Night Markets are a popular evening event in this part of France during the summer months of July and August and are a great way to enjoy popular local foods and some musical entertainment. They are not markets in the traditional sense; more open air street food with tables and chairs provided by the local Marie. There are markets held every evening of the week and colourful banners at the entrance to the village advertise on which night of the week it will be taking place.
Although each market is slightly different in size and style, they all follow the same format.
Trestle tables for several hundred people are laid out in the village square surrounded by a variety of food and wine stalls from local butchers, producers and small food outlets. All you have to do is choose what you would like to eat and drink and buy your meal at the relevant stall(s). This is the perfect way to enjoy local life. Meals are all reasonably priced and there are so many different dishes available including barbecued meat (at some night markets you can choose the meat of your choice from the butcher’s stall), kebabs, fresh fish, pizza, paella cooked in huge pans.
You may well find some of the traditional local dishes such as duck and snails. For those who prefer, there are usually stalls serving a variety of salads with artisan cheeses and there are a number serving delicious cakes, pastries and ‘made on the spot’ ice cream. Several local wineries also have stalls at these events.
Night markets usually start at 19:00 but you should be there earlier than this if you wish to select and reserve a table and chairs. Some of the night markets are extremely popular and can quickly become “standing room only” so you need to arrive early!
There is often music, dancing and other impromptu entertainment. It is best to take your own cutlery, plate and wine glasses as well as a tablecloth ‘to mark your spot’. These are offered to guests in a picnic basket to guests of Les Séchoirs. It is best to wear comfortable shoes too as the streets of some of the bastide villages are usually cobbled.
Monday : Saint Sardos (12 mins) a small village
Tuesday : Laparade (15 mins), Damazan (25 mins) and Neyrac (45 mins drive but is very special with open air eating on the river)
Wednesday : Pujols (one of the best but very popular so there are tables in the side streets too!). Prayssas (about 20 mins with accordion entertainment from 20:00)
Thursday : Fongrave (20 mins) near the church and on the banks of the river Lot. This is our favourite marché nocturne with excellent local food, wines and music. Boats and waterskiing provide a constant attraction. Travelling further Duras with its fine castle and Monflanquin a beautiful bastide village both offer a lovely alternative. Lavaradac (40 mins) – very traditional and with children’s entertainment
Friday : Vianne (lovely market square) and Villeneuve sur Lot.
Saturday : Casseneuil
Sunday : Monclar – just 15 mins away