Best Markets in Paris
Paris’s markets can be dated back to Roman times, when the city was known as Lutetia and a single market operated in the Île de la Cité district. Nowadays, there are nearly 100 to choose from, with traders hawking everything from fresh produce to antiques, knick-knacks, plants and pets. Atmospheric, photogenic and well worth a visit, here's our pick of the 10 best markets in Paris...
One of Paris’s biggest open-air markets, Marché Bastille is a riot of scent and color that runs from the soaring Colonne de Juillet monument on Place de la Bastille all the way down leafy Boulevard Richard-Lenoir every Thursday and Sunday. Here, local producers showcase the finest foods the region has to offer. Wander among the stalls and immerse yourself in the heady aromas of freshly harvested herbs, fragrant fromages and fungi, and just-baked bread. Pick up a few ingredients for a special dinner, or grab some snacks and fresh juices and head to nearby Place des Vosges for a picture-perfect picnic.
Marché aux Puces Saint Ouen
The largest flea market on the planet, the Marché aux Puces is a labyrinthine treasure trove of streets and alleys crammed with just about any and every antique and knick-knack you could imagine. And don’t let the term ‘flea market’ put you off: this place is a dream ticket for in-the-know treasure hunters. Here’s where you’ll find that rarer-than-hens’-teeth Nirvana record you’ve been seeking for the last 15 years. Or a one-of-a-kind vintage handbag. Plus Art Deco ornaments, old-fashioned toys, period furniture in beautiful condition, scientific equipment, posters, paintings, glassware, rugs and... well, you get the general idea. Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Another for the foodies here, Rue Montorgueil is a permanent market street that straddles the 1st and 2nd arrondissements. Fishmongers, bakeries, florists and artisan cheese shops spill their wares (and lush aromas) out onto the pedestrianized pavements from beneath grand, colorful storefronts. Particularly Instagram-worthy is the gold-and-duck-egg-blue confection that is Au Rocher de Cancale, a highly regarded seafood restaurant that dates back to the 19th Century. Pause to admire the ornate ceiling chandelier and sumptuous interiors of Stohrer, the oldest pâtisserie in town, where it would naturally be rude not to leave with armfuls of sticky chocolate éclairs and rum babas.
Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux
A flower market during the week, selling local and exotic blooms of all shapes and sizes, at weekends this 200-year-old institution on the Île de la Cité comes alive with the sound of thousands of squawking, chirupping and twittering birds. Just be careful your request doesn’t get lost in translation, or you might go in for an orchid and come out with an ostrich. We jest of course, but the wonderful variety of colorful plants and birdlife makes this market a wonderful place to wander around, even if you’re just window-shopping. Combine with a bag of sugary chouquettes from the boulangerie and a visit to nearby Notre-Dame Cathedral for a romantic Sunday morning stroll.
This foodie mecca in the 6th arrondissement is certified fully organic every Sunday and is said to be a favorite with French celeb royalty Gérard Depardieu and model Laetitia Casta. It’s not hard to discover why, with a wealth of fresh produce and freshly cooked treats waiting at every stall. Ask for free samples to taste before you buy and whatever you do don’t miss the galettes here: delicious hot savory crêpes stuffed full of cheese, potato, mushrooms and onion. Ooh la la. Serious shopaholics will also be pleased to learn that the market is also just a few blocks from the famous Bon Marché department store.
Brocante des Abbesses
Rummagers rejoice! For here is a manageably diminutive second-hand market in one of Paris’s most beautiful neighborhoods: the atmospheric cobbled lanes of the Montmartre butte. Once you’ve filled up on one of those seemingly endless Parisian Sunday brunches at a local café, this relatively low-key (and tourist-free) market is a great place to pick up antique lamps, paintings, postcards and more, as well as one-off jewelry pieces and knick-knacks from local designers.
Described as ‘that wonderful narrow crowded market street’ by Ernest Hemingway in his 1964 memoir A Movable Feast, Rue Mouffetard – known locally as la Mouffe – is one of the oldest streets in Paris. Dotted with quaint buildings that retain much of their medieval authenticity and charm, it’s a picturesque and atmospheric place to pick up fresh charcuterie, pâtés and breads from the bustling stalls and stores that line its cobbles. Look up to spot amazing sculptures and frescoes on the buildings, and don’t miss The House of Androuet, with its decoratively painted exterior and hundreds of different cheeses to choose from inside.
Marché du Livre
Booklovers make a beeline for leafy Parc George-Brassens in the 15th arrondissement where, every Saturday and Sunday, dozens of booksellers come together under the covered market halls to ply their wares. Here you can browse thousands of books from antiquarian and long out-of-print editions to modern classics. Once you’ve bagged a few bargains, grab a coffee and find a shady spot beneath the trees to enjoy a good read.
Marché des Enfants Rouge
The name of the oldest covered market in Paris – literally ‘the market of the red children’ – derives from the red clothes worn by children at a nearby orphanage way back in the 16th Century. Four hundred years on, it’s a foodie favorite in the heart of the Marais district, a small but perfectly formed market with oodles of fresh produce and some of the best street food in town. Follow your nose (and the queue) to local fave Chez Alain Miam Miam for messy, belly-busting pan-fried sandwiches, then – in the unlikely event you still have room for it – get stuck into a honey-sweet baklava and mint tea from Le Traiteur Marocain.
Puces de Montreuil
A younger, more brattish sibling to its better known counterpart up in St-Ouen, Montreuil’s flea market is both less well-known and slightly more off the beaten track, making it well worth the pilgrimage for the increased likelihood of bagging a genuine bargain. Expect a little bit of everything, from vintage fashions, retro comics and old vinyl LPs to bike parts, light fittings and endless piles of antique cutlery. You’ll find the best stuff at the little square at the end of the alley. Bring your best haggling game (in French, if you can) and you never know: you might just leave with that original RAF pilot’s jacket you always dreamed of.