, a French dish made out of potato and cheese.
The vegetable section of the market
Look at these amazing cabbages. What a variety!
Brian buying dried apricots (abricots in French).
The fresh vegetable and food section of the market winds through the narrow medieval streets of the old town.
The cheese and meat section of the market
Les Fromages! A dizzying assortment of cheeses.
Our favourite French cheese: Laguiole Vieux (aged Laguiole). This particular one was awarded a gold medal.
This is the blade they use to cut the cheese.
During Christmas, huge legs of ham were in season.
Even the sausages are colourful here!
The first time we learned about Aligot, a traditional French dish originating from the mid-Pyrenees, which is a puree mix of potato, cheese (this one is made of cantal cheese), garlic, fresh cream, and butter. This friendly vendor showed us how to prepare it into a perfect melted consistency. He suggested we eat it with grilled sausage and drink it down with white wine. When we asked if we could add it to our pasta, his answer was an emphatic “non”. Watch the video below to see how he cooks it.
Tubs filled with candy!
The flower section of the market is in front of the public library, Maison des Savoirs (House of Knowledge).
The clothing and merchandise section of Agde’s Thursday market spills into the centre ville, winding between the two large fountains.
French fashion for little girls.
Also at the centre ville is the Coquillages (shells) kiosk where you can buy fresh muscles, clams, and oysters.
Not far from the Coquillages stand is the Churros stand. The sweet, hot goodness of this treat reminds us of our time spent in Spain.
I love the local baskets they sell here. I bought a large, brilliantly coloured one for only 5 Euros, which is the going price at low season. When the tourists come at high season, the prices double.
Further down the market from the clothing and shoes are the kitchen accessories (table cloths and cooking items) and toys. Our boys were fascinated by the number and variety of toy guns.