Saturday, October 1, 2011


I wouldn't be an expert on markets or a fan, as I find they are so often filled with tat and rubbish - I've done markets in India, The Canaries, Spain, Portugal, not forgetting a few Irish. With the exception in Ireland of the Friday's market in Listowel, Co Kerry - during Writers' Week - I haven't been impressed.
But the markets on the Cote are something else.
Nice has markets most days. The flower market is understandably gorgeous - a riot of blooms and colours and specemins, and the food market equally interesting, but on Monday mornings if you're in the area make for the Antique Market.
On previous occasions, I have been utterly enchanted with the jewellery on offer - gold, silver, modern and antique. Last year I picked up art deco earrings and great eggcups. This year I drooled over a Spoke dinner service, almost intact, for the €200 mark. I presume it's still there.
The market was more crowded than I'd seen it: a huge percentage of tourists, Americans, wandering loudly around, picking up this, commenting on that and buying very little; European holidaymakers like ourselves, as interested in getting a bargain as we are at enjoying the atmosphere and wondering at the amount of work that goes into stocking and maintaining the stalls; and locals with doe-eyed children hanging out of them.
It's the little things that capture the imagination: on a stand with military memorbilia and decidedly military-looking stallholders sits a small dog with a lolling tongue and a laughing expression. Beside him is propped up a notice which reads in English: Beware. Dog Bites.
A few miles along the coast Villefranche-sur-mer is also a town or village? of markets. Three times a week along the main street there a food market - amazing selections of cheeses, local seasonal vegetables and fruit - currently peaches and nectaries on at their best; herbs; all sorts of favouring peppers; spices and breads, as well as in a poetable oven baked on-the-spot onion tarts - have to be tasted to be believed.
Down towards the harbour, on the days when the cruise ships call, the market sells handbags, costume jewellery, table cloths, table mats, napkins, as well as crystals and posters depicting Hollywood's golden era. There are bargains to be had, the quality of merchandise is good and there's a great buzz around the place.

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