Anywhere in the world, a stroll around some suitably stellar stalls is a feast for the senses. In Paris markets, you’re almost in danger of sensory overload. Vibrant fruits, ripe cheeses, baked goods and wafts of succulent rotisserie chicken all battle for your attention. The company’s not bad either. Jovial sellers, artisan producers, Parisians stocking the fridge and, depending on the locale – an upmarket crowd looking for unusual eats. Join them at some of the street markets we’ve picked out for you. With over 80 markets in Paris, it’s always handy to have a few pointers…
If you visit just one Paris market…
Make it Marché d’Aligre. A hectic and heady mix of streets packed with produce. But most people think the rainbow of affordable fruits and veggies is Marché d’Aligre’s only lure. Sprawling and stall crammed – even by Paris street market standards, this market doesn’t quit. Follow the trestle tables for long enough and you’ll chance upon the flea market section in Place d’Aligre. A chance to take home something chic and mysterious. For eats that go beyond succulent cherries and sizeable watermelon wedges, dip into the covered stalls in Beauvau. Here you’ll find it’s not just about wine and cheese tasting in Paris. Craft beers, charcuterie, pates, game and seafood are waiting to be devoured.
If you’re looking to pop an eco-friendly punnet or two in your shopper, you’re in luck. For the most choice, nip to Boulevard Raspail on Sunday mornings. Fruit and veg are always winners, but the natural beauty products are hard to resist. If you’re into your organic horticulture, Marché biologique Brancusi has a nice line in heritage crops you’ll not find on the hypermarché shelves. They’re plying their wares on Saturdays from 8am – 2pm on the Place Constantin Brancusi.
On Wednesday and Friday mornings, growers, farmers, fishermen and producers pitch up at Marché Monge to sell their independent products. From veggies to fish, these stallholders can talk you through every step of the journey. Knowing where the bees gathered the pollen for your honey firmly plants a chef’s kiss on your morning brioche. Plan to spend a good couple of hours in Place Monge and arrive hungry. You’ll be sampling many ripe and pungent cheeses.
Open 7 days a week (with an early finish on Sundays) the indoor stalls at Le Marche Saint-Germain on Rue Lobineau serve up the usual Paris market suspects, and add an international bite or two. Très Parisian, but far from rustic. You’ll spot an Apple Store and an M&S food hall teetering on the sidelines. Yes, it’s a smidge upscale, but you’ll be browsing Iberian ham, truffles, figs and some very high-end floristry. Just the spot for an impromptu game of ‘artisan’ bingo. Come here for some decidedly chic nibbles to whisk back to your gite, apartment or Airbnb.
If your bijou Paris lodgings need some petals, stems and fresh, fresh scents, you’ll not beat Le Marché aux Fleurs. This is where Parisians buy their plants. Except on Sunday’s when the market switches to selling colourful song birds and budgies. If your Paris market needs are more eclectic, swing by Rue Montorgueil. You’ll find all manner of stalls, including flower sellers – but don’t miss the retail shops behind. Stohrer’s alone is worth a look. Founded by King Louis XV’s pastry chef, they’ve had nearly 200 years to perfect their baked goods. Unmissable.
Off the beaten track…
You’ll need to love an early start to explore Rungis Market. Think 4am or before. You’ll also need to be booked on an official tour or know an insider who’ll let you be their guest. Hoop jumping sorted, is the early start worth it? Rungis is a place few tourists chance upon and happens to be the world’s largest wholesale flower and food market. You’ll get to potter in groups around the two huge greenhouses while local florists stack plants, blooms and stems onto four-storey carts. On the food side – it’s an early start for Parisian chefs too. They’ll be picking the plumpest produce and freshest cuts for their weekly menus. You can’t buy anything here – but your appetite will be somewhat sated by the Rungissian brunch.
Paris markets are unrelenting sensory assaults that entice your wallet into spending not seen, well, since Christmas. And when the Paris street markets get festive? Even the most Ebeneerzerly among will feel something akin to a toasty glow. Not least because of the sweet, sweet free samples. Mull something suitable and take your pick from our festive forage among the Paris Christmas markets.
The Christmas market on Parvis de la Défense is a whopper. The 350 stalls might not have the same Santa’s workshop feel as Hôtel de Ville – but the food? Top notch. Vast steel frying pans dish up piled high paellas and Alsace stew, wine mulls in vats and the raclette cheese steadily tops cured meats. This is France, so of course there’s some fresh baked goods to tempt you – along with pancakes, waffles, churros and eggnog. We would mention the craft stalls too – but, really, even if their Christmas decorations are hand made in Provence, with this much food to tempt you, will they get a look in?
Architecture purists may be a tad outraged at the extreme amount of glitz and glitter bedecked on the usually stately Hôtel de Ville. Light shows, ornaments, a festive forest and a chance to chat it up with Santa make this a family favourite. Food wise? Loosen your belts, you’re in for a feast. On the coldest days, the French onion soup is divine. But it has to battle for attention among the cheese, crepes, saucisson, pates, roasted chestnuts and mulled wine. It might all sound over the top – but the traditional touches, think carousel and games make it a charming night. This one has a short run – you’ll need to be in Paris from mid December onwards to catch it.
Worth a look…
It doesn’t get merrier than wishing all and sundry a joyeux Noël under a twinkling Eiffel tower. But, you’re here for the food – which happily, is part of the Christmas Village at Champs de Mars. We’re back on artisanal turf, with a distinctly European twist. A great spot to enjoy the Tower’s hourly light show – and the skating rink pops a suitably chilled cherry on the Christmas cake.
When to go
Across Paris, the wooden chalets and fairy lights start to emerge from later November onwards. If you’ve not quite maxed out your Christmas quota, fear not. The stallholders tend to stick around until early January.
Ready for a weekend of market stall hopping in Paris? Us too! Send the Orbzii app to your phone to Dream, Plan & Book your next trip to Paris.