Fun fact: every week Rennes, Brittany, plays host to the second largest fresh market in France. It’s a place teeming with crisp, bundled asparagus, spiky artichokes, and a diversity of French cheese that will leave you head spinning.
If you know me, you know that I adore fresh markets. So when I found out that Rennes is home to one of the largest, it felt a bit like hitting the jackpot.
Which is why every single Saturday, we opted to stay in Rennes (saving day trips for weekdays or Sundays) in order to do as much of our weekly shopping as we could squeeze in.
In case you’re headed that way yourself, here’s the skinny…
What you’ll find: fresh seasonal produce, honey, nuts, cheeses, meats, bread, pastries, marinated olives, herbs, dried fruits, spreads, jams, caramel, artisanal macarons, coffee, rotisserie chickens, food trucks.
Where to shop: At the Marche de Lices, not all stalls are created equal. Some boast local produce; others bring in fruits and veggies from Spain and Morocco. Some cheese stands attract long lines of locals; others don’t inspire the same fervor. Anytime you have a market this huge, you get a range of quality, which is why I asked some locals which stands to shop at.
First a few overall browsing tips: look for produce marked as local (much of it will have signs; look for not only France, but specifically Bretagne) and opt for carrots and potatoes still dusted in dirt (they probably came out of the ground recently and nearby).
Now, some specific stands:
For herbs, the top stand is Annie Bertin of Les Legumes de Blot. Top chefs from Paris come down to buy her wares.
For seafood, try Les Viviers la Julmadiere. For chicken, check out Olivier et Paul Renault. For cheese, Maison Bale was recommended strongly to me. For bread, you can’t do better than Le Petit Fournil. And for produce, Earl Robin is a local favorite.
To get there: Marche de Lices is right in the center of Rennes. You’ll find it on the tourist maps and locals can always point the way.
When to go: Saturdays from 7:20 a.m. to about 1 p.m.
Language: French! Occasionally you’ll find an English speaker, but not every vendor is multi-lingual, so go expecting to practice your French.
All photos taken with my Sony a6000.
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