Whether or not you love to cook and/or shop for food, Paris has you covered. Permanent and temporary “marches” (markets) provide fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables to your doorstep, along with meat and fish stands. Week after week, you will begin to recognize (and be recognized by) your favorite stalls and conversations with the sellers will grow from the quality and ripeness of the day’s melon and how to prepare the dos de cabillaud (cod) to their children and vacation plans. Markets are a Parisian experience not to be missed. There is one – if not more – in every single neighborhood of Paris, so this is just the barest introduction to these delights.
Permanent markets do not move and are usually closed on Sunday afternoons and Mondays. Moving markets travel into a neighborhood two or three times a week and are generally opened from 8am-2pm. For a complete list of markets and their locations and hours, visit http://www.paris.fr. In the top right corner, you’ll see a number of icons under “Les + Demandes”… click on the basket that says “Marches”. If the basket does not appear, click on “Tous les Services” which will take you to the complete page of icons where you will find the basket. All of the markets, permanent and moving, will appear on a map of Paris. Move the cursor over the markets to see the address and then click for days and hours.
Note that there are a couple of rules to observe. Most importantly, do not touch the merchandise. Indicate what you would like and the market stall keeper will select and bag your products for you. Be ready for a barrage of questions concerning your selection, i.e. when will you use it? how will you cook it? and more. Secondly, keep in mind that gentle bargaining is acceptable, but far more common is for your ‘regular’ market stall keeper to throw in a few free products. The market stall keepers are wonderful sources of information on the use of their products; do take the time to chat with them and ask their advice – they will be more than happy to share!
Some markets not to miss include:
- La Marché d’Aligre, rue d’Aligre between rue de Charenton and rue Crozatier, Metro: Ledru-Rollin. Open Tuesday-Sunday from 7.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. This is one of the best, and cheapest, of the permanent outdoor markets. You’ll find food, flowers, clothes and a small flea market section.
- Raspail Bio, Boulevard Raspail between rue du Cherche-Midi and rue de Rennes, Metro: Rennes. Open Sunday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is a large organic market with wonderful produce and prepared foods. It is slightly pricier than other markets.
- La Marché de la Place Monge, Place Monge and surrounding streets, Metro: Place Monge. Open Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. This is a wonderful market in the heart of the Latin Quarter, with reasonably priced produce and some of the best poultry in the city.
- La Marché de Les Enfants Rouge, is the oldest market in Paris (established in the early 1600’s) and its twenty merchants are located at 39 rue de Bretagne in the Marais, Metro: Temple or Filles de Calvaire. Open 8:30 to 1.00 pm and then 4 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Friday and Saturdays they close at 8.00 pm and they are open Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The market has fruit, vegetables, flowers, etc and you’ll find a large selection of savory cuisines such as Japanese, Italian, Afro-Carribean, Moroccan, to name a few.
- La Marché Poncelet, Poncelet, rue Poncelet in the 16th arrondissement, Metro: Ternes. Open Tuesday-Saturday 8.00 a.m. – 7.30 p.m., Sunday 8.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m. Note that some of the stores/stalls will close for lunch and some, will be open on Monday. This permanent market has an abundance of high-quality stalls and stores selling everything from vegetables to fish, meat to coffee, cheese to wine.
If you would like to visit where the Parisian markets fill their stalls, plan a trip to Rungis Market, the world’s largest wholesale provider of fresh produce. They have five primary areas including fish, meat, produce, dairy and flowers. Most of what you’ll see in your local market is sourced from Rungis. It is huge and busy and an extremely interesting experience. There are restaurants and you can schedule a tour… keep in mind the hours and expect to wake up early. For example, the fish trading takes place from 2am-7am! For more information, visit http://www.rungismarket.com.