With so much to recommend it, it’s no wonder that Paris is one of Europe’s most popular visitor destinations. This is a city brimming with world-famous landmarks, exquisite cuisine, romance, art, history culture and… superb shopping. Not only can Paris boast superb bakeries, patisseries, chocolatiers and fashion stores from designers from Chanel to Dior it also has some of the most eclectic, colourful and exciting markets to be found anywhere. Here are ten of the best markets in Paris that every serious bargain or souvenir hunter should have on their ‘must-visit’ list.
1. Montparnasse Market
The weekend Montparnasse Market on the left bank of the Seine and to the south of the Jardin du Luxembourg is a classic French food market on a Saturday and is where local citizens come to buy the freshest fruit, veg and meat. On a Sunday it becomes the Marché Parisien de la Création – a showcase for local artists and craftsmen, and the perfect place to acquire a unique and authentic Paris memento.
2. Vanves Flea Market
Tucked away in the 14th arrondissement, the friendly weekend flea market close to the Porte de Vanves metro station has been in operation since the 1920s. Each weekend up to three hundred vendors sell anything and everything from retro items, artworks, ceramics, silverware, books, militaria, housewares, and vintage clothing and many other curios and collectibles at bargain prices.
3. Marché aux Timbres
In an area of the 8th arrondissement known for its fashionable shopping, iconic landmarks and stylish boutique hotels such as the Hyatt Paris Madeleine, the Marché aux Timbres, held each Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, is the go-to Parisian market for philatelists, coin and postcard collectors in search of that elusive rarity.
4. Marché Bastille
Serious gastronomes won’t want to miss the vast Marché Bastille which is held each Thursday and Sunday on the Boulevard Richard Lenoir. With ethnic food stalls aplenty, organic produce, fresh meat, fruit, vegetables and pasta and all kinds of high-quality gourmet ingredients on offer the Marché Bastille is a literal feast for the senses.
5. Marché des Enfants Rouges
Since the seventeenth century this petite covered market hidden away behind an iron gate in the Marais district of Paris has sold fresh bread, cheese, flowers, fruit and vegetables but nowadays is also the place to pick up fine olive oils and dressings, a range of ethnic foods, wine, crepes, honey and even goat curry.
6. Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen
Undoubtedly the largest market in Paris and perhaps the largest flea market in the world, each weekend the Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen sees almost 200,000 dedicated bargain hunters browse three thousand stalls which sell goods that cover the spectrum from original antiques and rare collectibles to fake designer sunglasses, watches and handbags, and everything inbetween.
7. Marche Rue Dejean
A little of the tourist circuit, the daily Marché Rue Dejean is worth seeking out by those in search of the unusual. To the north of Paris in the city’s ‘Little Africa’ neighbourhood in the Chateau Rouge district this colourful and atmospheric market specialises in the exotic fresh fruits, vegetables, spices and herbs and other ingredients which feature in authentic African cuisine.
8. Les Bouquinistes
Occupying a three kilometre stretch of the Left Bank of the Seine, Les Bouquinistes – a collection of more than 250 stall selling rare, antiquarian and second-hand books – has been favoured by writers, academics and intellectuals since the 1920s. Fascinating just to browse, this is the place to pick up not only rare first editions but also postcards and other souvenirs of Paris.
9. Saxe-Breteuil Market
Located in a scenic tree-lined avenue looking toward the Eiffel Tower, Saxe-Breteuil Market caters for shoppers seeking chic, exclusive and speciality foods and products. Held on Thursdays and Saturdays, the weekend market is larger with farmers travelling from the regions around Paris to sell their wares which include fresh sea fish and shellfish, flowers, bread, organic meat and, of course, l’escargot.
10. Marché aux Fleurs
Just a stone’s throw away from the cathedral of Notre Dame on the Île de la Cité, the Marché aux Fleurs is the last remaining flower market in Paris. Begun in 1808, the market is delightful simply to browse and enjoy the bright and varied colours and perfumes of the many plants, flowers, shrubs and trees on display. On Sunday, the blooms are joined by many species of caged birds and their accessories as the market becomes le Marché aux Oiseaux.
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