Firstly, don’t be lazy! Everyone knows that all the shops are shut on Sundays and Geneva transforms into a day of slumber. Yet, now that the days are warmer it is the perfect time to get out of town and visit the small quaint French spa town of Divonne-les-Bains, located below the beautiful mountains of the Jura.
Every Sunday, from 7am to 1pm, a couple streets are blocked off for a food market that moves into town. The magnificent 18th century cobbled streets and small French town houses become host to a large array of different stalls with so much to offer. Every time I go, I find something new and exciting to try or buy. Here you will find venders boasting their products from all around Europe. Some well-established and profitable and others who are trying to get their name and brand out there.
It’s ideal for buying any fresh local produce ranging from apricots, cherries, tomatoes and all types of vegetables. You will also find freshly baked bread combined with different ingredients such as walnuts, figs or dried tomatoes, just to mention a few. One of my favourites stands displays spices coming from all corners of the world. Speaking of variation, there are 20 different types of peppercorns and Saucisson! (a typical variety of thick, dry cured sausage that originates in France). One who loves food would go mad with the selection available.
I never fail to make sure I have enough time to chat with the local cheese venders. There’s about four cheese stalls that display about thirty different cheeses each, from all around the region. Also, If you are a seafood lover, you are in for a treat! A large sector of the market is solely seafood from oysters to shrimp, crab, lobster and some very large fish. All their stock is very fresh and reasonably priced. If you have time, I do suggest a bottle of tasty French wine, five oysters per person and a cheese platter. Find a nice spot to relax in the sun and take it all in!
As you continue to walk through the market, you will notice that the venders hand out tons of tasters to as many people walking by in order to grab their attention. They get me every time! Everything tastes amazing! Deeper into the market, you will find a small collection of retail venders and retro French household stalls dotted in between the bustling Sunday market. The fascination for small trinkets can keep you bargaining for a couple hours. You never know what you will find.
Next Sunday, if you find yourself wondering what to do, don’t forget, Divonne is just over the border. Also if you have friends and relatives visiting, this is a good place to keep them busy.
The market is accessible by car, only 15 minutes form the centre of Geneva. Otherwise, trains run every 15 minutes from Geneva to Coppet, where busses run every 30 minutes to Divonne.