There are dozens of outdoor markets in Paris, at least two in each of the city’s 20 arrondissements. Probably the largest, and many argue the best, is the fantastic Marché Richard-Lenoir—more commonly called the Marche Bastille, held Thursdays and Sundays along the grand Boulevard Richard Lenoir, just north of the Place de la Bastille. The focus is the wonderful range of foods grown by local area farmers, quite a few of which are certified organic growers. As though that were not enough of an attraction, there are beautiful flower stalls, and vendors with a wide range of merchandise, ranging from small kitchen gadgets to African artefacts and fashion. Most of the crowd will be eager local shoppers with shopping trolleys and dogs in tow, rather than hordes of tourists.
In a city that boasts over 140 museums, and a food culture that’s worth travelling from the other side of the world for, it a natural fit that there are going to be cafes and restaurants in certain Paris museums that are as worth visiting as the museums themselves. Some museum restaurants have become icons of good food and great ambience, such as the Café at Musée Jacquemart-André, and more recently, Alain Ducasse’s ‘Ore’ at the Chateau de Versailles and the Café Littéraire at L’Institut du Monde Arabe. Lately, there has been a quiet culinary revolution happening in the city’s museums.
One of the great pleasures of a visit to Paris is spending time exploring the many wonderful food markets. You can take your pick from 69 open-air and 13 covered markets in the city, meaning that some arrondissements have more than one market. Everyone has their personal favourites, and we certainly have ours, but we also love to visit other markets in various parts of the city to see what’s on offer. Produce is always seasonal and high quality, and one of the fascinating things is to observe which vendors attract long queues while others are slower. Each market’s produce will usually reflect the profile of its neighbourhood, which means you can find the flavours of the West African community in the Marché Dejean in the 18th arr. or German smoked ham at Marché Saint-Martin in the 10th. So take plenty of cash, a big supply of re-usable shopping bags, and head off to discover some edible delights.
Paris is Europe’s most densely populated city, and offers a mind-boggling array of food offers. There are even local Parisian products available, if you know where to look. One of the great advantages of renting an apartment rather than staying in a hotel is that you can explore so many wonderful culinary treats from almost any district in which you find yourself on your daily excursions. However, no matter where you stay, it’s easy to put together a picnic of goodies from your neighbourhood to enjoy in one of the many parks or down by the Seine on a warm evening.
According to the Mairie de Paris, there are more than 82 markets in Paris. This equates to at least one market in every one of the 20 arrondissements of Paris, and the number increases the further out you head from the centre.
One of the best-loved markets for Parisians is located in the rue Poncelet in the 17th arrondissement.