Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (www.eyepreferparistours.com), and also writes a popular insider's blog www.eyepreferparis.com.
One of the great joys of Paris is the amazing outdoor food markets with everything from avocados to pantyhose with one stop shopping. Every arrondissement (zip code) has at least one outdoor market that is usually open one weekday and a weekend day, from approximately 7:30AM to 1:30PM.
Here is a list of our favorites.
Richard Lenoir/Bastille Market
Right off the historic Place de la Bastille where the French Revolution started is the Richard Lenoir market, the largest food market in Paris. Stretching five blocks with three aisles, there is a vast array of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, poultry, bread, dairy products, eggs, and fish.
If you don’t want to cook, there are many stands that sell prepared French specialties such as quiches, beef Bourguignon, pates, charcuterie, savory tarts, chicken fricassee, and other delicacies. You will salivate watching the chickens roasting on the rotisserie with a shelf of baby potatoes underneath cooking in the juices dripping down from the chickens. One of the fun highlights of the market is the sea salt stand with over 20 varieties of scented salts. The crusty old man who sells them calls himself the George Clooney of salt and holds up a mask with his photo on it in front of his face.
Besides the overwhelming amount of French food stalls and products, there is a good selection of ethnic food purveyors including Moroccan, Lebanese, Caribbean, Portuguese, and Italian.
The market is also partially a flea market selling non-food items such as cashmere sweaters, scarves, clothing, shoes, furry slippers, jewelry, soap from Marseille, kitchenwares, and table linens.
Place de la Bastille, 75011
Open Thursday and Sunday 8AM to 1:30PM
Located in a working and middle class neighborhood, the Marche D’ Aligre is the workingman’s market. Mostly run by North African men and women, this lively market has very good prices on produce, fish, meat, cheeses, breads, and pastries.
On the surrounding streets and in the warehouse buildings behind the market is a rich selection of food stands with prepared food, nuts, olives, olive oils, cheeses, grains, rice’s, spices, and dried fruits. After you fill your food basket with all the goodies, head to the nearby Le Baron, the rustic wine bar with wooden barrels, for a cheap, hearty glass of red wine.
Rue d'Aligre and place d’Aligre 75012
Open Tuesday to Friday 7:30AM to 1:30PM
Saturday and Sunday 7:30AM to 2:30PM
Le Baron Rouge
1 Rue Théophile Roussel, 75012
In the middle island of one of the most elegant boulevards in Paris, lined with impressive stone apartment buildings from the late 1800s, is the upscale Rapsail market. Residents of this exclusive neighborhood, shop at the more intimate market for top quality fresh food. On Sunday it’s an organic market and remember the word for organic in French is biologique, or bio for short. Don’t miss the stand with the freshly made potato and onion galettes (Sunday only) and the food truck with American and Mexican specialties including hamburgers and tacos. Catherine Deneuve frequently shops in the market and you may catch her pinching the melons.
Blvd. Raspail, near rue Cherche Midi, 75006
Open Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday
7:30PM to 1:30PM