Opened more than a century ago, Béchard, 12 cours Mirabeau (tel. 04-42-26-06-78), is the most famous bakery in town. It specializes in the famous Calissons d’Aix, a candy made from ground almonds, preserved melon, and fruit syrup. Chocolaterie de Puryicard, 7 rue Rifle-Rafle (www.puyricard.fr; tel. 04-42-21-13-26), creates sensational chocolates filled with candied figs, walnuts, or local lavender honey.
Founded in 1934 on a busy boulevard just east of the center of town, Santons Fouque, 65 cours Gambetta (www.santons-fouque.com; tel. 04-42-26-33-38), stocks close to 2,000 traditional santons (crèche figurines).
For a range of truly useful souvenirs, including copper pots and pocket knives by famous French forgers such as Laguiole, try Quincaillerie Centrale, 21 rue de Monclar (tel. 04-42-23-33-18), a hardware/housewares store that’s been offering a little bit of everything since 1959.
Aix offers some of the region’s best markets. Place Richelme holds a fruit and vegetable market every morning from 8:30am to 12:30pm. Come here to buy exquisite products such as garlic-marinated olives and local cheeses. There’s a flower market every day, with the same hours, at either place de l'Hôtel de Ville or place des Prêcheurs (the former on Tues, Thurs, and Sat; the latter on Mon, Wed, Fri, and Sun). The fish market takes place every morning on the south side of place Richelme. Place de Verdun is packed with crafts and collectibles every Tuesday and Thursday, with stalls selling clothes and linens joining the others on Saturday. And each week on Tuesday and Thursday, cours Mirabeau is lined with a mix of regional treats, from lavender honey to unique handbags.
It’s also well worth seeking out the weekly markets that lie further afield. Each one sees scores of local producers gather to sell their seasonal harvest. Imagine sampling spring’s first fresh fava beans, summer’s sweet Carpentras strawberries, or autumn’s violet figs. Every town offers a sidewalk café or two, perfect for an uninterrupted view of locals bartering and catching up on the latest gossip. Monday is market day for Cavaillon; Tuesday for Gordes; Thursday for Roussillon and Ménerbes; Friday for Bonnieux, Lourmarin, and Pertuis; Saturday for Apt; and Ansouis’ market takes place on Sunday. Additional farmers’ markets are held in Apt on Tuesday morning and Cadenet on Saturday morning, both from May to November, and in Pertuis on Wednesday and Saturday mornings year round.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.