Carpentras, France is a small town in the heart of Provence. Offering a bounty of delicious food and fine, locally produced wine, it makes a great focus for a trip to the region. I just returned from a magical stay with some friends who live in the area.
Getting to Carpentras The town is about 40 minutes from Avignon, the largest city in the area. Avignon is the area stop for France’s high-speed TGV train, making it an easy three-hour ride from Paris and even possible as a day trip. The area is also reachable on France’s easy-to-navigate highway system.
Friday morning Provencal market With a season running from June to September, this is a large food market with 350 plus stands. Considered by many foodies to be the best in Provence, it showcases the quality of the produce (and flowers) of the surrounding countryside. The market is held on the rue Raspali.
Tuesday market More of a locals market, this early evening food market (5 p.m. – 7 p.m.) is used by residents to compliment the big Friday morning market. It runs from April through September and is held in the Square de Champeville.
Flea markets The town hosts three major flea markets, one in spring, one in summer and even one in winter. These are large markets and fairs, spread over almost ten acres. The local Carpentras tourist office is a good resource for the specific dates each year. A weekly flea market is also held on Sundays at the Allee Jean Jaures.
Truffle market For serious foodies, Carpentras is home to the area’s best truffle market. Aside from being able to buy the expensive fungus, there are many food vendors selling items made with the fresh truffles. The public market is held from the end of November until March on Friday mornings from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the courtyard of city’s Hotel Dieu.
Saint-Siffrein Fair This is a local event, mainly focused on food and local agriculture, similar to an American county fair. The event happens every November 27th and is a four hundred year tradition. It’s four days long and includes horse shows and wine competitions in addition to over 1,000 vendors.