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Riviera Pebbles Blog: Super! Market Challenge: Les Cours Saleya & Libération Market

Posted on 9th May 2018 in Go & Do


Photo: Alberto Perdomo/Flickr

Although Nice offers a wealth of fantastic restaurants, sometimes it’s lovely to venture out into the markets in search of a real rustic repas you can produce in the comfort of your own home. For €10 you can pick up all the makings of a gourmet meal!

Cours Saleya Market

In the heart of the postcard-perfect Old Town, just metres from the Med, Nice’s Cours Saleya market could be the Provençal archetype. Striped awnings shelter piles of local pro-duce; bottles of golden olive oil share space with cases of candied fruit and handmade marzi-pan.It is here that many Nice residents choose to do their weekly shopping.

The market spans most of the pedestrianised Cours Saleya, beginning at its eastern end, just below the amber façade of artist Henri Matisse’s former home (1 Place Charles Félix). We suggest you start with a ramble through the market’s central stalls: many of the vendors here purchase produce in bulk at an early morning wholesale market out near Nice’s airport. Aubergines, apples, courgettes and peppers are heaped into bucket-shaped plats and sold for a couple of euros per lot.

One of the best things about shopping is the French’s wonderfully liberal attitude to sam-ples! You’ll often find a tray or plate filled with regional specialities like fougasse farci, a rich bread stuffed vegetables or cured pork. No matter how many times you taste the specialties, the standard of the market’s range of nibbles on display turns every shopping trip into a real treat.

Close by you’ll find Place Gautier, where local producers cluster in a little square, jam-packed on Saturday and Sunday mornings. What the Cours Saleya market may lack in quan-tity, it makes up here, in variety and intimacy.

Heirloom tomatoes (with a few free extras thrown in), huge sweet red peppers, plus roast-ing tips from the market vendor! The pace is leisurely here: take in the rich culture as you go, notice that whiff of goat’s cheese (fresh or aged, sprinkled with herbs, paprika or plain) or tune into those two elderly women chatting and practice your French skills.

There is a downside: location and clientele mean the pickings on offer are not cheapest in town. Steer away from exotic produce, or fruits and vegetables that aren’t quite in season. As the market is a favourite with tourists, you’ll also need to keep an eye on your change, as ‘mistakes’ are unfortunately common.

For your €10 you can buy enough for dinner for four, with plenty of leftovers. Roasted red peppers, pureed for individual soufflés, served on a bed of crispy alfalfa sprouts, with spicy, honeyed pepper chutney on the side. Followed with a platter of goat’s cheese and ripe, purple figs, paired with a basket of sunflower seed bread. Delectable!

The Cours Saleya market is open from 7.30am to 12.30pm, Tuesday to Sunday.

Liberation market

Libération market Market

The Libération market just situated just north of the hustle and bustle around Nice train station. It’s wonderfully colourful, noisy and stocked to the rafters with fresh produce. The good news is, unlike its pricier counterpart on the Cours Saleya, 10 euros will go a long way!

First stop is the indoor market just up from the tram stop at Place Général de Gaulle. Quality seafood can be hard to find in Nice, but there’s a cracking poissonerie here, with an-other five fishmongers outside around the square. Despite the busy Sunday crowds, it’s all smiles as vendors skilfully skin and fillet their catch-of-day.

The next stall along is for cheese aficionados - the Casa di Giorgio, home to a gregarious Italian cheese seller with a long queue for Gorgonzola and Parmesan among others!

Liberation boasts two organic – or biologique – areas, one around the Place, the other midway down Boulevard Joseph Garnier.

At lunchtime the bars buzz, glasses of rosé are enjoyed as a pitstop after a busy morn-ing’s shopping – a true experience of the ‘real’ Provence.

As the stallholders slowly shut up shop, metal plats of unsold goodies are on offer for €1.50 a bowl. Look out for the organic cherry tomatoes, overripe peppers, and mixed bags of avocados, lemons and salad. Have a dish in mind when heading to the market else you could end up with much than you bargained for- everything looks delicious to the point of temptation!

The market is open Tuesday – Sunday 8am – 1pm.
May 2018


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