Thursday, June 25, 2009

Uzés... a town less traveled

Uzès is a small town on the edge of the Languedoc Roussillon region, 30 minutes west of Avignon. Rich in architecture and religious history, Uzès could be visited over and over again and never get old. The small town is also home of one of the most beautiful markets in the South of France. Note that I do not say Provence because Uzès is not in the region Provence. I know there are a thousand markets in France and everyone claims to have the best, but I honestly think this is one of the best and biggest in the area. It sprawls throughout the cobble stone streets of Uzès, but the main market is in the Place aux Herbes which is what makes it so magical. If you have only visited the Place aux Herbes during the market, it is well worth it to go back on an off market day and sit in one of the outdoor cafés and take it all in. It is the vision people have of the South of France and you will be living it!

The Wednesday morning market in Uzès displays many produits du terroirs, regional products and specialties. Cheese, olives, wine, olive oil, fruit, bread, herbs and so much more. The other day I found a creamy goat cheese, produced in Uzès, that made me want to pop open a bottle of red wine immediately, even though it was only 10am. In France, no time is too early wine, which is one thing I love about living here! If you are heading out for a day of discovery, I would definitely recommend stopping by the market to pick up the goods for a picnic. There are picnic spots at almost every tourist attraction in the area or you could stop on a back road in the middle of sunflowers and vineyards. A must do while visiting Uzès!

The Saturday morning market is a grocery store, department store and florist all wrapped in one. You can find clothes, jewelry, linens, pottery, flowers, plants and all the produits du terroirs. You can spend hours wandering the streets filled with market vendors so get there early to give yourself enough time and to avoid the main crowds.

Besides the markets, there are numerous restaurants, wine bars and outdoor cafés to discover. Uzès is touristic, but less than the villages in Provence that only come alive in the summer when the tourists arrive. Uzès lives year round, buzzing with tourists and locals, including many expat English and Americans. If you love Provence, I promise you will love Uzès and everything it has to offer.

Uzès is in the Gard(30) department of the Languedoc Roussillon region, which seems to be less traveled than it's neighboring Vaucluse(84) department in the Provence region...or at least for now.

Uzès Market: open all year round with July and August being it's busiest months
Wednesday Market 8am-12pm: foodies who prefer a less crowded market
Saturday Market 8am-1pm: there is something for everyone, but get there early if you don't
like being a human sandwich

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