Discover Countryside & Coastal
Local Markets in France
Visiting a traditional town or village market in France is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and is such a highlight of any trip to France. What an amazing opportunity to try out your French language skills, even if they are found wanting! However, you can get by with a small amount of the language and gesticulations help! People are generally very friendly and will assist you in your endeavours to find the best local produce, whether it be gingerbread in Alsace or a regionally-produced cheese, such as Cabecou, a soft goats cheese in the Dordogne. Attending a market, with its lively chatter, hustle and bustle also provides the opportunity to purchase you picnic lunch before you embark on your daily walk. Even if you just buy a baguette and a local cheese it always tastes so fresh and delicious. Bring a penknife (but make sure to check it in at the airport) and some napkins and "voila" your picnic lunch is complete.
Famous Markets in France
Sarlat-le-Caneda - Dordogne
Wed-Sat: 8am to 12:30pm
Situated in the heart of the historic centre of this medieval town, this market seems to stretch on for miles and offers seasonal produce, clothes, and jewellry, etc. You name it, they have it!
Orleans - Loire Valley
Sat: 7.30am to 12.30pm
Exceptional setting on the banks of the Loire River and very close to the historic centre. One hundred or so stalls offering seasonal fruits and veggies.
Limoges - Limousin
Sat 7am to 1pm
This market is called Marceau and the locals, as well as buying its produce, tend to use it as a meeting place. So here you really will be "meeting the locals".
Vannes - Brittany
Wed & Sat mornings
Extensive and bustling with top-notch produce. Be sure to try some seasonal veggies which you can use in your picnic lunch or search for Tome de Rhuys, a top Breton cheese.
Wine Regions of France
For hundreds of years France has had the reputation for being one of the world's best producers of fine wines. Recently it has been reinventing itself as the wine industry has been evolving and they have had to keep up. Today France is still classed as offering some of the world's best wines of great variety and value.
Here are 5 of the most famous:
This wine growing area stretches from the lower slopes of the Vosges Mountains to the Rhine Valley. As it is situated close to the German border (and used to be part of Germany!) it is steeped in this tradition and they produce mostly dry and fruity varieties with the most popular being Riesling and Gewurztraminer.
This region is the only one of the five that is solely located right next to the sea. This has enabled it to be exported abroad for many centuries. Because of links between French and English royal families it became the main supplier of wine to England. It is situated around the estuary of the Gironde and the city of Bordeaux and slightly inland along the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers.
This wine area covers a narrow strip of land which runs southeast from Dijon. The "Grands Crus" are at the top of the quality pyramid, the best of which are reds and some can keep for 20 years or more.
The Loire Valley region is particularly renowned for its crisp and dry whites. This is all thanks to the Romans since grapes have been cultivated here for over two thousand years. From Chinon to Chenin Blanc and Sancerre to Sauvignon Blanc these wines are definitely sought after. Do not miss the chance for a wine-tasting in one of the local "caves" along the way.
The Cote du Rhone vineyards run for over 200km from the south of Lyon down the Rhone Valley and all the way to the Camargue on the Mediterranean coast. They tend to have blended grape varieties such as Viognier, Syrah and Grenache.