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The Markets of Paris

Farm to Table Shopping

Fish from the nearby Atlantic, Mediterranean and sometimes from tropical seas
Fish from the nearby Atlantic, Mediterranean and sometimes from tropical seas
During your next visit to Paris, you will want, of course, to visit the Musée du Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, Tour Eiffel and Champs-Élysées. But there is also a live and free show that you should not miss: The markets of Paris. You will find them in each of the 20 arrondissements on certain days of the week with a rotating formula from one arrondissement to the other as well as in the suburbs. Parisians of all walks of life love to shop and browse among the open-air stalls as merchants cheerfully trumpet — often with humor — the quality of their goods. Rain or shine, the markets start early in the morning and close around 1:30 p.m.

Baskets of health: artichokes, apples, tangerines - all you need for a healthy diet
Baskets of health: artichokes, apples, tangerines — all you need for a healthy diet

The street markets of Paris display an abundance of all kinds of food, everything from cheese to vegetables, olives to bread, fish and meat to fruit — you name it. The goods are not only from all over France, but also from all over the world, like haricots verts from Kenya or lychees from Vietnam. A number of producers drive all night to bring their products to the stalls on the streets of Paris: oysters from Ile de Ré or Noirmoutier, charcuteries from Auvergne, goat cheese from the Loire Valley. Even if you are not buying anything, the vendors will be happy to see you and you will enjoy a real feast for the eyes and ears, and for a moment a precious feeling of warmth and humanity.

Veggie bounty at Rue Montorgeuil
Veggie bounty at Rue Montorgeuil

For example, the Sunday morning Marché Mouffetard with its crowded cafés and bars creates a distinct, old-world community feeling, especially when regulars break out in cheerful song. Energetic and exotic, the vast Marché d’Aligre in the 12th arrondissement is open every morning except Monday and promises for an unforgettable experience with loudly calling merchants, organ grinders, aromatic herbs and a beautifully preserved covered market selling superior products. Have a glass of white wine and a plate of oysters at the popular Baron Rouge wine bar, a neighborhood “institution”.

The baguettes and pain de campagne of the day
The baguettes and pain de campagne of the day

More centrally located is the ultra-charming market at Rue Montorgeuil in the 2nd arrondissment where friendly merchants display goods on a pristinely paved pedestrian street. Stop at the Patisserie Stohrer at number 51 to witness a truly lovely pastry shop à l’ancienne that even the Queen of England couldn’t resist on her last visit to the French capital. Less boisterous is the proper Marché Raspail, located between rue Cherche Midi and rue de Rennes which offers a traditional market on Tuesday and Friday mornings and organic products on Sunday morning. Although you can buy breads and pastries at the market, make a special stop at the famous storefront bakery, Poilâne, at nearby 8, rue Cherche Midi, for superb breads and rustic pastries.


Paris Markets at a Glance

Marché Montorgeuil
Rue Montorgeuil
2nd arrondissment
Charming market with friendly merchants.

Marché Mouffetard
Rue Mouffetard
5th arrondissement
Typical Parisian experience.

Marché Raspail
Rue Cherche Midi/Rue de Rennes
6th arrondissement
Great for organic products.

Marché d’Aligre
Place d'Aligre
12th arrondissement
Exotic world market with great prices.

Marché de Saint Mandé
12th arrondissement

Fresh produce at the Marche de Saint Mande

Markets of Paris Second Edition by Dixon Long and Marjorie R. Williams
Markets of Paris
Whether you're an aspiring chef, an art enthusiast or simply someone who loves to sightsee, the Parisian markets—with their high-energy ambiance and quality wares—are not to be missed. However, with locations across the city, it can be hard to keep track of them all. Luckily this guide makes it easy, providing directions to and details on the best open-air and covered food markets, along with arts and craft markets and shopping centers. Available on Amazon.

The above pictures (except for Rue Montorgeuil and the book cover) were shot on a Sunday morning at the Marché de Saint Mandé.

For the best hotels, restaurants and attractions, check out our Paris 72-Hour Vacation Travel Guide

(Updated: 06/22/12 KK)

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