Whether you’re wanting to hop over the English Channel for a day at an authentic French market or you’re looking for a place to stock up on fresh produce for your onward journey into France, here are some of the best local markets within a short drive of a ferry port.
As you stroll through the streets of Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The town’s medieval architecture and charming streets are a delight to explore, but the real highlight of the town is its market. Every Monday morning, the square surrounding the 11th-century market hall comes alive with vendors selling fresh produce, seafood, meat, cheese, baked goods and much more. It’s a true feast for the senses!
Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives is 45km south of Caen with its ferry port to which Brittany Ferries offers three daily sailings from Portsmouth.
Trouville-sur-Mer is a charming seaside town located on the Cote Fleurie and it was one of the first-ever coastal resorts to be developed in France. It’s also famous for its fish market, which is open every day on the quayside. You can buy ultra-fresh fish directly from the fishermen themselves, or settle down outside one of the stalls to tuck into a seafood platter fresh off the fishing boats that day, washed down with a glass of crisp white wine. If you’re wanting more than scallops, mackerel, sole, prawns, lobster, crabs or oysters, why not time your visit with the twice-weekly market on Wednesdays and Sunday mornings at an impressive old tithe barn. It’s well worth a visit!
Take one of Brittany Ferries’ five weekly ferries to Le Havre from Portsmouth and drive 40 minutes across the Pont de Normandie and you’ll be in this gorgeous seaside resort.
There are twenty markets in Rennes itself, and even more in the surrounding area. Each market has its own atmosphere and specialties, and they are named after the neighbourhood where they take place. The largest and oldest market in Rennes is the Marché des Lices, which takes place on Saturday mornings in the Place des Lices. It’s the second-largest food market in France and attracts around 10,000 shoppers and tourists each week. If you’re looking for something less touristy, Blosne market is one of the cheapest in Rennes and offers a mix of local products and exotic foods while Saint-Germain market is more intimate, with just a dozen traders. If you’re more of a fan of a flea market, held annually in mid-September, la Braderie du Canal Saint-Martin is the second largest flea market fair in France after La Grande Braderie de Lille.
The main Morlaix Market takes place every Saturday throughout the year at Place des Otages, and there are 100 vendors present even during winter. There’s also an evening market which takes place every Wednesday during July and August on Place Emile Souvestre behind the Mairie. Morlaix’s market has been an important part of the town’s economy since the 1110s when ship owners, weavers, and a group of linen merchants began trading here. The market has continued to be an important part of the town’s economy and culture throughout the centuries.
Held on Wednesdays in the pedestrianized Rue Saint Jean on the Place Saint Patrice on Saturdays, this market offers a variety of fresh produce, meats, cheeses and other local specialties. In the summer, there’s also a Norman arts and crafts and local foods market on Thursday evenings in front of the town hall. You’ll find that Bayeux has a rich history that dates back to the Gallo-Roman period when it was founded as a settlement in the 1st century BC under the name Augustodurum.
There are three daily sailings from Portsmouth with Brittany Ferries to Caen, meaning this could be a wonderful day trip.
On the first Saturday of each month, the flea market around the Basilica de Sainte-Trinité offers a unique shopping experience for those looking for vintage or second-hand items near Cherbourg. You might find yourself a treasure and you’re sure to enjoy the lively atmosphere. Additionally, there is a large local market every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at the Place de Gaulle in front of the main post office.
You won’t need to drive far to this one, as Brittany Ferries has a daily crossing from Poole to Cherbourg, regular ferries from Portsmouth, or in summer you can take the three-hour high speed sailing from Portsmouth.
After a short trip across the English Channel, you’re in vibrant towns and villages with sunny skies, charming local markets and fabulous cuisine. In travelling by ferry you’ve also got the added benefit of using your own vehicle to explore the surrounding coast, countryside, and of course stock up on local goods from these markets, whether in the family car, a motorbike or camper van. Bon voyage!
Lead photo credit : Pixel.la