The covered market in Beausoleil has been given a makeover. Join Monaco Tribune for a walk around its colourful and mouth-watering stalls.

Architecture aficionados will recognise the homage to Gustave Eiffel : a steel frame straight out of the twisting iron bowels of the Tour Eiffel, and glass façades. Beausoleil’s new covered market is an ode to the duality of tradition and modernity, from the building’s structure to the products on the shelves

“It’s the end of one project and the beginning of another, bigger one,” tells us Edouard Curtet,  elected representative for trade at the Beausoleil town hall. The end goal is to revitalise the neighbourhood as a whole so that its inhabitants may enjoy a diverse lifestyle. The starting point of the project is right here, at the newly refurbished covered market.

The nucleus of the town

“It’s a beacon, a crown jewel,” says Curtet of the covered market. The market accompanies the daily life of the town from morning to night.

The bustle starts at five am, as street vendors prepare their stalls. They will stay until 1 pm. In the afternoon, the space hitherto occupied by the sellers is transformed into a large terrace, where customers can eat and drink until 9 p.m.

“The place is essential for the local community, and the renovations were always carried out partially, to make sure that the covered market could always keep going, at least in part,” explains Frédéric Michelis, head of the heritage department at the Beausoleil town hall. The challenge was met successfully: during the entire renovation period, the covered market was fully shut only for a single day.

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© Simon Zwierniak / Monaco Tribune

Organic products take centre stage

The covered market’s most recent addition, a Naturalia, puts a strong focus on organic food. 450m² large, the store is designed to fulfil all of the conscious buyer’s expectations. The store also happens to be the largest Naturalia in the South of France. “It was very important for the project,” admits Curtet. “Beausoleil will become a point of reference for organic food in the region.

Are they not afraid that there will be competition between organic products and fruit and vegetable stands? There is no real competition, says Curtet. “In the end, everyone will benefit from it”. Despite the pandemic and the health restrictions, clients are filling up the new covered market. Save for a few tourists, most of them are locals.

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© Simon Zwierniak / Monaco Tribune

Just like a village

Under the imposing steel arches is a melting pot of shops. The combination works wonders. Fishmongers, butchers, Parisian cafés and local delis rub shoulders and complement each other.

The space has been laid out in such a way as to allow for shared tables between restaurants. It is therefore possible to have a socca (a chickpea crepe typical of the region) at the Niçois restaurant, a cappuccino at the Café Foufou, and finish your meal with fresh fruit from the street vendors without ever leaving your table.

“There’s a nice atmosphere, it’s like a small village here, everyone knows each other, everyone does each other favours,” tells us an employee of Naturalia. As we speak with the employee, a waitress from Café Foufou enters and is greeted with a big smile. “I’ve been here all my life, everybody gets along,” says the florist at La Halle.

The only downside is the price difference. Compared to the affordable market stalls, lunch at Café Foufou is expensive, and the bill can quickly climb up to twenty euro mark.