Saturday, July 7, 2012

Market Day and Lunch in Carpentras

Today is Friday - market day in Carpentras, a large town about 20 kms south of Sablet with one of the best markets in the area. As we get close to Carpentras, we can see Notre Dame de l'Observance towering over the town. Originally a Roman settlement, Carpentras became an important religious town under Papal rule.

Other than the 18th century Hôtel-Dieu at Place Aristide Briand, the Synagogue said to be the oldest in France dating from 1367 at Place Maurice Charretier and the Roman Arch dating from the first century AD near the Cathedral, there is not much to see in Carpentras.

We pass through Carpentras when we are headed to Venasque or to the Luberon but generally don't stop unless it's market day. The market is large and spreads out throughout the squares and narrow streets of the old town. From November through March, a large truffle market takes place at Place Aristide Briand.

After the market, we like to go to lunch at Chez Serge on rue Cottier just off of Avenue Jean Jaurès, one of the major roads that make a ring around the center of Carpentras and very near where a major section of the Friday morning market is set up.

The restaurant is owned by genial Serge Ghoukassian and offers a simple three-course l'Ardoise du Jour (slate of the day) for 15 Euros. Seating is available on a patio in front of the restaurant and on a second floor terrace on sunny days.

On this day, options for starters included a tomato tart accompanied by salad greens and

a crispy beggar's purse filled with goat's cheese accompanied by salad greens as well.

For main course, we both chose a fillet of cabillaud (cod) with mashed potatoes and beurre blanc sauce.

Dessert options included molten chocolate cake with a raspberry sauce and

Crème caramel.

As our meal drew to a close, the owner Serge Ghoukassian stopped by our table and we chatted about his summer truffle menu. He said "I want to show you something" and off he went and returned holding this plastic bin of black summer truffles. Suffice it to say, I have never seen so many truffles in one place.

Summer truffles are lighter in color and less flavorful than Black truffles and are harvested between May and August.

Accompanied by a bottle of rosé wine, it was a perfect lunch for a warm day in July.

Chez Serge Restaurant
90 Rue Cottier
84200 Carpentras
Tel: 04 90 63 21 24


  1. What an excellent way to spend the day in Provence Michel! I can't wait to go to this market and also to try lunch at Chez Serge. Thank you for your recommendations!

  2. Interesting post and with some great photos. That beggar's purse has my mouth watering!! Have a good day Diane

  3. Tuula - The market in Carpentras is very interesting especially when the truffle market is going on. Chez Serge is definitely a good place to go afterwards especially if you want to try something with truffles.

    Diane - The beggar's purse is tasty and easy to make at home by the way you have not done so.

  4. We are in Carpentras quite a bit because we have friends there. Next time, I'm going to have to stop at Chez Serge and try something truffled :)
    If you drive through Carpentras again, check out my friend's shop, Le Jardin de Nadège, for beautiful flowers and things for the home.