Paris is home to over eighty outdoor food markets that are scattered throughout the city. Six days a week these markets set up in cozy corners across the city’s 20 arondissements. Rain or shine, the markets are open all year round, providing residents with a reliable source of produce, meat, cheese, and other products as well as a regular place for the local community to gather.
Ranging from exclusively organic to largely wholesale, every market has its own personality and vibe. Visitors from abroad may be disappointed to see that outdoor food markets in Paris, unlike those in cities such as London, New York, or San Francisco, are not made up exclusively of family farmers or small-scale producers. In fact, farmers are few and far between at Paris markets.
Equipped with a keen eye and a few guidelines, shoppers at the marchés of Paris are able to track down the almost extinct farmer at their local market. Market stands boasting key words such as maraîcher (garden farmer), producteur (producer) and Ile-de-France (referring to Paris surrounding, partially agricultural, region) are clues leading you to locally grown, seasonal produce.
Make your next trip to a Paris food market a mixture of city fun and countryside quality by exploring new neighborhoods and finding locally grown fruits and veggies. Here are a few sights you might see on your scavenger hunt.
Emily Dilling is the author of “My Paris Market Cookbook: A Culinary Tour of French Flavors and Seasonal Recipes” (September 2015) and the founder of the blog parispaysanne.com, which documents her quest to explore Paris markets and French terroir. Emily’s writing has appeared in Beer Advocate, The Portland Mercury, HiP Paris, and EcoSalon.