There is something else that you can experience in Paris, different than the monuments and the glamorous restaurants. You can also visit the local markets, very popular among french people, where you can find local products coming directly from their producers.
On certain days of the week gorgeous food markets open up across Paris with dozens of vendors coming from regional farms to sell their fresh product.
Either organic or small production farmers of fruits and vegetables, chees, poultry and meat, as well as more specialty items like smoked fish, wine, oils or soaps, selling directly to customers, often, though not always resulting in lower prices then buying from the store. In most of these markets you can also buy prepared food and drinks like crispy onion galettes, fruit tarts, roast chicken, and winter favorites such as mulled wine and tartiflette, a traditional dish that is about cheese, cheese and more cheese. The ambiance is fun and lively, with some more serious types apt to nudge you out of your way to get the right tomato. Say “Bonjour” and don’t be shy to ask for samples at the cheese stalls as it is nearly impossible to know where to start when the selection is so diverse and unique.
Rivaling Raspail in terms of quality organic products is the Marché Batignolles, open on Saturdays along the Boulevard des Batignolles in the 17 arrondissement. An incredible selection of fruits and vegetables dominate this outdoor market and if you go in the summer look for “Monsieur Blueberry” in the eastern stretch of the market, who offers copious fresh blueberries, juice, and jam at great prices.There is also an excellent fish monger, but be sure to visit the the Italian focused-stall in the center of the market, selling fresh homemade pastas and sauces, and selected olive oils from Italy that are hard to find elsewhere. This is also a good place to look for gifts to bring home with people selling reasonably priced scarves, jewelry, and socks.
The market is open every Saturday from 8h00 until 15h00.
Walking through the lively market of Barbes is like being transported to Morocco or Senegal. Vendors bargaining in Arabic, women in colorful flowing dresses walking hand in hand, and a diverse range of produce on hand, including spices, olives, dried fruits, and spicy Caribbean peppers. Be prepared for crowds but it is great energy. Unlike Raspail or Batignolles, prices here are low and sometimes can be negotiated, if you feel up for it.
The market is open every Wednesday from 8h00 until 13h00 and Saturday from 07h00 until 15h00.
Marché des Enfants Rouges
The Marché des Enfants Rouges is one of the most incredible covered markets and also the oldest, it dates from 1600s. Unlike the markets mentioned above, the Marché des Enfants Rouge is open every day of the week except Mondays. Located on the rue de Bretagne in the chic upper Marais, it is the perfect place to sit down and relax after a morning of shopping. Beyond the typical fish, flowers and fruit stands, the Marché des Enfants Rouges offers a selection of vendors selling homemade Moroccan, Lebanese, Italian, Japanese and West African food.There is also an organic restaurant and juice bar. Tables and chairs are set up along the sides and you can order food from any one of them and sit down to enjoy. In the winter, plastic sheeting and small portable heaters are set up to keep you warm, though a steaming plate of couscous or a bowl of ramen noodles should also do the trick!
The market is open on Tuesday-Saturday: 8h30-20h30 and Sunday: 8h30-17h00.
On the east side of Paris, the Marché Bastille is one of the largest Parisian outdoor food markets. Running the length of the Boulevard Richard Lenoir, behind the Bastille monument, this market includes more clothing and crafts along with the food stalls and flower stands. On Saturdays the market is dedicated to arts and crafts, a fun way to see some local artists in action.
The market is open on Thursday and Sunday from 07h00 until 15h00.
Place des Fêtes
Three times a week this vast outdoor market fills the Place des Fȇtes. Here you will see atrue cross-section of Parisian living with people of all nationalities and ages.
The market is open on Tuesday and Friday from 07h00 until 14h30 and Sunday from 07h00 until 15h00.
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