Article by Ceri Wheeldon
One of the things I enjoy about going on holiday is the opportunity to wear clothes I probably wouldn’t wear any other time. I have spent a lot of time in the South of France over the past decade- and my wardrobe when I am there is so different to what I wear at home in the UK.
I have never really followed fashion,although I do love clothes. I enjoy wearing things that are a little different, that I feel I have ‘found’ rather than bought because it follows current trends. I think that by the time we reach our 50s we know what we do and don’t like.
I love to shop in the French clothes markets. Typically each town has a set day where the market takes over the main square. I like to wander and browse in the sunshine. Locals and tourists flock there and you can find some really unusual pieces. You do of course have some of the pile it high sell it cheap types of stalls, but you also have some quite individual, artisan type stalls.
I found some fabulous dresses and tops designed by a local lady but made in India in lightweight cotton – perfect for when the temperatures I love maxi dresses but hate the volume that comes with many of the maxi styles. This one just skims. – I wish I had bought more! Very different from the more tailored , bodycon styles I tend to wear in the UK. But when the temperatures are in the mid 30s you need to be cool!
I have over the years bought some fabulous accessories. I always buy my beach/pool cover ups in the market – they have lovely ones for as little as 8 euros, so if they get ruined with sun cream it really doesn’t matter.
One particular necklace I wear often gets commented on – it cost 10 euros in Antibes market – very dramatic and quite a find!
I have also bought sandals , lots of scarves, bags – and have lost track of the numbers of pairs of sunglasses I have bought . And when you bring your purchases home – or take them on your next trip – the memory of the South of France comes with you.
There is always a buzz around the French towns on market day. The outdoor cafes really come alive. It’s a lovely way to shop and explore. And find some individual pieces to reflect your holiday style.
In Antibes the main clothes market is on a Thursday, in Valbonne it’s Friday (stalls are nestled in the narrow streets so walking through the market is very picturesque), Saturday the market is in Beaulieu sur Mer. If you feel a little more adventurous and want to pick up some fabulous leather goods, then take the train to Italy on a Friday to Ventimiglia. The train from Antibes follows the coast, so you have spectacular views en route. Trains are far less expensive in France than in the UK. I took the train from Antibes to Cannes last week – and it cost less than 4 euros return.