Paris' many open-air markets are great places to find fresh ingredients for seasonally-inspired meals. My blog Paris Paysanne focuses on finding local farmers at the city's markets and seeking out varieties of new-to-me vegetables to experiment with at home. One works up an appetite while in pursuit of the elusive producteur or légume oublié and over the past few years I've come up with a shortlist of places to snack while doing my market research. Here are five of my favorite spots to grab a bite while exploring the markets.
Marché Raspail is one of Paris' three completely organic markets. Here you will see the usual suspects and a lot of overlap with the vendors at the other organic markets. However, Raspail does have exclusivity on a true market treasure: O'Regal Muffins. Start your market day here by picking up a coffee or hot chocolate and a muffin to go with. The welcome is warm and the hot beverages are restorative at this lovely stand, the only I know of to offer real-deal English Muffins as well as a variety of other anglo-inspired baked goods.
The Marché Biologique des Batignolles is another one of Paris' organic markets. Here all the produce, meats, cheeses, bread, and everything in between is fully organic and almost exclusively of French origin. Along with the wonderful selection of seasonal products, you'll also find a few to-go foods available. My favorite option is the fresh-off-the-griddle galette de pois chiche, or chickpea pancake. Made to order and served with a subtle basil sauce and an optional cheese adder, these hearty snacks give you the energy you need to haul your bag of market booty home.
My favorite day to visit Marché Saxe-Breteuil is Thursday, when the market has a sleepier feel and there are less crowds. Having said that, a treat is in store for anyone who visits this market on a busy weekend market day. On Saturdays Marina Delafond sets up her “Once Upon a Cake” stand, where you have a choice of cookies, cupcakes, carrot cake, and brownies. Grab an early goûter at this popular stand before your favorites sell out.
Marché des Enfants Rouges is one of Paris' oldest markets as well as one of the few that take place inside as opposed to on the streets. Known less for its produce and more for its lunch counters, Marché des Enfants Rouges is a great spot to grab a hot meal. My favorite stand belongs to Alain, who is one of the only people in Paris to offer the Southern specialty, Socca. Prepared like a crêpe on a large griddle, socca is a thin chickpea pancake that, when done to perfection, is golden and crispy on the outside and moist inside. Finished off with a generous topping of freshly ground pepper, this simple snack is pure delight.
Crowds flock to Marché d'Aligre, which is sorely lacking in local farmers, but does have an animated market atmosphere. It's neighbor market, Marché Couvert Beauvau is a complementary shopping site which is packed with quality ingredients such as artisinal cheese and meats. After exploring both markets, stop by the conveniently located Le Baron Rouge (1 rue Théophile Roussel), where you can taste the best the market has to offer in the form of an assiette de charcuterie or fromage paired with glasses of wine at unbeatable prices.
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