Paris has always been credited with excellent cuisine and fabulous gourmet food creations. But until you experience it yourself, you never really know the extent to which that is true. And once having experienced it, you will be spoiled for life!
One of the most exciting opportunities available to you while sampling Paris’ remarkable cuisines, is to try to live and eat as a Parisian would.
Parisians do not have mega-supermarkets available to shop for their food. They just don’t exist. Instead, Parisians shop a few times a week (or even daily) at their favorite boulangerie, fromagerie, boucherie, poissonnere et patisserie to fill their pantry for daily meals. One of the most exciting places to shop for food and ready-cooked items, is at the local neighborhood open-air market know as le marche.
Paris has seventy les marches scattered throughout the entire city, open two times a week all year long, in any weather and condition. My local favorite; Le Marche Bastille is located in the 11th arrondissement, only a five minute walk from my apartment in Le Marias. For the history buffs out there, you’ll find Le Marche Bastille adjacent to the Place de la Bastille where the prison was located until it was stormed in 1789, which set off the French Revolution. Le Marche Bastille is one of the oldest and largest in Paris.
Roughly 200 merchants set-up every Thursday and Sunday, standing three deep and running almost the length of a football field. Just about any food item that you would like to sample and buy in Paris is available to you at Le Marche Bastille.
The food basics such as fresh fish, shellfish, remarkable produce, many varieties of meat, incredible cheeses and of course Paris’ famous breads are available for sale.
But a vast variety of specialty products such as crisp sausage, silky foie gras, olives in any color and shape, briny oysters, luscious lobsters, Italian prosciutto, marinated herring and wines from petits vignobles are also available. As well as prepared foods such as the specialty Lebanese falafel, sausage and melted gruyere cheese in a crunchy toasted baguette, a Breton buckwheat crepe filled with eggs, chorizo, tomato and cheese, paella with shrimp, chicken and peas, rotisserie chicken and roasted potatoes, and a succulent roast pork shank are ready to eat while you are there, or to take home with you.
Most Parisians are very knowledgeable about their foods and where it is grown, raised or caught and are also known as very good cooks themselves. They visit their local le marche to order their food from their favorite vendor, possibly one that they have been visiting for many generations. They spend the morning at le marche catching-up on the local news and gossip, meeting their friends and family and enjoying the many varieties of food and gourmet products available to them.
Now it’s your turn. Go ahead, dive right into the crowd. Sample all the incredible food items now available to you. Try stumbling through your French, only to find a very friendly merchant eager to help you understand what you are buying.
It’s delightful. It’s intoxicating. It’s how the Parisians do it. And now you are one.
Au revoir, bonne journee et a bientot!
Guest Blog by Keith Morrison
"Hareng" means herring. This merchant sells only marinated herring in many types of different marinades.
Olives, olives and more olives! And seafood galore!
Fresh fish cut to order...simply amazing!
Lots of cheese, the folks at this stand are adorable and very friendly.
Specialty Falafel Stand
Breton Buckwheat Crepe
Specialty Bread Merchant. The best breads you'll ever eat.
Many different types of Oysters.
This fine gentleman sells only sausages and salamis