10 Good Reasons to Shop at a (French) Market

Translation from French.

Weekly, occasionally or every once in a while, the market can be advantageous in many ways: morale booster, for budgeting … to being considered as an excellent way to combine business with pleasure. Hard to believe? Here are 10 good reasons to enjoy the French market – or any food market for that matter.

Now I know not everyone has access to a farmer’s market but, hey, isn’t that why you travel?

1. Taking a deep breath

Going to the French market is like taking a deep breath. Around the stalls,  we discover the fragrances of the fresh produce, which is way more relaxing than going to the supermarket. Walking from stall to stall to fill your shopping basket is like a promenade in itself: this is especially true for those lucky shoppers who can walk to a French market!

French Market

Consuming fresh and seasonal products

Each fruit and vegetable has its own calendar. Unlike supermarkets, where, to satisfy consumer demand, almost everything can be found whatever the time of year; the market is living at the rhythm of the seasons. You would never find nectarines or strawberries in December there!


2. Eating better and fresher

Whether it is organic or not, the food at the market is often reputed to have more taste, due mainly to the fact that they avoid long transport and poor storage conditions. Plantings in rich soil and a harvest at maturity can effectively bring advantages in terms of taste. Moreover, the act of buying these products at the market encourages us to cook them, perhaps with our favorite recipes thus making it possible to avoid industrial ready-made meals.

French Market

4. Knowing what’s on our plate

When were these vegetables harvested? How was that chicken fed? Small producers who sell directly at the markets are more likely to answer these questions when asked. I can guarantee you that the supermarket attendant has no clue, except maybe if it is a smaller grocer.

A visit to a goat cheese farm during our Week in Uzès culinary vacation in Provence.

5. Surprising our taste buds

Among the vendors’ stalls, the diversity is often such that, it is not rare to make discoveries! And what better way to let yourself be tempted by seasonal, regional, or world products, sometimes rare or unknown, proposed to by one of the producers, all with commentary and even tips of use.

Market day in Uzès with Annie’s beautiful artisanal cheeses

6. Tasting and getting advice

Tasting before buying is one of the advantages of the market. Depending on the region and the time of year, shopping can quickly become a tasting workshop, even out of the kitchen. If your market tour is followed by a hands-on French cooking lesson, you can take you may even have picked up a few bits for a delicious apéro before your meal. Because it is not rare, spontaneously or on-demand, producers deliver cooking tips, presentation tips, & even recipe ideas.


7. Meeting people

The friendly and relaxed atmosphere that characterizes the markets is certainly conducive to exchanges and meetings, starting with the ties that can be forged, over the weeks and years, with merchants.

8. Taking care of our wallet

Small producers generally do not have intermediaries, which is why the price per kilo is often more attractive in the market than in supermarkets. In addition, the latter is a great incentive for us to succumb to the temptation of overly industrial products, which are very expensive: the market, therefore, helps us to concentrate on the essential.

9. Supporting the local economy

The small producers present on the markets make it possible not only to make savings but also and especially to support local development. It is also an opportunity to make a gesture for the planet: local production avoids many unnecessary pollutions related to transport and conservation.

10. Having a new look at a city or region

As the products are fresh and local, the market is the perfect place to discover a region! Moreover, it is an opportunity to meet local people and producers and learn about the local culture.

But I know, when you are unfamiliar with how the markets work in a new place, you may think it is just easier and faster to head to the supermarket. At least when visiting France Understanding the French Food Market will help you shop better even with limited (or no) French.

Join us on a food tour during one of our French Market Classes in Paris or one of our Culinary holidays in France & Spain. Not only will you discover the tastes of the season during your tour but you will have a chance to turn your local finds into delicious, seasonal meals.


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