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Marche d'Aligre Paris Outdoor Market-27

When I moved to Paris, I didn’t live far from the Marché d’Aligre. Not known for having a great sense of direction or distance, I didn’t know how close I was and would take the bus home, loaded down with my purchases from the market.

Kitchen towels

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There was a closer market in the Bastille, but the Aligre market was especially bustling, and had an energy and dynamic that was different. Many of the stands reflected a richer cultural mix than other markets in the city. Prices were also especially friendly and if you needed to stock up on, say, apricots or onions (or flea market finds), the Marché d’Aligre was your place.


Marche d'Aligre Paris Outdoor Market

When I was looking to move a few years ago, I spent a lot of time hunting for a place in that part of town, so I could be close to the market, but gave up due to escalating real estate prices. But I still visit often, even though the neighborhood – and the market – have grown up.



I like to start my day there at Café Aouba (30, rue d’Aligre), standing on the tiny perch by their coffee bar, sipping a café express, fortifying myself with a tiny, strong coffee before diving into the lively crowd to do my shopping.

Sabah epicerie in Paris

Although it should be my last stop, because it’s a place where I stock up on a lot of things – especially heavier ones, Sabah, is the place I go into first. It’s one of my favorite shops in Paris and it makes my life so much better to have so many things I love, and use, in one place. There are two adjacent to the market. The one of the corner of the market (77, rue Crozatier) is small, with narrow aisles, but has a long outside space where lots of oils, jams, nuts, and other things, are lined up. I get Iranian dates and nuts and spices there, but half a block away (140, rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine) is a more spacious store, where I stock up on feta and similar sheeps’ and goat milk cheeses, sold in their brine.

Olives at SabahFeta style cheese at Sabah

Their olives are all democratically priced (€5 a kilo), and the shelves are loaded with whatever spices you might want. And yes, they even have dried chiles for those of you in Paris looking to spice up your cooking.


Because they have high turnover, the nuts and dried fruits are a lot fresher than other places in town, and certainly more affordable than the tiny 2-ounce packets sold in supermarkets. I love poking through the aisles and filling my basket with things like Turkish or Iranian pistachios, (do not leave without a box of those Iranian dates, if they have them, which they seem to only sell at the shop on the corner of the market), dried bananas, halloumi, chickpea flour (for socca), grey French sea salt, and all sorts of exotic candied fruit that change frequently.

Nuts and dried fruit at Sabah

Walking down the main street of the market, there’s a kaleidoscope of places that line the rue d’Aligre, where vendors set up on the street and sell fruits, fresh vegetables, and big bundles of herbs. The boucherie at 25, rue d’Aligre is where I buy lamb shoulders and merguez (spicy sausage), and they’re known for their rapport qualité prix (favorable quality to price ratio). Especially fun to poke around in is the shop next door, La Petite Affaire, which has shelves in the back with end-of-the-line food items, sold at discounted prices. (Their shop at 7 rue d’Aligre is much bigger, and more crowded.) Ditto with their refrigerated section, although they recently upgraded to selling better-quality cheeses, too. But I always think it’s fun when I travel to look at both high- and low-end stuff, especially in grocery stores.


Ma Petite Épicerie (18, rue d’Aligre) has Portuguese wines, cheeses, charcuterie and olive oil. A good friend gets her olive oil here in bulk, but some of the bottles are worth checking out, as are the Portuguese sausages and wines, which don’t get the same press as wines from elsewhere.

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Readers of The Sweet Life in Paris will be familiar with Paris-Pêche (17, rue d’Aligre) the fish shop where I worked, strapping on a rubber apron with the strapping young men at 4:45am, to learn their trade. (Spoiler: I got an A+ for trying, which I gave myself, but I now apologize for sending a few customers home with fish I butchered, rather than skillfully fileted.)

French fish market

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No matter where you go at the market, you’re surrounded by food. One that I miss when I’m not in France are all the fresh herbs. The French use a lot of herbs in their cooking. Spices aren’t used with the same abandoned as cooks from elsewhere, but herbs are used liberally – and widely available, and inexpensive. Fresh parsley and mint usually cost 50 cents a bundle, and other herbs such as thyme, tarragon, and chervil, are only around twice that. Because the market has a certain amount of North African vendors and clients, one herb you’ll come across is wormwood, the lax, grey-green bundles that look like droopy dill, used to make an herbal tea, and absinthe.

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Since many of the vendors have similar fruits and vegetables, some will shout out to shoppers to buy as they pass to get your attention. Instead of being afraid of people hollering at you, as it’s not something we’re used to in the States, feel free to smile back, as you’ll find they’re friendly and that’s just what they do. Vente à la criée is an example, where fishmongers “cry out” what’s fresh that day, to get people to buy it.

Many of the vendors will joke around with you if you’re a foreigner. (Which I know well. I’ve been here fifteen years and they still think it’s funny when I ask for four onions, and they try the same old joke – “Four kilos, monsieur?” and start excitedly packing up nine pounds of onions for me.

Their job is to engage shoppers, whether you buy something or not. And most of them have the remarkable ability to speak about twenty words of any language non-native to them, but can string them together enough to have a 3 to 5 minute conversation with you.

French butter

They might suggest you try something, like a cut up melon or pineapple, which you can take, or you can pass on. Don’t feel pressured to buy. They’re used to shoppers taking stock of everything at the market, then moving on if they want to continue looking. The French are pretty discerning shoppers so if you’re not interested in something, thank them, and move on. Unless you feel like lugging 9 pounds of onions home.

French breakfast radishes

One of the best reasons to visit the Marché d’Aligre is the flea market in the middle that takes place daily, except on Monday, when the market is closed. It’s often mostly low- to middle-end items, and the prices reflect that. Which is fine with me, because I have so much stuff at home, I only buy something if it’s a great deal. Or if I really, really have to have it, which happens.

Marche d'Aligre Paris Outdoor Market-14Marche d'Aligre Paris Outdoor Market-13

But I’ve become a bottom feeder, although I foolishly passed on a lovely mortar and pestle whose glaze was crazed (crackled), and since I was on one of my now-stolen bikes, I didn’t think I could carry it home. As soon as I put it down, an antique dealer who had one hand on his mobile phone pinned to his ear, snatched it off the table before I had time to reconsider. Merde.

Paris flea market

But I’m find spending less than 5 euros and coming home with some new knives or glasses. I bought these four pieces of glassware for 3 euros by poking through the rows of boxes on the ground, rather than the carefully arranged items on the tables. Pas mal, non?

Marche d'Aligre Paris Flea market

The boxes are always filled with a mish-mash of silverware, dinner plates, serving utensils, old jam jars, and other curiosities, which shouldn’t cost more than a euro each. If they do – bargain!

Pro tip: Use one of the forks to search through the cutlery. Unless you want to take a trip to the emergency room for some stitches.

Flea market in Paris

If you’re looking for a bargain in Paris, you can skip the pricey flea markets and join me here. (But get there early. Before I do…)

As mentioned, the area is going upscale, which is evident by the recent addition of Aux Merveilleux de Fred at 12 place d’Aligre. I’ll sometimes walk by their shop in Saint-Paul, in the Marais, and see visitors pressed against the window, watching the bakers ice and roll the meringue-based pastries, called Merveilleux (I have a recipe in My Paris Kitchen), then finishing them in shaved chocolate.

Aux Merveilleux de Fred in Paris

My favorite is the coffee-flavored pastry and I’ll urge those standing outside to go in and get one, as they’re really, really good. For some reason, some ignore the crazy American guy on the sidewalk, insisting they go in. But others think about it, and perhaps after I keep walking to where I was going, they take my advice. (Pro tip: Listen to the crazy guy.)

A few storefronts away is Graineterie du Marché, one of my favorite shops in Paris. Jose is the friendly owner, who took over the shop over a decade ago. There are pots of fresh herbs outside for windowsill gardeners, and the back of the shop is a small gardening store as well as a little brocante (flea market), with housewares Jose has found. Stock up here on old-fashioned French candies, varietal honeys, excellent nut oils, and dried cassoulet beans.

French goat cheese

All roads around the market lead to the Marché Beauvau, the covered market. One of my favorite cheese shops of Paris is located right inside the front door: Fromagerie Hardouin-Langlet.

The stand was recently remodeled but still has a terrific selection of goat cheeses, cheeses from Normandy – like Neufchâtel and Livarot, outstanding mountain cheeses like Comté and Etivaz, as well as raw heavy cream and butter en baratte, sold by the spade-ful.

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Just next to it is L’Italien, which has an excellent selection of Italian products, especially salumi and cheeses. It’s one of the few places where I’ve found Ricotta salata (dried, pressed ricotta) in Paris, which once Romain tasted in the States, always insists that we buy.

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Inside the Beauvau market, there’s also Sur Les Quais épicerie, known for top-quality olive oils, tapenades, and other products, and you’ll find butchers, upscale produce vendors (more so than the vendors outside), and a rôtisserie that has spit-roasted pigs and lamb, ready to take home or to make a picnic out of. Although the sellers at the outdoor market roll up their stands by 1:30 or so, the covered Beauvau market reopens in the afternoon, from 3:30 to 7:30.

It’s not unusual for locals and market regulars to head to Le Baron Rouge wine bar (1, rue Théophile-Roussel), even if it’s 9:30 am, for a p’tit verre. (Tip: It’s one of the few places with a restroom, which is out back.) Lots of wines are scribbled on the blackboard behind the bar, and locals come in with empty bottles to be refilled from their large oak casks. I made the mistake of asking for mustard to go with the charcuterie platter we’d ordered when I first arrived in Paris – “Our charcuterie is too good to put mustard on, monsieur!” the guy bellowed – which was before I realized the French don’t usually pair mustard with dried sausage or ham, they use butter. And I’m okay with that.

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So if you want to fit in with the locals (and not be a rube like me…), ask for butter. On weekends the Baron Rouge serves fresh oysters, although there are a lot more people in the bar.

When we went to the market last week, my best score of the day (aside from the few people of glassware I brought home), toward the end of the market I picked up 2 kilos (~4 pounds) of organic lemons for four euros. Or was that 4 kilos of organic lemons for 2 euros… (See how confusing my life can be?) But I think it was the former, because there was no way we were lugging 9 pounds of lemons home. As it was, Romain kept handing out lemons to all our friends who came over, saying we had “Beaucoup.” (He’s obviously not here when I’m plowing through fruit, making all those nice jams and desserts for him to come home to. Hrrmph.)

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After doing our shopping, we went to lunch at Le Charolais (15, rue de Cotte), just behind the covered market. It’s a great little spot, save for the woman with a large, half-finished glass of beer in front of her, who didn’t approve of immigrants/foreigners – loudly – and symbolically shoved her foot out in front of me when I went to the restroom, making sure that I saw it. I wanted to lean over and say, “Honey, if you know what’s good for you, don’t get between a 50-something man and a bathroom.” But I took the higher road and stepped over her. (Although on the way back, I can’t tell you how tempted I was to ‘accidentally’ step on her foot…)

But the woman serving us could not have been nicer, and we both ordered entrecôte steaks with frites and aligot, the rich, sticky mixture of potatoes and cheese, mashed and pulled until it’s hot and gooey.

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A few customers remain parked on the tables outside on the sidewalk, finishing their morning wine, beers, and pastis, before they cleared away for lunch customers.

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We picked up the slack with a 50cl pot of Chardonnay from the Loire, that Romain pronounced “Parfait,” just like our morning at the market.

Brioche bread

Marché d’Aligre

The market takes place daily from 9 am until about 1 or 1:30 pm, and a little later on Sunday. The entire market is closed on Monday. (Some of the stores around the market may be open on Monday, like Sabah, but most close.) The covered Beauvau market is open in the morning, until 1:30pm, and Tuesday through Saturday afternoons from 3:30pm until 7:30pm.

The closest métro stops are Ledru-Rollin and Faidherbe-Chaligny. If coming from the Left Bank, the very convenient 86 bus crosses the river and you can get off at the Crozatier stop.

Nearby Places of Interest

La Bague de Kenza: North African pastries made with best-quality ingredients. (173, rue Faubourg Saint-Antoine)

Le Siffleur de Ballons: Friendly wine bar.

L’Embauchoir: Good restaurant for market-based French cooking.

Blé Sucré: Excellent bakery, particularly the croissants and lemon-glazed madeleines.

Moison: Organic bakery. I’m particularly smitten with their small apéritif baguettes, riddled with seeds and sea salt, a nice, savory snack while strolling the market. (5, place d’Aligre)

L’Autre Boulange: Wood-fired breads, rustic pastries, with a few hearty grain-based loaves in the mix.

Boucherie Le Provinces: A meat market with tables, servings steaks, in the middle of the market. Good charcuterie boards.

La Ravigote: If you want to “eat with the locals,” this is the place. Inexpensive, convivial, and okay food.

Septime: Outstanding food, tough reservation. One of the best restaurants in Paris.

6 Paul Bert: Modern French cooking.

Japan Knife Company: Top-quality Japanese knives, and knife sharpening.

Pâtisserie de Cyril Lignac: Pastry chef Benoit Couvrand makes excellent pastries and bread, including some of the best croissants in Paris. Just opened nearby – La Chocolaterie, the companion chocolate shop.

Le Grand Blanc (GB) Linge de Maison: Very good deals on kitchen towels (like the ones shown at the top of this post), and other home goods – sheets, towels, etc. (168 rue Faubourg Saint-Antoine)

Mokonuts: Terrific fresh food and baked goods (especially the cookies) at this friendly café. Lunch only.

Related Links

Eating and Drinking Around the Aligre Market (Paris by Mouth)

Marché d’Aligre (Bonjour Paris)

Paris Flea Markets and Thrift Stores

Cookware Shops in Paris



    • Taste of France

    What a beautiful ode to the market! How do you get there–bike or bus? Because for heavy purchases, I depend on my little old lady caddy (which wouldn’t work if you’re biking). At my market, in Carcassonne, I hit the strawberry stand first because he sometimes sells out (the fruit is that good). And he keeps them for me until I finish shopping, so they don’t get smashed. Just a thought….
    Saturday morning is my favorite time of the week, picking through produce, passing through les halles for cheese and meat, chatting with the vendors, sampling, hearing the same jokes (It’s Miss America!), having a coffee and running into friends at the terrace cafés afterward. It’s the essence of French life. You capture it beautifully.

    • Donna

    What a lovely article on the market. I’ve been lucky enough to have a small market just outside my door every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. I’m moving to Canada in two months, and these pictures remind me of the incredible food here in France that I will miss. I’m both hungry and sad now! ( :

    • Charlotte K

    I always love your columns but in this one, you have outdone yourself. Booking ticket ASAP

    • The Actor’s Diet

    Haven’t been to Paris since I was a teenager and am filled w nostalgia and longing!

    • Gloria JB

    A beautiful post, with heavenly looking fruit & vegetables in the market. One day I will get to Le Baron Rouge with an empty bottle to fill ! Wonder if they can seal the bottle up for you, too ?

    • Anne

    Thanks for transporting me back to Paris and lovely memories of shopping at this market — even though it required a schlep all the way across town for me. Beautiful photos, practical information. Love it.

    • La Pistache

    Great post! The way you describe the market is really touching. Thank you.

    • Adkmary

    Oh dear, after wondering whether I’d ever get to Paris I’ve now been there twice in the last year. It’s an easy flight from Montreal and your column on the market I missed has me checking prices again, sigh…

    • Judy

    David, this blog took me immediately back to the recent day we spent at this market. Wonderful memories!!
    Your stories, information & photos combine to create an entertaining & relevant blog. Many thanks! I look forward to every update.

    • Susan B

    For your next market trip, check out Le Petit Poulet, 25 rue Cotte, a new Cape Verdean place that a friend raves about. Best accras in town, he says.

    • Shannon Korczynski

    Truly one of my favorite posts you have posted. I was in Paris 1 1/2 years ago and tried to have this type of experience, but it fell short, outside of stumbling upon and being able to try the Merveilleux de Fred. I will save this post for my next visit and hit it early in my visit. I dream of taking you along for the experience, encouraging my boyfriend to open his mind to the market experience. His idea of a “good” market makes a French market seem overripe and dirty. Knowing where to go and what to try makes me excited to get back to the city in my heart!

    • Karen

    I am so jealous on your glassware finds! (In addition to everything else in the post, naturally.) Re: the wormwood — we have a little plant in our postage-stamp front yard. I sometimes add a dash of our homemade wormwood vodka to a Martini. Hope I don’t go crazy!

    • Monika

    I love your beautiful photos. Thank you for photographing Paris and writing about it in such a poetic way. I dream of moving there soon! Much love from Santa Barbara, California. -Monika

    • Maryn

    I love this love letter to the market! It is one of my favorites also, equidistant with the Bastille market from the apartment I’ve been borrowing for years — though I too will be “moving out” as it is no longer available. Have you gone to the restaurant on the edge, La Table d’Aligre? They serve a lot of fish and seafood — possible from Paris-Peche? — and always have grilled couteaux clams that are reliably delicious.

    • Julie Kirgo

    What a divine piece, David–the perfect antidote to all the crazy of the world. Wish I were there right now! Many thanks.

    • ellen

    great post, fantastic market & FYI – there’s now a merveilleux de Fred in nyc – 37 8th avenue, south of 14th.

    • Peter L

    Steak frites AND aligot for lunch. Yikes!!

    “On weekends the Baron Rouge serves fresh oysters, although there are a lot more people in the bar.” Bit of an understatement. On weekends the inside is packed shoulder to shoulder, with the overflow on the sidewalk, using car hoods and car roofs as impromptu tables, having a glass and slurping down oysters. A wonderful, crazy scene. NB: if you have limited French, you’ll need some courage to make up for it, worth it though.

    • Sandra

    You had my attention at the olive stand. When we lived in Provence we would cruise the olive stalls and try all the samples we were offered. They love you to try their wares. I miss the olives, bread, cheese and summer rose.

    • Sylvaine Lang

    Aligre is my favorite open air food market! The adjoining flea market is a bonus. Lots of nice memories of that area.

    • Robert H.

    What a great essay! And gorgeous pictures. Love those Iranian dates. We have a friend currently working for the US consulate in Abu-Dabhi, and she sends us boxes of the dates, and recently got us hooked on the date syrup and date honey, both of which are amazing! The syrup is supposedly good for men’s “vitality”, but whether or not that’s true, it’s amazing on warm bread or Sunday morning pancakes!

    • Abigail

    I usually buy my Iranian pistachios at G Detou. Are they better at Sabah? I will be in Paris in September and buying nuts for my holiday baking. Thanks.

    • Kathleen Mann

    Fabulous post!!! The depth and breadth of your text and photos are amazing, thank you for sharing so much information and personal tips. When I’m lucky enough to be back in Paris, I’ll be ready for the Marché d’Aligre! Saludos desde México.

    • June

    Great post!!. I certainly enjoyed it. I wish I was there.

    • Dianne

    What a beautiful post! Gorgeous photos, and a great tip about searching the cutlery box with a fork. It makes me long for Paris – esp. the petit cafe photo.
    Thank you for this lovely reminder of good things in this troubled world.

    • Randall

    I just landed in Paris today and a friend sent me a link. Great article and can’t believe the timing! I look forward to exploring and tasting. Merci beaucoup!

    • Joe

    Great post, except that it made me miss Paris even more! I suggest adding the new restaurant Tondo [] to your list of nearby places of interest. We had lunch there a few days after they opened. The setting is beautiful and the food was truly outstanding.

    • Linders

    Your four onions story made me laugh. I am staying in Cap Ferret and spotted some red wine sausages at the local market. Mama asked for two. “Two kilos”? They were delicious by the way.

    • Jenny

    Beautiful, I’m feeling homesick for Europe, and such low prices for wonderful, precious food. I miss these experiences now I’m in NZ.

    • Tara Vaughan-Hughes

    Oh, this just sounds so ideal!

    • Gail

    In 1973 I was on a Eurorail trip and met some French hippies my age, who had an apartment on Place d’Aligre. They thought I looked like Janice Joplin. I spent the rest of the summer with them. Your blog leaves me longing to return.

    • Kara

    The thrill of the bargain hunt.

    • Vicki in Sonoma County, California

    I think I’m in love – with you…David

    • Karen Tripson

    You are the best of the bloggers. I hope your wonderful posts like this one will be collected and published in book form. I’m making the orange syrup cake tomorrow for a friend’s birthday. Did Yotam O. Congratulate your version of his recipe?

    • italian girl cooks

    Wow, what an amazing market…I would be there everyday, love it all. Great post & photos!

    • Bill

    David, what advice would you offer to those of us who only have time to visit a market once a week, in my case the Union Square market, and cook daily for one and yet who has desire to use the best and most fresh ingredients for all meals?

    • Sara

    Just saw the huge display of cherries in the market and wanted to tell you I made your “Cherries in Red Wine Syrup”. I’ve been eating it out of the jar and am now addicted.

    • New Mexico Marcia

    I am so happy for you and thankful that you are gracious enough to share it with us.
    Well done, David!

    • Joyce Agress

    So, I just added a stop on the September Paris trip. Too much of what you describe is fascinating but unsuitable for a tourist, but dried fruit and olives and nuts sound like good additions to our picnics. Thanks for the tip.

    • Catherine Mundy

    Thank you for the most wonderful post about a wonderful place. On the list for next year.

    • suedoise

    thank you for a day in Paradise where one can also have that wonderful North African speciality, tiny citron confit, lemons preserved in salt. They give wonderful flavour to any dish. I have read one should use the lemon peel only but I use the entire fruit.

    • Diane Perkins

    I love your posts about the markets of Paris. David, I’d also like to hear what it’s like in Paris and France now following all the attacks.

    • Pam

    It was a very interesting read. Wish I had this info when I was there in May! I will have to plan a second trip there. I also love your live video on cheese. Thank you for the blogs.

    • Caro

    we were this time last year, happy memories, sitting on the side lines eating a gorgeous lunch, watching the amazing spectacle of the speed they take the market down! Caro in Guernsey

    • Angela De Marco Manzi

    Thank you so much for this lovely post, I feel as though I have shopped with you.

    • Wayne

    Do you have a favourite recipe for aligot? My GP won’t thank you, but I don’t care. I need to eat some of that. What a lovely, mouthwatering post. Thank you.

    • Bonnie Groves Poppe

    Along with the Bastille, my favorite Paris market! Great post.
    – Bonnie in Provence

    • Bites for Foodies

    I lived in France years ago and was only able to visit Paris for a short time. I wish I could go back to those markets!! I lived in Nice and absolutely loved the market in the Cours Saleya. Lucky me, I spend my summers in Sardinia Italy and so I see markets in all of the towns on a daily basis!

    • Parisbreakfast

    Marché d’Aligre is more like a village than Bastille and most other marchés. Maybe because its 6 days a week and enclosed. Great atmosphere.

    • Rebecca

    Holy cow, that’s a boatload of useful information. I bookmarked it before I was even halfway through it.

    Though it’s already a year since I was last in Paris, I hope to be back in the fall. I stay in a little studio near the Gare du Nord, so I always do some food shopping as soon as I get there. This market will be my first stop. Thanks so very much.

    • Marianne McGriff-Zionsville, IN

    David, I SO enjoyed this article! We will be in Paris in a couple of weeks and I’m following your suggestions. In June for the Dday Ceremony on Utah Beach, we stayed a few days in Paris. I took our friends in Normandy and Ireland boxes of chocolate from Jacques Genin. Everyone loved them, including Darina at Ballymaloe! Hope all is well with you, God Bless, Marianne McGriff

    • Carol

    Only been once, in the rain, but I want to go back! I didn’t see the flea market part last time. Great score on the glassware!

    • Ella

    I see you are trying different social media. Could you please check out Periscope? It allows you to host your own live video segments anytime and anywhere. Your followers get a notice that you are “live” and they all come in and participate. Or they can watch later. So much better than forcing people to use the hated Facebook or Snapchat (for kids). Thanks!!

    • Kristen

    Lovely post. Thanks for sharing.

    • Carolyn Z

    Enjoyed reading the August newsletter today. Thanks for sending it out so punctually. Too many things to see in a two week visit to Paris. Might have to be three weeks instead.

    Ever been to Tokyo?

    • Oonagh

    David, your comment about not getting in between a 50 year old man and the bathroom in regard to the horrible lady cracked me up, thanks!

    • Francesca

    What beautiful photos! The photos of the food are mouth watering (plus I am reading this post before lunch) :) I’ve never been to Paris before, despite living in Rome — it’s been on my list for a while though!! — and I must say this post has made think I should schedule that trip for sooner rather than later…thanks!!


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