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Au marché, au marché

Au marché, au marché

19 Nov 2013 BY Tim Wells

"Who has not seen Carpentras on market day has seen nothing!" gushed the French writer and poet André de Richaud, but then he was only 20 years old at the time, and had years of hard living ahead of him. Every town and village in France has its markets, but in Carpentras they are especially long-standing and devoutly-held traditions, going back perhaps to its origins as a Greek market town on the Auzon. It was the capital of Comtat, the old county of Avignon owned by the Papacy in the 14th century, and as such made its own trade and customs laws. Even earlier, in 1155 the Earl of Toulouse granted a charter protecting the local truffle market from competition. The Friday morning truffle market in Place Aristide Briand is still held from November through March; the annual inauguration of the market takes place under the auspices of The Mont Ventoux and Comtat Venaissin Truffle Brotherhood Order, on the Friday before the opening of the St-Siffrein fair. This long-established local produce and wine market – 2013 will see its 488th edition – begins on 27 November, and over four days one thousand stallholders will ply their wares throughout the streets of the town. A Friday morning provençal market sees 350 vendors offering all the plenty of the south, in a riot of fragrance and colour.