Market Guide: Orne – Alençon


With a mixture of half-timbered houses and stone monuments, this Norman town is one of those places that are worth stumbling across if for no other reason than it’s a charming town with virtually no tourist traffic to dilute that feeling of being in the heart of France.

The main market is in a great setting on Place de la Magdeleine; in an open space amidst pedestrianised city centre at the foot of the town’s 14th-century Gothic Basilica of Our Lady and close to the old fortifications of the town.

Smells, flavours, colours of the local produce are all stimuli to the senses as you wander this substantial market where the vendor is almost always the producer of his/her own product. This is a large-scale fully traditional-style market in a local capital (county town of the department of Orne). The other famous tradition around here is lace-making and you’ll plenty of samples of this on show also.

The market takes place throughout the year every Thursday and Saturday morning.

The Marché de Courteille also runs throughout the year on the more functional Place du Point du Jour every Sunday morning, while the Marché de Perseigne takes place each Tuesday morning down in a rather regal-looking part of town on the Place de la Paix. This latter market is where you get the more exotic and crafty rather than local foodstuffs.

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