Market life is an integral part of Parisian culture. One of the most authentic glimpses of the Parisian landscape is watching locals pull along their canvas shopping carts (le caddy) with leeks or sunflowers poking out and a baguette carefully placed across the top. Ah! We must be in Paris.
All types of markets are easily found in Paris — covered markets, small and expansive markets, bio markets, and even a bird market. Paris also has market streets such as rue Mouffetard and rue Montorgueil, lined with boutiques bursting with gastronomic delights.
But how does one feel this slice of Parisian market life? And where should one even begin? Often the best place to start is right where you are. Wherever you have chosen to stay in Paris, there will be a market nearby. On market day, be curious and prepare to flâner (the art of roaming around) a little. Roam, observe life, and don’t be in a hurry.
This curated list of my five favorite markets in Paris are markets I have been to countless times, where I have sat and watched Parisians interact, and selected the highest quality ingredients to bring home to create a gastronomic French meal.
Not sure how to fit in like a local at a Paris market? Check out the things you should never do at a Paris outdoor market.
1. Le Marché D’Aligre (12th Arrondissement)
Le Marché d’Aligre, also known as Le Marché Couvert Beauvau (the Beauvau Covered Market) is one of the best markets in Paris. First of all, it has the most affordable prices in Paris and with over 200 vendors, a fabulous selection of fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese, and antiques.
I lived a 15-minute walk from Le Marché d’Aligre for 4 months and made it part of my weekly routine to stop by and select fresh ingredients to cook.
Walking the gauntlet down rue d’Aligre, past all the vendors shouting out their prices, is a very authentic Paris experience. Stop. Peruse. Buy what’s on sale. Aside from the outdoor stalls, there is also a covered market with plenty of vendors and boutiques.
The absolute highlight of any visit to Le Marché d’Aligre is Fromagerie Hardouin-Langlet. I’ve been checking out many of the best cheese shops in Paris and Fromagerie Hardouin-Langlet is definitely one of them. The Comte cheese, a French favorite that hails from the Jura region, is outstanding. At Fromagerie Hardouin-Langlet, I discovered the Brillat-Savarin cheese with a thin layer of truffles in the middle. This exquisite, creamy cheese is literally a “drop to your knees” experience for any cheese lover.
After you have perused the market, don’t miss investigating the boutiques that line rue d’Aligre and the flea market stalls in Place d’Aligre.
Location: 25-11 rue d’Aligre
Hours: Outdoor Market: Tuesday–Friday, 7 a.m.–1:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.; Closed Monday // Covered Market: Tuesday–Friday, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. and 4–7:30 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.–1 p.m. and 3:30–7:30 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m.–1:30 p.m; Closed Monday
What To Do Nearby: I would highly recommend having a coffee at the corner café, Café Charlette. It’s the perfect place to watch the activity of the market and on the weekends, there is often street music. Pop into the nearby tiny wine bar, Le Baron Rouge, where barrels of wine line the walls and locals refill their empty wine bottles. It’s a truly unique Parisian experience.
2. Le Marché Des Enfants Rouges (3rd Arrondissement)
When I lived on rue de Bretagne, Le Marché des Enfants Rouges was my go-to market. Built in 1615, this bustling market is the oldest covered market in Paris.
The name of the market translates to the “Market of the Red Children,” a good example of why direct translation is not always ideal. Les Enfants Rouges was the name given to the 16th-century orphanage nearby. The children’s red uniforms denoted that they had been donated by Christian charities. The name remained in the neighborhood after the children were moved to another orphanage.
Today, Le Marché des Enfant Rouges is a grand place to meet a few friends and share a meal together. Known for its long communal tables and its variety of stalls that sell everything from hamburgers to couscous and Lebanese delights to Italian and French meals, the lively atmosphere, especially at meal time, is well worth the trip. One of my favorite stalls is Alain Miam Miam who sells his famed, enormous, and delicious sandwiches. Purchase a sandwich (which is an experience in itself), walk a few minutes to Square du Temple – Elie Wiesel, find a bench in this leafy oasis, and swoon when you bite into Alain’s creation!
Le Marché des Enfants Rouges also has stands selling fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, and fish.
It’s the perfect place to pick up everything you could possibly need for a gourmet picnic in Paris.
Location: 39 rue de Bretagne
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 8 a.m.–8:30 p.m.; Sunday, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.; Closed Monday
What To Do Nearby: Located in le Marais, it is easy to add Le Marché des Enfants Rouges to a day’s itinerary. Explore rue de Bretagne where you will find boutiques such as Ladurée and Pierre Hermé, both known for their divine macaron biscuits. Le Marché des Enfants Rouges is a short 7-minute walk to the Picasso Museum and a 15-minute walk to Place des Vosges.
3. Marché Raspail (6th Arrondissement)
In the chic 6th arrondissement of Paris, the Marché Raspail is a small and vibrant market. Keep your eyes on the stalls for the best fruits and vegetables, roasted chicken, spices, fish, and fresh dates from Israel. But, glance up and watch the crowd. It’s here that movie stars can be found shopping. I was a regular at the Marché Raspail for a few months with my French friend, Laurence. She regaled me with tales of famous people she had seen at the market, including her encounter with Gérard Depardieu, when he handed her a gorgeous bouquet of flowers on Mother’s Day. Not far from here at the local Tunisian restaurant, I dined with my French friends and, at the next table, surrounded by her family, was the famous French actress Isabelle Huppert. Stolen glances were the way the rest of the lunch panned out!
This market, one of the most expensive in Paris, becomes even more upscale on Sundays when it is a purely Bio Market. More than 50 vendors come to sell their 100 percent bio products.
Location: On Blvd Raspail between rue Cherche-Midi and rue de Rennes
Hours: Tuesday and Friday, 7 a.m.–2:30 p.m.; Sunday (Bio Market), 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Métro: Rennes and Sèvres-Babylone
What To Do Nearby: The classiest department store in Paris, Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, is an 8-minute walk away while the Luxembourg Gardens are a 7-minute walk.
4. Le Marché Bastille (11th Arrondissement)
Le Marché Bastille, also known as Marché Richard-Lenoir, has over 200 vendors and is hopping with locals. One of Paris’s biggest markets, there is a wide selection of produce, clothing, and artisan goods. With the Bastille’s Colonne de Juillet in the background, stroll through Le Marché Bastille gathering ingredients to cook up a true French feast or create a memorable picnic.
Be sure to find the galette stand (you’ll see the lineup) where authentic Breton galettes are cooked before your eyes. I love the traditional galette with egg, cheese, and ham. Pair it will a glass of brut cider (dry cider). Still got room? Try the Kouign amann. Here, you are standing in the 11th arrondissement of Paris but, close your eyes for a second, and you’re immediately transported to Brittany!
I’ve been known to buy summer dresses, scarves, and jewelry at Le Marché Bastille, so don’t be in a hurry.
Location: Blvd Richard Lenoir
Hours: Tuesday, 7 a.m.–2:30 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m.–3 p.m.
Métro: Bréguet-Sabin and Bastille
What To Do Nearby: From the market, you are a few steps away from the Marais. In the other direction, you are in a prime spot to explore the 11th arrondissement of Paris. Have rue de la Roquette and rue de Charonne on your radar. Looking for the perfect picnic spot? Take your treasure trove from the market and stroll 10 minutes to Bassin de l’Arsenal. Sit on the quay amidst moored boats and you might forget that you are in Paris for a minute.
5. Marché Monge (5th Arrondissement)
Marché Monge is a wonderful example of a small, local market in Paris. It’s the perfect place to observe locals chatting together and purchasing items from long-time familiar vendors. With about 40 stalls centred around the lovely fountain, head to the heart of the Latin Quarter with a basket and gather supplies for a French feast!
Location: Place Monge
Hours: Wednesday and Friday, 7 a.m.–2:30 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m.–3 p.m.
Métro: Place Monge
What To Do Nearby: From the market, walk 5 minutes to Place de la Contrascarpe, a delightful spot with plenty of cafés. Then, stroll down the market street, rue Mouffetard. Marché Monge is a 10-minute walk to the Pantheon.
Check out all there is to learn about Paris: