Exploring the Back Roads of Paris and a French Market - Marché Pyrenees
A Riot of ColorClick thumbnail to view full-size
At this Market you will find around thirty stalls selling a huge variety of fruit, vegetables. There is a butcher, several fishmongers, roasters and sellers of local products, also a bakery, a rotisserie, a cheese seller, a potato seller, a florist and a chocolate seller.
An Assault of all of the Senses!
Visiting a French market can seem very much like an assault on all the senses. The market is a riot of color with wonderful displays of fruit, flowers, vegetables, cheese, meat and fish. One can hear the sounds of market traders as they call out to one another. Cheeks are proffered for kisses when shoppers run into friends and family - while fruit and cheese are offered up for tasting. Live birds chatter unhappily in cages.
Much of the produce is grown locally. The bulk of which is fruit and vegetables, cheese, meat and fish. Much of the fish will have been sourced from local coastal areas, shellfish, sometimes so fresh that you might even find yourself looking eye-ball to eye-ball with a live crab. You will most certainly find bread, tarts, pasta, hand-made chocolates and even large dishes of paella being sold.
Locally Sourced FishClick thumbnail to view full-size
A Visit to a Paris Market
Shopping at the market is a way of life for the French. You will find specialist markets which may sell only one type of product at a time. It could be mushrooms, truffles or honey.
Never on a Monday!
The best time to get there is always early but never on a Monday. They are rarely open on Mondays. The stalls are quite often disbanded by midday. The popular produce can sell out very quickly. Getting there early allows you to view the items in a much more leisurely way. Leave it until much later and you could find the market is brimming with tourists.
Grabbing a Bargain
Like the car boot or English Market, there can be advantages to arriving late – just when everyone is thinking about of packing up, the stallholders will sell off their produce at reduced prices. This is the time to grab a bargain.
Bring your own Bags
It is always an idea to bring your own bags. Often you may be provided with flimsy plastic or paper bags. These are not always suitable for carrying heavy or delicate items. Bring a strong shoulder bag – so much easier to carry or better still, bring along one of those granny shopping bags on wheels which surprisingly have lost their granny image and are fast becoming a fashion statement in Paris. Parisian’s of all ages use them – even young ladies wearing high heels and tights can be seen pulling a trolley behind them.
Funky Shopping Trolley's
Trendy Shopping Trolley's
Several UK stores are now importing trendy shopping trolleys from France. They come in a wide range of colors and are used by housewives, pensioners, city professionals and don’t laugh, even men. They are very light to pull behind one. Why not do your thing for the environment and helping reduce both waste and your carbon footprint at the same time. Believe it or not, British shops hand out over thirteen billion plastic carrier bags every year.
Try before you BuyClick thumbnail to view full-size
Sample the Goods First!
Don’t be afraid to ask to taste the produce before you buy. The French accept this as the norm. Stallholders will frequently hand out samples of their produce for you to taste. Most time you won’t even have to ask. This reverse psychology seems to work very well, for it is so much harder to decline a product once you have tasted it! Treat this as an opportunity to learn as much as you can about regional food. You will be expanding your own palate at the same time.
- Don’t forget to go armed with plenty of euro coins. Don’t take the risk of getting there early and risk having to pay a market trader with a note which he may find difficult to change.
- Don’t let your lack of French vocabulary put you off going to the market. If your French is limited, point out the items which you would like to buy from the stallholders. You will soon find that a few simple gestures work very well. Don't forget to observe the basic courtesies - such as Bonjour, Madam or Bonjour, Monsieur. Once you have completed the transaction, remember to add a Merci and an au revoir before you go on your way.
- Parisians regard grocery shopping as being a most pleasurable occupation and it is not difficult to see why when faced with the wonderful array of produce. You will want to forget buying that un-ripened fruit or vegetable from local supermarkets. The Parisian’s may use them as a convenience during the weekdays, but the markets are regarded as being the place to shop or to be seen during the weekend. Saturdays and Sundays are reserved for strolling around the market. Your shopping trip will, of course, have to be followed up by the obligatory drink in a local café or bar.
- Popping off to Paris for the weekend for a trip to a market has become reality. If you live in the UK. It will take only a mere two-and-a-quarter hour on the Eurostar from St Pancras London to arrive at Gare du Nord in Paris. You may not want to do it every weekend but one can see how easy it would be to turn an ordinary weekend into a really special one. You could even arrive in Paris, just in time for breakfast and then go on to shop at the market later.
- Another option might be to consider catching a coach from Victoria Station in London to Paris You could spend a weekend there! Try booking an apartment online with Wimdu as we did. You could have a short break in a home from home where you can take your product back to your own apartment and cook up a feast fit for a king.
- If you want to get your food back home in good condition, you should seriously think about taking a few boxes with you when you go shopping. They are so much easier to pack your produce into and the produce will definitely arrive home in a much better condition. After all, who wants to arrive home with the taut Pomme flavored with goat’s cheese!
- Paris has around 80 markets, so there will be no shortage of choice once you get there. Do your homework first and decide which markets you want to attend, before setting out. They are usually in full swing by 8.30 am.
FromageClick thumbnail to view full-size
Some of the things you are likely to find at this market:-
Fromage – cheese – there are hundreds of varieties.
Fruit and vegetables – the most amazing range, some of which you may never have seen or tasted before. I saw artichokes as large as melons.
Chocolate – hand-made – some of which are flavored with chili.
Patisserie – pains au chocolat and tarte aux pommes and delicious crusty bread and rolls, also pastries, pasta and baguettes.
Duck Confit – Don’t forget to bring back a few tins to the UK with you. Roast the duck legs in hot fat for around twenty minutes. They make the perfect quick meal.
Honey – There are so many types. The taste is usually reflected by the flowers on which the bees gather pollen.
Wild mushrooms - all at astonishingly good prices. These are especially good – ask for advice on how best to cook them.
Fish, frogs legs, crabs, mussels, rabbit, veal, chicken, mussels, snails, oysters, pig, Pate and much more.
Pigs Heads, Frogs Legs & Chickens with HeadsClick thumbnail to view full-size
MushroomsClick thumbnail to view full-size
A lasting Memory
The memory of a French market is such a memorable one. It is likely to linger long after you have returned home. It deserves to be savored and enjoyed, just like a good wine. I do hope you enjoy your visit to Marché Pyrenees
Where is Marché Pyrenees Situated?
Marché Pyrenees Rue des Pyrénées, between Rue de l’ Ermitage and Rue de Ménilmontant. Open Thursday from 7:00 am to 2:30 pm and Sunday from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm
Metro travel is an interesting experience on its own. The trains are incredibly efficient and always on time.
A visit to Marché Pyrenees
Are you likely to visit Marché Pyrenees
Exploring the Back Roads
“Exploring the Back Roads.” is part of a series of travel Hubs which were started by 2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc) http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/Exploring-The-Back-Roads-of-Washington-State-A-Visit-To-Pe-Ell-Is-A-Visit-To-Our-Past
Other writers are encouraged to link their own articles to the Back Road Series using the same four words, Exploring the Back Roads, in the title and change it to the name of their own state or country. I chose Paris - France for this Hub.
This is my first contribution to the series.
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© 2013 Sally Gulbrandsen