On a sunny day, Place des Cardeurs has the ambiance of an Italian piazza – it is a great place to stop for lunch at one of several restaurants. During the middle ages, this section of the city was the Jewish quarter, a scruffy, densely inhabited area. The current square was opened in 1963 after several unsanitary buildings were demolished. Today beautifully restored homes and buildings surround the square.
The name of the plaza comes from carding, or cardage in French; the process of brushing wool fibers to prepare them for weaving into textiles. Historically, this is done with an over-sized natural burr called a chardon. Sheep raising has been a common livelihood in Provence since the days of the Romans. Not surprisingly many towns have a street called Rue des Cardeurs or a Place des Cardeurs.