Sommieres Market – Gard (30) – Saturday Mornings
The old village of Sommieres has held a Saturday morning market since the 13th century.
It’s open from 7h to 14h but some of the stalls nearer the east side of the river start closing up by 13h.
Parking is plentiful and free on the west side of the Vidourle, straight on through the roundabout and not toward centre ville, and only a short walk across the foot bridge to the beginning of the market stalls.
The main market square, surrounded by Roman arches dating from Tiberius remains the heart of the market today.
The stalls spill out as far as the river Vidourle offering the usual fruit and vegetables, cheese and roast chickens dripping juices into potatoes, onions and tomatoes, as well as inexpensive clothing, shoes, boots and jewelry.
As is with most of the larger markets, you can even find bedding and mattresses tucked in among the usual wares.
The cafes and permanent shops are open for business so you can stop for a cafe as you meander through the old village into the arched jewel of the market.
When the Vidourle floods most of this part of the old village is submerged.
Look for the flood lines marked along the lanes to get an idea of their devastation.
A habit-forming and untouchable favorite of mine is at the olive, dried fruit and tapenade stall just near the post office.
The young guy who works there is very friendly, professes to speak seven languages (his English is flawless so he at least speaks two) and makes the best tomato tapenade I’ve ever eaten.
It is eat-with-a-spoon-when-no-one-is-looking good.
The village square is where you’ll find most fruit and vegetables, honey, jam, sausges, pungent cheeses and bread.
The thing to do in Sommieres is to stroll around making your purchases until you’ve worked up a hunger (thirst) and then find a spot to squeeze into at the Les Delices du Liban.
The Lebanese family that owns the outdoor café sell delicious Lebanese food in a center market stall.
You’ll also find fresh oysters just next door which you can order on the half-shell and suck down.
The friendly, English-speaking owner bustles around taking drink orders, chatting with locals and making you feel right at home.
As it’s very popular you should get there before lunchtime and be prepared to share one of the picnic tables.
It’s magical to sit, sipping your wine or beer while you eat your fresh market finds and watch the French world go by. Be sure to look up at the Roman arches that remain.
Take your leftover baguette across the foot bridge and feed the ducks before heading home, happy and satisfied.
There’s also a Wednesday night market during the summer. It comes alive with many more of the local restaurants offering fixed menus and this past year there was a wine tasting festival.
Aidan has a great blog at Conjugating Irregular Verbs
If you are the slightest bit interested in life in the Languedoc you should really visit Aidan’s blog!.
All the best