It’s your fourth morning at Country Kids. You have just dropped your kids off at the Kids’ Club. They went in happily, ready to start the morning’s baking activity with new friends. You said goodbye and they hardly even noticed. You walked away, up the cobbled path to the car park where your husband was waiting for you. It was the start of the “date morning” market visit you had been planning since you arrived. Welcome to a fun-filled, carefree and guilt-free day of exploring the French countryside.
Whilst there are some seasonal markets that just pop up for the hottest and busiest months of the year, the Languedoc region is full of year-round markets too. Drive down the mountain, past beautiful Lac du Salagou to reach nearby towns for market days. Mingle with locals to sample colourful produce, baked goods, cheeses, herbs, and olives. Browse everything from antiques and collectables to handmade fashions and timeless accessories. Whichever day you choose to leave your kids to their own fun as you venture out for the day, there’s a bustling market just for you.
Where do our guests go? If you love food, then the Wednesday market in Clermont l’Herault is not to be missed. It’s about 25 minutes drive and you’ll find the best olive oil, honey and goat’s cheese in the Languedoc. For some reason Clermont l’Herault seems to be a centre for artisanale producers and many of them are featured in the market. The market takes over the whole of the town centre and it’s a wonderful way to spend a morning. After the stalls start to close up there are plenty of great restaurants to choose from (you’ll be able to leave the kids in the Kids Club over lunchtime if you wish). Le Tournesol above the Post Office on the main pedestrian street is one of our favorites. The seafood platters are piled high and the Tarte Tatin and cinnamon ice cream is to die for!
Another favourite is the Saturday market in Pézenas. It’s a little over a half an hour’s drive from Country Kids. It’s also on the way to a few of the airports that our guests fly out of so is a good mornings activity on departure day, flight times allowing. Pézenas, Latin for fishpond, is named after legend of a lake full of fish—perhaps made from water of the River Peyne—that once existed behind the château. It’s a shopping destination, especially well known for antiquing. Visitors especially love taking in 16th, 17th and 18th century charm along narrow streets of old town centre. There they find Piscenois (inhabitants of Pézenas) selling flowers, produce, antiques and handmade crafts.
What’s interesting about this old world shopping village is it was once the home of 17th centre playwright Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin) and his theatre group l’Illustre Théâtre. Piscenois Gabriel François Venel, the 18th century chemist who invented seltzer water, has a street named after him. Alexandra Rosenfeld (Miss France 2006 and Miss Europe 2006) isn’t the only recent claim to fame for this bustling south of France village. Gwyneth Paltrow has been seen perusing antiques in the old town centre.
Explore, shop and taste world-class recipes that have appeared on BBC’s Master Chefs: The Professionals. Sample the Lord Clive’s recipe from India that makes the sweet savoury pies of Le petit pâté de Pézenas so delightful. Try the boiled sugar sweets of the amazing candy store Le Berlingot de Pézenas.
All year long, people fill the streets for market days in the Languedoc. We encourage you to join them during your stay. Come for a relaxing family vacation. We’ll help you find everything from peace of mind to a piece of that famous pie.