Fine Food Markets

The Marché Biologique (Organic Market) on the Boulevard Raspail, is by far the best known—and trendiest—of Paris's outdoor markets. Celebrities and serious cooks alike gather under the colorful canopies that pop up every Sunday morning along this tree-lined stretch between the rue de Rennes and the rue du Cherche-Midi. Among the piles of fruits and vegetables, you'll find organic dairy products, soy in many guises, fish and seafood, and a variety of whole grains. Founded in 1994, the Marché Biologique Batignolles, held every Saturday in a leafy square in the eastern part of the 17th arrondissement, is an offshoot of the Boulevard Raspail market. It's far quieter and less crowded here, but you'll find similar organic produce and dairy goods, wine, and prepared salads and pastries, in addition to home-pressed organic cider. The Belleville-Ménilmontant market, on the border of the 11th and 20th arrondissements, has a different mood entirely. Catering mostly to the neighborhood's North African community, this souk-like gathering (on Tuesdays and Fridays) is much livelier, with vendors loudly hawking their wares, and the pungent smells of mint and merguez sausage hanging in the air. Originally created in 1615 by royal war commissioners as the food hall for the newly created Marais quarter, the small, charming Marché des Enfants Rouges takes its name from the red jackets worn by orphans to signal their charity status at a neighboring orphanage. Today, picnic tables in the market make it easy to shop and consume an impromptu picnic on the premises, since many food stalls sell prepared dishes, along with first-rate fruit, vegetables, wine, and charcuterie. (Les Enfants Rouges (9 rue Beauce, 3rd, 01-48-87-8061), a wine bar adjacent to the market, is a popular hangout for Parisian sommeliers.) The covered Marché d'Aligre, on rue d'Aligre, was built in 1779; hugely popular, it retains the working-class character of the Bastille neighborhood before it was gentrified. Among the better stands are Chez Philippe, which stocks some thousand cheeses, and those selling charcuterie (sausage, ham, etc.) from Brittany, Corsica, and the Auvergne. There are also many stalls selling produce from Africa and Asia. The popular Baron Rouge (1 rue Theophile Roussel, 12th; 01-43-43-14-32) is where shoppers pause for a glass of wine and some freshly shucked oysters.

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