I need to confess something to you all. I really enjoy supermarkets. It's been a weird obsession of mine for a while now. There is something so fascinating to me about exploring a new supermarket, whether it's in a new country or just has some exciting produce. When I moved to Paris this turned into a love of outdoor markets. Recently, I was featured on the wonder Our Paris Stories blog where I talked about all things parisienne, expat and market-related! A photoshoot on the street I moved to when I first arrived here brought back lots of memories which made me think I should do more exploring of the epicurean delights Paris has to offer. This is the culmination of that research!
Let's start at the beginning. The Marché Saxe-Breteuil is the best that France has to offer. I used to wander through it smelling the wonderful odours permeating through the street from the rotisserie chicken stand as I dragged myself to university. Open Thursday and Saturday mornings, it is a very traditional market. With the Eiffel Tower at one end and Tour Montparnasse at the other it's hard to think of somewhere more French! I recommend getting a whole roasted chicken, some potatoes dauphinoise and lots of lovely cheese and charcuterie for the best Saturday lunch you will ever have!
Moving onto a market that is a little bit more rough and ready. Marché de Belleville isn't on many tourists' lists but if you want to see what real Parisians do then this is the place to come. I don't think I've ever walked through without being offered tasters of seasonal fruit while the seller calls me la petite blonde trying to convince me that I need 6 butternut squash. Every so often Boulevard de Belleville is transformed into a streetfood market on a Thursday night. If this tickles your fancy then make sure you get there early! I went once but arriving late meant that all of the delicious food they had on offer was sold out!
My latest find came thanks to my dear friend, Katharine. Now usually if someone asks me to meet them early on a Sunday morning I will tell them where to go. However, my gal knows me too well. The potential of weird and wonderful vegetables on offer followed by a quirky coffee is a combination that I can't resist! The Marché d'Aligre is a mélange of the two other markets in this post. With the hustle and bustle of the fruit and veg sellers in the street, there is the charm of Belleville. While the covered section reveals all sorts of delights from kilos of tapenade to butchers carving up meaty delights. Last weekend, I bought 4kg of produce for less than 5€! From a massive bunch of carrots to delicious blood oranges, everything is seasonal and tasty. I went not really knowing what I wanted to buy but the market gave me all the inspiration that I needed.
Paris is a city that truly marches on its stomach and for me the best way to become a local is by seeking out how the inhabitants feed their grumbling stomachs on cold winter mornings. Writing this post has really made me want to leave my desk, grab by shopping trolley (I really am More Native Than The Natives!) and venture into the culinary delights that my favourite city has to offer.