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.
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Take advantage of Paris' extensive bike share system and ride a Vélib' to the market. Stock up your basket with everything you need for a Parisian picnic in a park.
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Fresh fish is ubiquitous at Paris markets, and fishmongers are happy to advise on how to prepare their catch of the day. They are also happy to hook it up with fish heads and frames, in case you want to have a go at a soupe de poisson or simple fish stock at home.
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Heirloom veggies and rare varieties are making a come back in France. These lovely multicolored carrots were grown in Normandy and are sold at Mr. And Mme. Baudry's stand at Marché Bastille.
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Experience the changing of the seasons through the constantly shifting produce at Paris markets. This autumn scene was provided by Marché biologique des Batignolles, on of the city's three all-organic markets.
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"You're allowed to taste here" confirms a sign at Marché Brancusi, an organic market in the 14th arrondissement. Tasting produce, and even touching it sometimes, is often looked down upon at Paris markets, where the vendors want to choose the perfect fruit or vegetable for you.
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At Marché Convention in the 15th arrondissement, farmers from Maison Lenoble sell locally grown produce.
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During the colder months, winter cabbage and squash takes over Marché Cours de Vincennes, home to several Ile-de-France farmers.
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Colorful cauliflower and cabbage abound at Marché Daumesnil in the 12th arrondissement.
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Located practically underneath the Eiffel Tower, Marché Saxe Breteuil makes for a perfect Parisian market outing. Locally grown root vegetables are a standard at the Le Trepied stand throughout autumn and winter.
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Signs advertising Ile-de-France origins assure locally grown produce.