It’s Friday. If you love flea markets, you will love the Friday market at Carpentras. This is one of the largest village markets in the Provence with 350 stalls or more set up each week on the town square, narrow roads and parking areas. We have been to Carpentras twice before in our previous trips during the Summer hols. We have never gotten tired of re-visiting the market – again – this summer!
Carpentras is 32 km from our holiday home. We arrived there rather late at around 11 am, thus, finding a parking space was a HUGE problem as most of the open-space parking areas in the centre of the town were reserved specially for the setting up of the stalls, making parking very squeezed and limited around the vicinity or the outskirts.
We finally found a parking area a bit far out of the centre at Parking area La Roseraie. We didn’t mind the walk through the Châteaux La Roseraie, a small park which is quite well maintained. The first thing we noticed when we got out of the parking area after crossing the road were the hand-painted boulders. I found lovable E.T. ! My younger son rushed to his Pikachu, which is synonymous to the current crazy game, Pokémon Go! Arghhh!
If you’re wondering what the lime green structure is, well, it’s a makeshift library. I noticed the books were well read with stained pages, flipped multiple times. Unfortunately, all books are in French …
When we reached the centre, the smell of local produce whiffed past our nostrils instantly, and the magnificent colour and sound are everywhere. For the locals, it’s their weekly shopping. For us, tourists, we were there to admire what we saw with memories captured on our lenses. I wished I could buy loads what were sold there, especially the handsome-looking garlics from Piolenc! But I had to remember that we would be travelling back home some 1,000 km in a few days. The smell of garlic in the heated trunk was not a good idea. Duh!
By the way, I did buy the more floral-scented items. The bouquet of dried lavender and sunflowers would look great in our newly bought porcelain Provençal cricket vase 😉
It would be a shame if we had left the Provence without buying the infamous artisanal soap bars, traditionally known as Savon de Marseille (soap from Marseille). Traditionally, the soap bars came in the aroma of olive oil. Today, the soaps are made artisanally with extracts from seasonal plants, flowers, fruits, nuts, oils and herbs. Our favourites are lavender, jasmine, olive oil, rose petal and green tea. And that’s what I bought ! *big smile*
We had been walking around quite a bit in the limited time we had before the 350 odd merchants called it a day by 1 pm.
When most of the stalls packed it in, we walked away from the market place and square, away from the maddening crowd and found ourselves perusing a board with the cheapest lunch deal ever!
I have never came across a complete meal comprising a starter, main course, dessert and a 25 cl glass of rosé wine at Eur 14 anywhere in Europe !!! Let me know if you have paid lower than Eur 14 anywhere else? I’m talking about an eatery in Europe!
I had Croque Monsieur with salad for starter. My main course was veal stew with basmati rice. Hubby had tagliatelle with scallops. Our dessert was tarte tartin. It was nothing fancy, but for the price we paid, it was definitely worth it.
Oh by the way, the name of the brasserie-resto was La Cantina at Carpentras.
We left Carpentras with a smile on our face and a story to tell. And I just did 😉
Our next stop that afternoon saw us heading to a totally different “planet”, which brought us nearer to the Sun…
I wonder …