Uzès Market: Where Every Visit is a Delicious Memory in the Making

Welcome to Le Pays d’Uzès. As we set to return for yet another delicious adventure in Uzès with a small group of eager food and travel lovers, I can’t wait to be back at one of my favorite French markets – Le Marché d’Uzès.

The first time I stepped onto the Place aux Herbes on a Spring Wednesday morning, I knew I had stumbled upon something extraordinary. It’s almost as if you stepped back in time. I love the markets in Paris but there is nothing like the French markets in the countryside to make you truly feel France’s pulse. The vibrant atmosphere of Uzès market is a perfect blend of locals, tourists, and passionate producers that captivated me instantly. It was here, amidst the hustle and bustle, that I unexpectedly met a professional contact in person for the first time. Such serendipitous encounters are the essence of the market’s charm.

French markets are not just places to shop, they are social and economic hubs. The Uzès market embodies this spirit with its juicy gossip, fresh produce, and unmatched people-watching. Each visit makes me nostalgic as I wander around taking in those delicious fragrances and vibrant colors. It’s the lively ambiance of a Provencal-style market. But it’s more than a marketplace; it’s the historical heartbeat of Uzès.

A Historical Tapestry Woven Over Centuries

The Uzès market is a living chronicle, boasting over 2,000 years of history. Recently voted the most beautiful in the ex-Languedoc-Roussillon region, it mirrors the rich tapestry of the Roman Ucétia. Its evolution from the ancient Gallo-Roman forum to today’s bustling trade center narrates a story of resilience and vibrancy. What could be more French?

The Medieval Melting Pot

Imagine the 12th century – the Uzès market was a buzzing center of social and economic activity. Here, one could find an array of goods, from staple food items to luxurious wool and oils, all contributing to the ducal city’s prosperity. The market was not just a place of commerce; it was the pulsating heart of the community.

The Essence of Herbs and Aromatics

Over the centuries, the market has transformed, with a particular emphasis on herbs and aromatics. The 18th century saw the market expand beyond its walls, creating a space welcoming locals and visitors alike. The introduction of the now-defunct railway system further invigorated the market, reviving its allure and accessibility.

The Modern-Day Market

Fast forward to 1995, and the market we see today began taking shape with the addition of a second market day. This expansion was a nod to the market’s historical significance and a celebration of local products. From cheeses to olives, and wines to seafood, the market offers a canvas of regional flavors and artisanal craftsmanship. This is where we were introduced to many artisans who helped us shape a delicious culinary experience during a week of food, wine, & history.

Wednesday vs. Saturday: A Tale of Two Markets

While the charm and appeal of the Uzès market are consistent, the days of operation—Wednesday and Saturday—offer subtle but delightful differences. The Wednesday market is typically smaller and less crowded. This is the local producers’ market where only locally grown goods are allowed. Since we can’t go without certain products, the city electors have allowed for a fishmonger whose fish still arrive from only between 35-50 km away. Regulars have their reserved spot where like the supermarket aisle you will always find them selling their wares. This smaller market is a favorite among locals who prefer a more relaxed atmosphere for weekly shopping. It’s the perfect time for visitors who want to enjoy a more authentic, less touristy market experience.

In contrast, the Saturday market sees a larger turnout, including a greater influx of tourists. This day features a wider array of vendors and a festive atmosphere that captures the essence of a bustling French market day. This Saturday Uzès market is open to vendors coming from as far as 4-6 hours away to be part of this ever-growing, popular market day. You’ll find much more than just produce and wine here and the market expands beyond the Place aux Herbes to the surrounding “peripherique” and adjacent streets. Saturday is ideal for those who enjoy vibrant social scenes and want the full sensory experience of Uzès in its most dynamic state.

A Personal Sanctuary

Each visit to the Place aux Herbes is a journey through time and culture. The Uzès market is where history is felt as much as observed and savored. It’s a place where each vendor’s smile tells a story of dedication and hard work, every product has a history, and every visit leaves a mark on my heart.

5 Tips to Fully Enjoy the Uzès Market

While you are ready to be enjoying the spoils of the French market, you’ll want to take note of these 5 tips for enjoying a market day in Uzès.

  1. Arrive Early: To capture the market at its most vibrant, plan to arrive early in the morning. I try not to arrive (ever) after 10 am. This helps you avoid the larger crowds that come later and allows you to interact more personally with the vendors, who are more likely to share stories and tips about their products when it’s less busy.
  2. Sample Local Delicacies: Don’t miss out on the opportunity to try the many samples offered by the vendors. Whether it’s fresh olives, cheeses, or locally produced wines, tasting your way through the market is not only enjoyable but also gives you a true taste of regional flavors. One of my favorites is the sweet fougasse of Provence. With your purchases, you can easily put a picnic together and head down to the Vallée de l’Eure.
  3. Bring a Reusable Bag: Embrace the eco-friendly spirit by bringing your shopping bags. This is better for the environment makes shopping easier and helps you manage all the wonderful goodies you’ll want to take home.
  4. Take Time to People-Watch: One of the best activities at the Uzès Market is simply observing the daily life and interactions. Find a comfy spot to enjoy a coffee or a light snack, and soak in the atmosphere of this bustling marketplace.
  5. Ask for Recipes: Engage with local producers and ask them about the best ways to use their products in your cooking. Many vendors are proud of their offerings and love to provide cooking tips and recipes, which can inspire your meals and remind you of your visit to Uzès long after you return home.

A Love of French Markets

We love taking our Let’s Eat Uzès – Week in Uzès participants to the weekly producers’ market on Wednesdays. It is one of the big highlights of the week that is filled with so many highlights. They get a chance to get expert tips from our chef and to run around themselves to take it all in. We’ll sit for a coffee at one of our favorite spots and watch the shoppers pass by. What a picture-perfect location for a French market class to begin. We’ll see you in Uzès.

Have you already been to the Marché d’Uzès? What are some of your favorite stands? 

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