Parisian Markets – shopping for food

Posted on January 8, 2010


Granted that I have a ‘thing’ against supermarkets: there’s something about everyone piling down to Tesco’s or Sainsbury’s for their weekly shop every Saturday morning that scares me. Shopping in this way takes much of the enjoyment out of it and despite recipe cards all over the place, I feel it stifles creativity.

There is nothing I like more at the weekend than popping to one of the local markets, picking up some wonderful fresh seasonal food (that is also cheap as seasonal goods are plentiful), spending the afternoon working out what on earth I am going to do with everything (god bless the BBC website and their three ingredient recipe search), and then cooking up a feast for friends in the evening.

So here’s a quick guide to some of my three favourite markets in Paris:

Bastille: the largest of the markets and somewhere I could while away hours. It’s good to go towards the end when the stall holders sell off their good cheaply. It is open ,7 a.m. to 2.30 p.m Thursday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m on Sunday.

Le Motte-Picquet: a particular favourite as the market is under the arches of the metro line  6. It is open 7am to 2.30 pm Wednesdays and Sundays.

Les Enfants Rouges is a small hidden market that is half fresh food stalls and half take away food stalls (there is a sit down area). I have had one of the best brunches ever here. The food is a good reward for the efforts in finding it. It is open 8.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7.30 p.m Tuesday to Saturday and 8.30 a.m. to 2 p.m on Sunday

Also, each arrondissement also has a street of food shops. I almost want to say high street but with their family owned shops and restaurants, and cobbled streets lined with tables and chairs, they resemble nothing of the brand-led UK and US high streets.  Rue Montergueil is a perfect example of one of these Parisian streets. Personally I find it dangerous in the fromagerie, too many delicious cheeses to choose from. Speaking of which, I’m off to eat some saintfélicien and some vieux comté….