If you are a fan of going to market then the organic market at Batignolles in the 17th arrondissement is must-see on a trip to Paris. The best way to approach a visit to a Parisian market is to get up early to avoid the crowds, put on some comfortable clothing, and take a basket with you to make it easier to carry the shopping home.
The market at Marché des Batignolles is open-air and was the very first organic one in Paris ("organic" is "biologique" in French). What attracts most people to this market is found is the real “Farmers” vibe. A lot of the vendors grow the vegetables and fruit themselves, or bake the bread, or milk the cows to put in bottled milk. The produce is local and in season, and what is really wonderful is that it’s never too crowded, so you fit in just like a local, not fighting the crowds, in a calm environment where you can pick out your pommes to make une tarte aux pommes (apple pie).
To set the scene, imagine joyful French country folk yelling playfully across the street to their neighbours. Imagine slender French women with their wicker baskets and dogs choosing their leafy green vegetables. Imagine men in their late 30’s with their two children who are selecting their favourite cheeses for their Sunday lunch. Imagine jolly butchers giving tips on how to cook a perfect steak. Imagine piles of crusty and freshly baked baguettes waiting to be taken home in time for lunch. Imagine a chirpy man making crepe after crepe for the passers-by while whistling his favourite tune. Imagine the flirty vendor who asks you what he can do for you, ma belle?
This, my friends, is a true French market.
There is no better way to spend a Saturday morning than heading to an open-air market and perusing the stalls of fresh produce. You won’t only find fruit and vegetables here, but deli produce, cheese, pies, yoghurt, butter, bread, pastries, flowers, meats, fish and more. There is a stall where you can even get wheatgrass shots and near the middle of the market you can eye-off crepes and breakfast treats.
Get a big quantity of vegetables and treat yourself to some yoghurt and freshly baked bread. As everything is in season, you don’t have to worry about buying seasonal foods. It may require more of an effort than doing your shopping at the supermarket the experience, however, is nothing alike: the produce is many times better and the interactions with the vendors and locals is unique and heart-warming.
Set your alarm early for next Saturday and take my prettiest basket to le marché bio des Batignolles and get in the midst of the wonderful French food and market culture.
Marche des Batignolles
34 boulevard des Batignolles, 75017 Paris
Metro: Place de Clichy or Rome
It takes place every Saturday from 9.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m.
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