This spring´s, flower markets
With the arrival of the season of flowers, we explore the world’s most iconic markets. These unmissable stops bring colour to cities that are accessible from 4,500 Avios per route.
1 Marché Aux Fleur Market in Paris, France
The City of Love is the perfect setting for flowers, where their beautiful perfume adds to the ambience even more. On the banks of the River Seine, on the Île de la Cité, this market – opened in 1830 – is a mecca for floral artists in search of inspiration. The offering includes plants, trees, articles for use in botany, and even birds. Part of the market takes place in elegant metal-and-glass buildings that recall the Belle Époque and also serve as greenhouses.
2 Columbia Road Market in London
Open since 1868, it fills the (sometimes) grey city on the banks of the Thames with colour. If you stay until closing time, you just might be able to haggle successfully and take home a bargain. You’ll find everything, from seeds, flowers, a wide range of plants (and even banana trees) that the sellers grow themselves or import from abroad. You can round off your visit by stopping in one of the interesting and unusual nearby galleries, shops or cafés.
3 Bloemenmarkt Market in Amsterdam
The capital of tulip country has a market filled with this and hundreds of other varieties. In fact, the Netherlands is the world’s number one exporter of flowers. Every day, some 30 million of them are auctioned off in just four hours for distribution worldwide. Located in the city centre, Bloemenmarkt has been offering an amazing variety of plants, flowers and bulbs – perfect as tourist souvenirs – since 1862. In the past, the merchandise was moved on boats to the Singel canal, where it is located. Nowadays, though, little remains of that floating market as it now stands on platforms anchored to the shore.
4 Grand Place Flower Market in Brussels
Every day from 8.00am to 6.00pm (except Mondays and Thursdays), the Grand Place – considered one of the world’s most beautiful squares, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – becomes the best place to enjoy its iconic flower market. What’s more, from 13 to 16 August, the square will also be the site of the flower carpet. Measuring 77 metres long, 24 metres wide and holding nearly 1,000,000 begonias, it has been here every two years since 1986.
5 Xochimilco Flower Market in Mexico City
This city’s flower-growing tradition dates back to pre-Hispanic periods, so it’s no surprise that there are not one, but five, flower markets on its map. The Cuemanco Flower Market – with more than 15,000 species, it’s known as the largest in Latin America – is open from 9.00am to 6.00pm every day and is located near the canals of Xochimilco. You can take colourful trajineras (a kind of flat-bottomed boat) to its many islets, home to greenhouses and chinampas (Aztec floating gardens) where locals grow an infinite number of exotic flowers that are difficult to find elsewhere.
6 The ephemeral Flors al Mercat in Barcelona
On 16 and 17 May, Plaza Margarida Xirgu del Poble-sec will once again become the epicentre of Flors al Mercat, an event celebrating its third edition in response to the need to create a space where flower, plants, handicrafts and sustainability are all present. This event is meant to highlight the lack of a flower market in Barcelona like those in other major European cities.
7 Campo dei Fiori Market in Rome, Italy
Built in 1456, Campo de Fiori Square is home to this popular street market that has been selling a wide variety of foods and, of course, flowers – lots and lots of flowers – since 1869, true to the spirit of its name, which evokes the meadow that used to be here before it became a square. When evening falls, it’s a nice place to enjoy an aperitif and feel the heartbeat of the Eternal City.