This Weekend at the Paris Market

Paris Outdoor Market-3

As the weather turns cooler, the skies of Paris take on that violet-gray color that we’re all (too) familiar with, which means the onset of winter. When you live in a space-challenged city like Paris, that means going through those long-forgotten boxes you’ve stored away since last spring, and sadly putting away those short sleeve shirts and linens, replacing them in your closet with wool coats, scarves, and mittens. (Although I think I am the only adult in Paris who wears them. The other people, over eight years old, wear gloves.)

celeri remoulade

The outdoor markets of Paris take place, rain or shine, sunshine or sleet, no matter what the skies and weather are up to. The vendors never go on strike, and even on les jours fériés (national and public holidays), they are always there, selling their fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses. I’m always struck by their ability to stand out there in the dead of winter when their cabbages, bunches of radishes, and rows of lettuce, are all frozen solid. When the rest of us can barely stand to be outside for more than thirty minutes, they’re there from 7am to 2pm in the unfavorable weather, setting up, selling, then breaking everything down and packing it all up, ready to do it all again the next day in another neighborhood.

squash

There is an outdoor market every day, somewhere in Paris, except Monday, and most people simply go to the one closest to where they live. Other markets may beckon, but few want to schlep bags of produce home on the métro when they can walk to a market just a few blocks away. And once you know the vendors at your market, it’s a much more enjoyable experience to shop there. (Plus you get better stuff, and most vendors let me pick my own produce, rather than decide for me.) I happen to live between three outstanding markets – the Bastille market, Popincourt, and the Marché d’Aligre. Here are some of the things that caught my eye this week at the Popincourt market:

tangerines

The first thing you’ll notice during the winter is a lot of mandarines. It’s not winter in France if you aren’t walking by tables heaped with mandarins – a jumble of tangerines and clementines. They come from a variety of places, but the ones from Corsica seem to draw the most interest. As for me, I tend to grab ones that don’t have seeds in them. I also look for ones with fresh leaves; wilted foliage is an indication that they’ve been picked a little while ago.

clementines

Visitors are often surprised that the vendors don’t offer samples of things such as cheeses and fruits, like they do at cheese shops and farmers’ markets in the states. However that’s not the case for mandarins, where the vendors are always pushing you to try theirs. In a place where capitalism and “competition” can seem like foreign concepts, because each and every vendor has their own mandarins that they’re trying to sell, the best way to tempt shoppers to buy theirs is to offer samples. (Before tasting, I make sure that the vendor has used a knife to open the fruits, rather than their teeth, which makes me a little uncomfortable.)

poulet de Bresse

Because I know a number of readers are sensitive things as well, I’m not showing the lièvre (hare) that the voilaillers were skinning at one of the booths, even though they held it up for me to take a picture (you can thank me…or be irked) – but ’tis the season for gibier, or game, in France. It’s one of the glories of French cuisine during the fall and winter season. Fancy poulets de Bresse are available all year round, it’s status protected by the AOP designation and each bird has 10 meters of space to roam in, and the rest of their production is carefully monitored. Due to the quality of the meat, these pricey birds generally aren’t roasted, but prepared in a more delicate fashion, such as poached or braised.

pigeon

Other game birds, like pheasant and pigeon, are on offer at the moment as well, along with things like chapon (capon), quail, and dove, if you’re into those things. If not, keep walking… (But please, don’t make a face. It’s impolite to the vendors.) Winter also means more meat-centric dishes, including slabs of pâté aux figues. I used this one for inspiration for this one, for the recipe that’s in My Paris Kitchen).

Fig pâté

Ropes of Toulouse sausage form a meaty spiral, in case you feel like making cassoulet. (There’s a recipe for that in the book, too. And I’m getting on that project next week.)

Toulouse sausage

Yet if you’re not the DIY type, if want to buy your own, that’s okay too, as the charcuteries are experts at making their line-ups of terrines, pâtés, and rillettes. This jumbo bowl is holding is a fat-rich spread of goose and pork, ready to take home and enjoy today. (Not the whole bowl. You can buy just a little.) I didn’t bring any home since I picked up that large slab of pâté. But rillettes are nice to have on hand for a quick sandwich or snack. And surprisingly, they also go well alongside fresh oysters, as do herb sausages called chipolitas aux herbes, slender herb-flecked sausages. If you’re lucky enough to have a grill, try to find some of those the next time you’re serving fresh oysters. You’re in for a treat!

rillettes

A while back, when food truck were hitting the curbs of Paris, I went on a little tear, hoping that instead of just copying what Americans do, enterprising locals would take some of the French specialties and adopt them, and make them le street food. Which, oddly, is often not served on the streets, but simply take-away food. (One newer restaurant in Paris actually put a food truck inside their restaurant.)

grilled cheese

There used to be a hamburger truck at the market, and I once gave it a try. While they were nice enough, which has a certain value around town, I asked for my fries without sauce poured all over them. They erred and covered my fries with sauce, then put them in a closed container and handed it to me. Personally, I can’t think of a better way to ruin French fries. So I asked if they could give me a re-do without the sauce, which they were happy to do, but I couldn’t get them to understand the concept of not sealing the warm fries in an air-tight container. And was handed another (fully enclosed) batch of soggy frites.

The new truck features grilled cheese sandwiches, which is a good idea since France excels at both bread and cheese, and seeing them being fused together takes me to a happy place. (Happier than frites fused with a warm, red mayonnaise-based sauce.) Someday I’ll get around to trying them, but I was happy that I had my own cheeses that I brought home from the wonderful women who sell all sorts of curious and interesting cheeses, some with ephemeral names.

goat cheese

This one is simply called Le trèfle, the clover, and if you went into a cheese shop and asked for a “clover,” they likely wouldn’t know what you are talking about. I don’t go to the fromager with any particular cheese in mind, but I wait and see what looks good. They’re the experts and a good fromager relies on repeat customers, so they try (and succeed) in carrying whatever cheeses they feel are best at the moment. Goat cheeses tend to go out of season in the winter, when the goats stop producing milk, and this one – as you can see- is very well aged. So was probably made before the milk production ground to a halt.

Less-aged, but delicious, is Neufchâtel, a Normandy cheese that bears no resemblance to the lowfat cream cheese sold elsewhere, under the same name.

Normandy Cheese

It’s not really a well-known cheese in Paris, for some reason, and people don’t buy it very often. But I love it. I also like plain yogurt, which is getting harder to find in France. If you go to a supermarket, you need to comb through the extensive yogurt aisle to find one that isn’t sweetened or flavored. Which is a shame, because plain yogurt is so good…and good for you, too. I eat one every day.

yogurt

Speaking of plain, a few weeks ago I was picking up some yellow onions and an older man was completely perplexed that I was buying regular onions. “They’re sweet!” he told me. Um, yes, I know. (But only when cooked.) Because of his age, I didn’t want to shock him too much, but I also was picking up a pumpkin…to make, egads, a tagine. It was as if I had told him that I filling the gas tank of my car with burgundy, then taking it for a drive across France.

“C’est pas vrai!” he uttered back – “It’s not true!” – with complete disbelief that I’d put pumpkin in a tagine. I decided to avoid talking about the grilled cheese truck just a few paces away because the idea of putting cheese between two pieces of bread might have required a call for an ambulance.

onions, parsnips and garlic

Also confounding to some are the root vegetables and things like panais (parsnips), which are relative new-comers, so to speak, on the produce scene. Of course, they’re not new, but are considered a légume oublié or forgotten vegetable. Because parsnips are on the sweet side, in my experience dining with French friends, they aren’t all that enjoyable to their palates (due to their natural sweetness, I think), but many people have brushed away root vegetables, saying that they’re reminders of the war.

squash

When I mentioned, respectfully of course, that the Liberation of Paris was in 1944, seventy years ago – before most people were even born – it was kind of a long time to hold onto something. But in a country where history takes on a special importance (if you pass by a newsstand, you’ll likely find magazines with Valérie Trierweiler and Marie Antoinette on covers, side-by-side), I guess the aversion to root vegetables is something that’s ingrained, and passed on from generation-to-generation. But I’m seeing more and more of them at markets. So maybe in the future they’ll someday be called “remembered vegetables”?

potatoes

Curiously, another root vegetable (or tuber, actually) that’s not fallen out of favor are potatoes. I, and the French, eat ’em up. And you can get them in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and firmnesses. Not sure how potatoes survived the post-war years, but I’m glad that they did.

(On a side note, that sign points to the direction the line is supposed to go. Sometimes it’s a necessity to keep patrons orderly – and to keep the vendors sane.)

parsnips

One thing that confounds me, though, is that people buy plain, undressed grated carrots for up to eight times the price of fresh carrots. The salade des carottes râpées is the national salad of France, and one of the places where raw – not cooked (but yes, peeled) vegetables are consumed.

grated carrots

But I don’t mind taking the extra two minutes to peel and grate a couple of fresh carrots. But that’s what my grandmother called her “Yankee thrift,” which is apparently stronger than what here is called la radinerie.

cooking apples

But I’m happy to join les radins (cheapskates) in Paris at the market when buying apples, and don’t mind rifling through the bins of pommes à cuire (cooking apples), which are slightly dinged or dented, but taste just as good as the other apples the apple vendor from the Picardie has at their stand. Most of the time the cooking apples get used for another French classic dish, le compote, otherwise known as applesauce. Unlike les dames, who have to scrutinize each and every apple, I grab the largest ones so I can spend less time peeling apples, and use that time to grate my own carrots.

walnuts

For les américains, Thanksgiving is coming up. And while a few clever vendors at markets in neighborhoods more popular with American expats stock fresh cranberries, whole turkeys, and Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix (just kidding on the last one…but hope springs eternal), chestnuts are enjoyed by Americans and Europeans alike.

chestnuts

A friend who is a private chef confided to me that he buys them already roasted from sellers on the street, who cook them over an open fire. But in the trendy and/or upscale parts of Paris, there aren’t many people standing on street corners, huddled over a swiped supermarket shopping cart that they’re using as a grill, roasting off chestnuts on a fire, and selling them in paper cones. However, one can dream…

Wormwood

I make it a point to visit the stands of the North African and Arab vendors, who always have a few curiosities, like bitter turnips, on hand. I seem to hone in on whatever is buried amongst the tables of leafy greens and herbs, to see what I can find in there. One such thing I found this week is what they call “absinthe,” an herb used to flavor the well-known drink. I believe that it’s actually wormwood. The fellows tell me that they use it make an infusion, an herbal tea made by steeping greens in hot water. It’s quite bitter, they add, but say that it’s good for the digestion.

prickly pears

I’ve not really been a fan of prickly pears (called figues de Barbarie – or Barbary figs), ever since I was given a batch of them many years ago as a pastry chef in California…and I spent the rest of the day (and part of the next), plucking the tiny, microscopic prickly fibers out of my hands. I’ve since learned to spear them on a fork and use a knife to peel them. Not sure how the ones we get in France don’t have any prickly little things, ready to attack, on the outside. But I’ve been wary of touching one ever since that memorable 48 hours of my life that I spent with that pair of tweezers.

scallops

Easier to deal with are scallops, which are sold in the shell in France, with the orange roe attached. When they’re in the shell, they’re called Coquille Saint-Jacques; in the U.S., we use that term to refer to a gratinéed dish made with them. (Out of the shell, they’re called the noix de Saint-Jacques, the “nut” or “walnut” of the scallop.) You buy them, weighed and priced in the shell. The fishmonger opens them for you, since it’s a bit of a task as those suckers are stronger than they look, then you can bring them home and cook them.

scallops

I don’t really like seafood with lots of sauce, or cheese, as in Coquille Saint-Jacques, but prefer them simply prepared with melted butter and herbs on them. That’s my Yankee simplicity speaking. But to each their own and if you’re eating them, you can do whatever you want.

Lucques olives

Even easier to eat are French olives. At most markets, there is at least one stand with a dozen or more kinds of olives. Resist the urge to get the cheaper ones, which to me, have off flavors (I once bought some and could swear they still had lye on them – which you don’t want to eat), so I stop digging for change, and pull out some bills when buying olives. The best are Lucques olives, sold with some of their brine to conserve their color, (which someone who was practicing her English, asked me if I wanted some “brain” with my olives), because they turn dark quickly. My solution is to eat them fast.

According to the New York Times, the name Crosne refers to a town near Paris, where an agronomist brought them to, from Japan. One oddity that is usually pricey are crosnes.

crosnes

Some of the young chefs in Paris have adopted them, although because they are pricey (they usually cost around €30 per kilo, 2.2-pounds) they tend to use them sparingly. Plus they are a bit of work to cook, if you choose to peel them. The French are fond of peeling things and I know people who won’t eat tomato or potato skins. These are from a local producer, so they’re not as pricey. If you find them at your market, you can try making Crosnes and Peas. Or just stare at them in wonder, like I do.

French slippers

In addition to food, you can find all sorts of other things at the markets in Paris. Because it’s winter, you can find French-made wool slippers, to keep your feet warm. The same vendor had espadrilles, for €10/pair, but there were no takers for them.

knives

I sometimes rifle through the bins, looking at the cheap paring knives (and wonder how much they would sell for in the U.S. – and wonder if I could make some extra euros selling them online), and poke through all the other things they have on offer.

Mouse bait

I don’t have mice, thank goodness. But if I did, I’m sure they’d be eating as well as I am this week.


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61 comments

  • November 24, 2014 11:29am

    Paris markets are such an upper. It never fails and the venders are the weatherproof heros of Paris. Love seeing the arrival of the Clemies as a first sign of winter. I get the picholine olives from your lucques guy. I hope they’re OK. Try the skinny smoked salmon sausages (2€ For a great snack) from the Polish herange guy at Bastille. His new dill pickles are terrific in the spring too.

  • November 24, 2014 1:04pm

    Oh your market photos always make my heart ache for France. Going to the market was such a treat to me as a child, especially towards Christmas when we would go to buy our goose. Something that always makes me smile is the handwriting. In French schools handwriting is a huge deal and they all get taught the same way and produce that script which is on every price sign and label above! It has always been a real joy to me that the most grubby farmer in the most rural parts of France can write a letter and it be written in the most elegant language and script. Part of the magic :)

  • November 24, 2014 1:43pm

    Just beautiful David. A lovely dose of Paris on this cold, grey and rainy Toronto morning!

  • Claire
    November 24, 2014 3:05pm

    Oh David, these photos make me ache for Paris. My favorite place there is any street market. What exactly is a “crosne”? The mandarins make me drool! While not terribly fond of winter, it’s one saving grace is the citrus. And I bought two of those cheap paring knives when in Paris last May. I’m sure I’ll opt for a couple more this May when I return to Paris. Thank you for this wonderful piece and the beautiful photos. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Dick
    November 24, 2014 3:40pm

    Surely your Crosnes are Jerusalem Artichokes? Make a great soup if theya e.

  • November 24, 2014 4:31pm
    David Lebovitz

    Dick and Claire: Their Latin name is Stachys affinis, and they sometimes go by the name “Chinese artichoke.” They’re something that’s I started seeing more of in Paris over the last few years, although they’re still somewhat of a curiosity. While they’d probably make an excellent soup, they’re kind of difficult to clean (and expensive), which makes them more of a specialty item, rather than something people would use often. The ones here are reasonable, but they usually sell for 3x that price elsewhere.

  • Bebe
    November 24, 2014 5:41pm

    Oh, a Mouli grater! One of the loveliest low-tech devices ever invented.

    Those sticky mouse traps remind me of my experience with a (young) rat that turned up in my basement. What to do? I placed one of those according to directions and returned a day later to find a still-live small rat stuck firmly to that sticky stuff. Then I was really stumped. Finally got the whole thing into a bag and hauled it off to a nearby commercial dumpster. Unless you want to deal with a still-living immobilized rodent, I don’t recommend using those!

    Thank you for sharing your visit to the market. During extended visits there, the markets were a source of wonderful food and amazing sights. And the ones in the country towns are like travelling bazaars. There is everything imaginable.

  • Janet
    November 24, 2014 6:00pm

    We shopped at the Popincourt market for the first time last month during our stay in Paris, and really enjoyed the local feel of this market. Love Paris in the fall for game season, also the wild mushrooms, but the mushrooms are probably finished by now? Had memorable game at Le Cornichon (palombe and colvert), L’assiette (grouse) and Repaire de Cartouche (game terrine and grouse).

  • November 24, 2014 6:09pm

    David, you read my mind! I was at Holybelly this morning and their blackboard said Crosnes were in season. Was just about to look them up… I also always forget the name of the heart-shaped cheese and am too embarrassed to ask for it like that: “le fromage, euh, en forme de coeur, s’il vous plait?”

    P.S. I have a pair of red mittens I am excited to dig out from under the bed!

  • Jessica
    November 24, 2014 6:38pm

    Wow, I haven’t seen crosne (korogi in japanese) since I left Japan.

    Wormwood is an excellent spice to use in flavouring vodka. It’s rather bitter.

  • November 24, 2014 6:47pm

    Fantastic piece, David. Like we were there with you. :)

  • ellen
    November 24, 2014 6:53pm

    Years ago, in the sixties, when I was immersed in the Lycee system, there was
    a huge outcry about what was then termed “Franglais.” Though I shouldn’t be, I am surprised when I visit to see and hear so much English but your sandwich board took the cake. Almost as many English words as French ones. The most amusing being
    “poulet crispy.” Looks like the Academie has lost that battle.

  • Theone
    November 24, 2014 7:08pm

    David, this was a wonderful post and so interesting and informative! As always, your photos are great. Many years ago when I was in Lyons I visited Les Halles. I imagine the markets you photographed are considerably smaller than that.

    P.S. I have something vintage that I’d like to offer you (for free) if you’ll email me I’ll tell you more.

  • November 24, 2014 7:18pm

    Great piece, David. I especially enjoyed your description of the seasonal specialties and your beautiful photos.

  • Judy Schultz
    November 24, 2014 7:34pm

    What a great surprise when a friend sent the Paris Market to me…I just got back from Paris, bought your wonderful and darn-near-edible book, My Paris Kitchen.
    It’s as much fun to read as it is to use in the kitchen!

  • Jeff Ward
    November 24, 2014 7:47pm

    David:

    Same thing in Hailey, Idaho. Hard to find plain yogurt. Strange.

  • abigail
    November 24, 2014 7:51pm

    Hi David. sorry not strictly related to todays blog but looking at your photos made me think of it. Could you show a recipe for tagine sometime soon?. I moved house recently and lost my prized folder with all my print outs of recipes in it including many beloved autumnal ones… I sometimes buy the tagine they sell at Quimper market in winter, I think its pork and apricot with raz el hanout and would like to recreate it. Anything similar would be great. Thanks for the inspiring reads. Whenever life in France annoys the HELL out of me your blogs help remind me why I’m still here…

    • November 24, 2014 11:45pm
      David Lebovitz

      There is a recipe on the site for a lamb shoulder tagine, as well as one in My Paris Kitchen, using lamb shanks. I’ve not seen a tagine using pork. Since many of the people in that part of the world don’t eat pork, I’m curious about it!

  • November 24, 2014 8:24pm

    Ironic that in Paris where the bread and cheese are top notch grilled cheese is not a thing but in the US where bread is Wonderbread and cheese is Kraft singles….haha.

    Then again wonderbread and kraft singles makes a pretty decent grilled cheese.

  • November 24, 2014 8:29pm

    We tend to visit Paris in the winter and I loved reading this post today. The picture you showed of the wormwood is correct- its official name is Artemisia Absinthia- and it is what was used to make Absinthe years and years ago. In the US it’s primarily grown as a decorative plant, and few people know that if you plant it next to stone fruit trees- peaches, cherries, apricots etc…or other trees susceptible to borers, it will prevent the borers from invading the tree. You can also plant a tansy plant on the other side of the tree.
    Natural arborists and organic growers here will actually wrap the trees in garlands of tansy and wormwood. It’s worked very well to protect the peach trees in our yard.

  • G. Brown
    November 24, 2014 8:33pm

    Crosnes are sold at my local Whole Foods in Middle TN.

  • Allison
    November 24, 2014 8:41pm

    David, you’ve outdone yourself with this post! The photos are so beautiful and compelling. I visit the market in Jerusalem daily when visiting family and it’s the high point of our trips, bins of olives and feta, piles of beautifully arranged produce…I envy your daily access to such riches! Lucky you.

  • November 24, 2014 8:42pm

    Great article, David–it made me miss the Paris street markets. I wish we could get our scallops on the shell with roe here! As for root vegetables, I agree that WWII (and Depression Era thrift) ruined them for many people around the world. When I asked my mother, who grew up during the depression, why we never had winter squash of any kind, she said, “Oh, I had a lot of it growing up.” In Japan, where I spent my childhood, many people won’t eat kabocha because it brings back painful memories. Because it was the only thing that would reliably grow in a war zone, everyone lived on it during the last years of WWII.

  • Larry McLellan
    November 24, 2014 8:48pm

    Thank you for this blog! I rented an apartment this past spring, a block from the Bastille and my twice weekly shopping excursions were one of the highlights of my stay. So, this blog really brought back fond memories of the produce and the vendors…..especially OLIVES, I was in heaven! Life here in New Mexico, a transplanted Southern Californian, is….well, I can’t find any comparisons! In short, I love Paris and appreciate each of your blogs.

  • StellaB
    November 24, 2014 9:19pm

    My market find this week was neither parsnips nor crosnes, just humble quince. Ok, not so humble quince and the price made my eyes water, but I have them in the crockpot and quince tarte tatin in my future….

  • bonnie poppe
    November 24, 2014 10:11pm

    My two favorite paris markets are also Aligre and Bastille. The fishmongers at Bastille are so beautiful and smell so good! And yes, that is wormwood. I recognize it from gardening. I loved this post, as I love the markets like life itself. I live in the Languedoc, and we do not have the incredible variety that Paris has, but I shop every week at ours. Here we can gather our own girolles (chanterelles) — today I came home with 2 kilos for an hour’s work (if you can call it that), and a friend brings me lovely fresh sanglier now and then. I hope you will do a post on the many sizes and kinds of oysters that can be found at the Bastille Market during Noel, its absolutely astonishing to see the variety and prices, such a difference from the US. Thanks for this post.
    bonnie in the languedoc
    once a californian

  • November 24, 2014 10:13pm

    Jessica, the Japanese for crosses is chorogi, not korogi. It’s usually pickled in Japan.

  • marcella
    November 24, 2014 10:34pm

    I recently was served crosnes in a restaurant and had no idea what they were. When I looked at them I was sure I was being served caterpillars. They were crunchy though, thank goodness! The server told us they were still fairly rare here in the Bay Area and were $45 a pound.

  • November 24, 2014 11:13pm

    I live near a renowned London food market, but it’s never a patch on the French ones – not nearly as seasonal in our produce.

    But two things you said have confused me: “If you are lucky enough to have a grill” – are grills not standard on American and French cookers as they are on British ones? I prefer a separate one – my new cooker has a low one, rather that the eye-level one my old cooker has – but smaller cookers often have them incorporated into the oven, and the separate double-ovens that some kitchens have usually have one in the top oven. I can’t see how you would manage without – how on earth do you cook cheese on toast?

    And cooking apples – here, they are specific varieties of apples (especially Granny Smiths, but not exclusively) that are rather too sour to be enjoyable raw, and which go to puree when cooked, rather than maintaining the integrity of the slices as sweet apples tend to.

  • Heide
    November 24, 2014 11:15pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed this, Thank you

  • zita botelho
    November 24, 2014 11:32pm

    David, I loved the article as it made me nostalgic for my weekly visits to the market but I was disappointed when I shared it on Facebook and the picture beside it was an offer for purchasing your paris pastry app (which I have by the way). I much prefer the picture of the lovely mandarins. Wish you wouldn’t do that.

    • November 24, 2014 11:43pm
      David Lebovitz

      Glad you enjoyed the post, and liked it enough to share! : )

      I don’t control what images Facebook chooses to use. When I share on Facebook, there is usually an option of 3 images I can use to accompany the post on Facebook – but I don’t have any say over what image gets tagged when shared by others on Facebook. Curiously, when I hit the Facebook “Share” button at the bottom of this post, the image of the Toulouse sausage came up alongside. (But Facebook can be notoriously quirky.)

  • Patricia Pond
    November 24, 2014 11:55pm

    What a lovely piece, and the photos took it to another level. I am home bound due to a disability, and probably will never able able to travel again, but in reading your article, I feel like I have. Thank you so much.

    • November 25, 2014 12:00am
      David Lebovitz

      Hi Patricia: I once had a guest who was quite disabled and she came to Paris and I took her around. It was kind of an adventure (for both of us!) – in one instance, a café waiter who was initially quite brusque ended up proposing to her (!) and I took her on the line 14 métro, which has elevators (which, unfortunately were all broken when we tried to get off and out of another station) – but we did it, somehow. Amy happy that you’re getting a glimpse of travel here at the blog. When I was at the market, everything looked so wonderful that I felt compelled to snap some photos and share some of my favorite things. Am glad that you enjoyed the post ~!

  • Tammy Young
    November 24, 2014 11:57pm

    That picture of celeriac remoulade makes me hungry! I live in Australia (Queensland) and have been searching for fresh celeriac since returning from my last trip to Paris, but unfortunately, I have not found any, yet. I still have hope…or I may just have to return to Paris! (It’s only a thirty hour flight….)

  • Mae
    November 25, 2014 12:29am

    When I lived there going to the market with my now fiancé was usually our Sunday tradition. We lived on Rue de la roquette and the bastille market was our go to. I loved going to the Chinese vendor with his French wife and buy their accras…it was so yummy!

    We are moving back in 2015 and can’t wait to start our Sunday tradition again, only this time we’ll have an extra little person with us!

    I loved your photos and made me so excited that I’m moving back there again. Going to the market was one of my fave things to do!

  • Lisa M in Indy
    November 25, 2014 12:39am

    Thank you, David for a very colorful and informative piece on the Paris markets! Lucky you to have such wonderful fresh foods. And fun interactions with vendors!

  • November 25, 2014 1:03am

    Fantastic post! I can’t really cope with the number of clementines in my life at the moment. But hopefully they’ll chase this cold away.

    Re: barbary figs: I got some the other day and am a bit scared of them. Any suggestions? Eat as they are? Keep at arm’s length? Make a thing with them?

    Helen,

  • Evelyn
    November 25, 2014 3:23am

    Love the blog! Transports me from my Podunk California town to France, which is always a lovely diversion. In addition to being informative, your posts are always filled with sharp wit. You seriously crack me up, David Lebovitz!

  • Gavrielle
    November 25, 2014 4:17am

    Fascinating post, and how interesting about the root vegetables. That’s certainly not the case in the UK, where parsnips are popular and yet WWII is just as clearly recalled as in mainland Europe! On the other hand, though, my mother, who as a small child was evacuated to a UK boarding school during the war, refuses to eat turnips or swedes to this day as it reminds her of those days.

  • November 25, 2014 5:43am

    I was able to visit Marché d’Aligre a couple months ago. Start sellin’! Beautiful photos in this set.

  • Johanna
    November 25, 2014 7:33am

    lovely post. Makes me want to jump on that new direct flight from Vancouver.

  • November 25, 2014 11:18am
    David Lebovitz

    parisvegan: Most of the time, they’re best eaten fresh (peeled, of course) – they do make a nice sorbet as well.

    Gavrielle: A week or so ago, I accompanied a lovely Polish journalist around the market for a story she was doing. She asked me if people ate root vegetables in France, and I said for a while, they were stigmatized, because of the war. She was pretty surprised, because she said in Poland, people love them. However it’s changing pretty quickly in France, and you can find all sorts of wonderful squash and root vegetables – depending on the market. I love them.

  • Anne Wright
    November 25, 2014 11:40am

    Thanks for the beautiful photos and great info. on Paris markets!!! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  • Laline
    November 25, 2014 3:31pm

    Great article, David. You made me feel like I was shopping with you. I love it when you describe your favorites and have a funny anecdote to go with it.

  • November 25, 2014 3:57pm

    This makes me miss open markets even more! The fruits and veggies look so fresh and delicious!

  • AR
    November 25, 2014 10:43pm

    David, there is a small store called ‘Thanksgiving’ in the 4th arr. that sells American groceries including Stovetop stuffing (and Oreos)! If it’s close to you I’d look there.

    20 Rue Saint-Paul, 75004 Paris, France

  • Jason
    November 25, 2014 10:58pm

    I’ve just discovered your blog today. I’m arriving in Paris on December 5th for about 11 days. Your posts are incredibly helpful, and so wonderfully full of information and photos. I’m thrilled and excited for the visit. Hope to see some of the wonderful things that you’ve been describing!

  • November 25, 2014 11:12pm

    Oh, how this makes me miss Paris! I loved the markets. Hard to find anything like them in the North Bay Area.

  • November 26, 2014 5:59am

    What a thoroughly enjoyable wander through a Paris market. Thank you! One thing: plain yogurt is getting harder to find in Paris? Oh no. That is not good news. It is good news, tho, that parsnips are now available. They are so yummy roasted. (I know, roasting makes them even sweeter!)

  • LWood
    November 26, 2014 4:41pm

    I’m feeling lucky that we have a Saturday and Wed. market here in Ann Arbor. Last Saturday we started the day with an ice storm, and I was also thinking about the hardiness and dedication of our farmers at the market on such a challenging day. I waited until ice was melting before venturing out, and found my way to some beautiful kohlrabi, and will roast with some root veggies. Yum! Will also try your tangine soon, maybe even add some pumpkin. Thanks for another beautiful and inspiring post.

  • ron shapley(NYC)
    November 26, 2014 6:27pm

    If only the New York City greenmarkets replicated the Paris markets……….. That would be a dream come true.. Generally, they are pretty boring.. Same old stuff… nothing “special”. Your post describes something out of reach to NYers………Woe is me !!

  • Kyle
    November 27, 2014 3:24am

    David, what does the red wax on the stem of pears mean n the markets? I often buy them and have just assumed they were either a denotation of region of special varietal.
    Merci beaucoup. k

  • November 27, 2014 6:42am

    I always love your posts on the markets, and the photos in this one are particularly spectacular. Oh, to be able to get a Bresse chicken in the states…

  • Diana
    November 27, 2014 9:16pm

    Next time you run into one of those small plain yogurt containers, I encourage you to use it make your own plain yogurt. As an impatient and lazy cook (er…I mean busy and industrious!), I crank up the heat on the milk (or milk/cream combo, or goat/sheep/cow milk) to reach 185 degrees while whisking to prevent burning (or use double boiler), then set the pot into a bath of cold water to quickly cool to 110 degrees, whisk in a 1/4 to 1/2 c plain yogurt from the last batch, pour into a large thermos, and let sit while I’m at work or sleeping. After 6 hours, it’s creamy and 12 hours, it’s tangy (taste it to determine when you consider it “ready”). Put it in a beautiful glass jar in the frig or a lovely old crock, and it beckons to be used in or on everything (marinades, dressings, desserts, breakfast dishes, yogurt cheese). I love being able to control the end product by using different ingredients or by shortening or lengthening the fermentation time. I will never go back to store bought (plus, food in plastic containers just never calls my name).

    Ok, enough about my passion for dairy products. Let’s talk about you, David! I’m halfway through your witty, diverse, Francophile, journalistic tome….My Paris Kitchen, and loving it! This is my first visit to your blog, and I’m so happy that when the book is done, I can delve into your inspirational writing here. On this day of Thanksgiving, I’m grateful to you for sharing your passion for food. Thank you!

  • November 28, 2014 1:44am

    Great post and photos!

    I laughed when I read about root vegetables being the ‘forgotten vegetables’. I took a cooking class a few years back at the École Ritz Escoffier in Paris, and for the main course, we cooked roasted guinea fowl with ‘yesteryear vegetables’ – a mix of parsnips, chervil, Jerusalem artichokes, salsify, Chinese artichokes (crosnes), and some really ancient carrots and potatoes.

  • November 29, 2014 4:57pm

    Dear David,
    I live in Brussels and just visited our local market this morning. Your pictures made me feel like I was right back at the market. Here too tables overflow with cascades of “clémentines”! :)

  • Turnip
    November 30, 2014 5:38am

    I love your market posts. It might sound cheesy but it feels like I’m walking along the stalls too. It makes me especially happy because I recently came back from my first trip to Paris where all I did was visit markets and cook at home (well, someone else’s). The contrast of walking literally everywhere in Paris to sitting at a desk from 9-5 is certainly sobering. Thanks for the lovely post.

    Sincerely,
    Turnip
    Canadian Suburbs

  • Millette
    December 1, 2014 9:31pm

    Dear David,

    Happy Belated Thanksgiving from California.
    I learn so much from your posts, THANK YOU!!!

  • Sydelle Zinn
    December 1, 2014 11:23pm

    My family lived in Paris for one year (2010-11) while my husband was on sabbatical. I loved the markets and found the french / Parisians really friendly and helpful. I guess they didn’t live up to their reputation. we lived close to Rue Mouffatard so I shopped there alot. I was wondering which market was your favorite.

  • Stacye Mehard
    December 14, 2014 11:02pm

    Stay away from glue mouse traps. *Believe* me!! It’s an ordeal you would never want to handle.

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