In France, cuisine is maybe the most important point in our culture. Every French person has his / her favorite typical French meal and we all know that to make good cuisine, we need good food. Check out the best open markets in Paris.
Even in Paris, where you can find a lot of shops, remains an old tradition: the open market. Every weekend, in Paris, a lot of open markets are set, just for two days, for the Parisians to buy fresh vegetables and fruits. It’s as if a village was set in the middle of Paris every weekend, and it utterly changes the atmosphere of the city. Open markets are open only in the morning; they close at 1 pm or 2 pm.
As regards the market, life is different and you have to know some tips to take advantage of this experience. Before going to an open market, don’t forget to get some change. Sellers will appreciate and might be offering you what we call a “ristourne” which means a small discount on the price you have to pay.
Shopping in Paris open markets
First of all: forget all the usual rules of shopping. In a market, you are in the midst of human beings: they have feelings. One very important thing is that they are proud of their job and of the products they want to sell. Stallholders want to show you how tasty the food they sell is. Don’t hesitate to ask if you can taste, as the seller will probably let you, and you can figure out if you want to buy his product or not.
The atmosphere in a market is also very different: you have to thread your way among the Parisian crowd to find the precise vegetable or fruit that you want and to go to the best stall. Only locals know which shops are the best: that’s why the easiest way to spot a good shop is to see the ones that people are waiting for. Queuing a bit would guarantee you fresh and good food.
You might also be upset by the fact that sellers are often shouting to entice customers with attractive prices. They do not actually do this because their products are good; no. It is just a tradition (not very efficient by the way). This tradition rings a bell to every French, thinking to the fish merchant in comics “Asterix and Obelix”, fighting with customers to sell them his fish.
Otherwise, if you go to a market to buy any specific product, I would advise you to go at 10am, when stalls are still full. But if you are looking for bargains, then you should really go to the market at the end of the day, around 12am of 1pm, when the stallholders are giving huge discounts to sell their products instead of casting them. If you’re tired after a long open market walk, you won’t have to search for hours to find a café. Usually, at the corner of the street, you will find a restaurant or a café where you can rest and sunbathe with a nice market view.
The open markets are also the very place where you can see the Parisians living. As you might know, Parisians, depending on the district they live in, are very different and so are the markets they go to. Actually, there are markets everywhere in Paris. Every district has its own market. There is more than 80 open markets in Paris. If you just want to see a Parisian open market, you don’t necessarily have to look for the best open market in the city, but the following three would be great to visit while in Paris.
The trendy one
Buying fruits and vegetables does not imply that you are not fashionable. In the core of the trendiest place of Paris, in Le Marais, you can find a small but pretty open market called “le Marché des Enfants Rouges”. This market is also the oldest one in Paris, renovated a few years ago; it’s now at the middle of the commercial street of Le Marais.
There, you can find all you need, vegetables, delicatessen and flowers. In this market, you can really feel the pace of the district. Even if the market is quite small, you can have a good lunch at one of the restaurants just in front of the market, the best being “l’Estaminet”. In this restaurant, the neighbors come to have a brunch in a kind of village atmosphere. Going there is really easy as it is a 5 minute walk from the “Filles du Calvaire on the 8th metro line”
le Marché des Enfants Rouges
The Parisian cliché one
Strolling down the avenues in Paris might be boring, that’s why on the Avenue de Saxe, every weekend you can have a walk through the stalls filled with all kind of food. At the heart of the very quiet and wealthy 7th district, you can stroll down the avenue with a great point of view of the Eiffel Tower. You can even end your walk through the market going up to the top of the Eiffel tower. To go there, you just have to stop at metro station Ségur on the 10th metro line.
Living the life in Saint-Aignan
The most convivial
Inside this market are two other markets: one indoor and one outdoor. At the outset, the district around Aligre was a popular district and now there is still a very dynamic atmosphere that can give you the impression that the market is abit messy, but that’s exactly what an open market is meant to be! A place where a lot of things are available and where people are bargaining.
In this market, you will find not only French food, but also oriental food, that’s why “Aligre” market is different from the others. The one thing you need to know before going to the Aligre open market is that it is one of the cheapest markets in Paris, and probably the one that fits the definition of a genuine Parisian open market best. To go to this open market, go to the Ledru Rollin metro station on the 8th line.
After your shopping, and with a bag full of fresh vegetables and fruits, don’t forget to buy a bottle of wine and head for The Jardin du Luxembourg to enjoy a very French picnic on the grass.