January 31, 2012
1 The Saint Tropez Market
2 The Saint Tropez Market
If you fancy taking a break from the shimmering beaches, chic bars and exclusive boutiques that adorn the coastline, pay a visit to Place des Lices to discover the rustic charm of St. Tropez.
Located in the heart of St. Tropez, the town’s open air market provides a treasure trove of items that you wouldn’t find in the luxury stores dotted around the area. There is also a historical side to the market, with 100 year old trees dividing the area into 7 long arcades.
This creates the perfect set up for the rows of market stalls that fill Place des Lices every Tuesday and Saturday. Without the stalls, the view down the tree-lined arcade today is exactly the same as it was when it was captured in 1936.
On non-market days boule players take over Place des Lices in the morning, forming small groups that play until the early hours of the next morning.
The trees form the backbone of the market’s shopping arcades, but these are usually left hidden by the canopies of the branches, which also overlap the umbrellas that the vendors set up around their stalls.
Place des Lices began to take shape in the early 1800s when 12 plane trees were planted, and it is thought that the area dates back to the 9th or 10th century when it was most likely used as a jousting ground (the definition of “lices”).
The St. Tropez market can’t really be defined as a typical ‘Farmers market’ as not all of the vendors grow the produce that they sell. The majority of them buy fruits and veg from major regional wholesalers, such as Draguignan – about 50km North from St. Tropez. However, you are able to find some local farmers, as well as vendors who make their own produce and sell prepared items such as olives and breads.
With the mixture of local wholesale and farm produce, the market is a great place to find some Provenҫal specialities.
The market opens from 8am – 1pm, but St. Tropez residents know to get there before 9am before a crowd of tourists descend on the Place des Lices during the Summer months. You can expect to find a range of different items such as food, tourist kitsch, clothing and antiques.
The stalls can be quite pricey, but the market does give you an excellent opportunity to sample the best produce that St. Tropez’s surrounding communities have to offer. You can also expect to shop amongst the scent of lavender from one of the nearby stalls, setting the rural ambiance of the market.
The vendors don’t usually have signs to identify them by name but if you pay more than one visit to the Place des Lices, you can expect to find your favourite stalls in roughly the same place every week. You may even bump into a celebrity as the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Vanessa Paradis have been known to browse the arcades of the St. Tropez market.