The markets in Paris have been overflowing with such gorgeous fruits and vegetables. I have fallen completely under their spell, rendering me incapable of thinking about anything but making the most of this glorious abundance. Yesterday I traveled 10 metro stops and a half a world away to the 12th arrondissement, home of Marché d’ Aligre. A lively and bustling outdoor market, Marché d’ Aligre is open every morning but Monday and percolates with voices, color, and the scent of dirt fresh produce. I had not brought my rolling cart, so my purchases were limited to what I could carry in my woven tote bag- probably a good thing! I wandered up and down the street many times, enjoying the scene and trying to decide what to buy. The prices were significantly lower than those at my President Wilson Market, which didn’t surprise me as Wilson is known to be one of the most expensive in the city. Another difference was that the vendors were hawking their wares with spirited gusto not usually heard in the 16th, and offering lots and lots of samples, which is always nice.
Just behind the produce market is a flea market. I browsed bins of old table glasses and silverware, tables of paintings and other decoratives, and jewelry. There also was a lot of second-hand clothing and shoes.
The real bonus of the Marché, though, is the historic covered market that sits right next to it. Marché Beauvau is one of the few remaining covered markets in Paris. When I entered it, it felt like a quiet, cool oasis. Inside are very nice shops selling pastries, pasta, flowers, cheese, meat, and gleaming fish that had absolutely no smell.
By the time I had seen everything and decided it was really time to go home, the vendors in the produce market were ready to go home, too, and were slashing prices. I got a bag full of peaches for one euro! Merci!
I had to pop in this precious shop, which was just steps from the market. It was tiny but chock full of grains, and different kind of flours and rice and beans. In the back room were bins of grains for birds. I bought a small bag of almonds, just because the man inside had been so nice to me.
The flower shops always make me happy.
So are you hungry yet? Tomorrow I will share with you what I made with all my market bounty.
On my return ride on the metro I admired these shoes on the young woman sitting across from me.
Just as I took the photo, an older woman (wearing much less fashionable shoes) got on the metro and wanted to sit next to this woman. The younger woman was holding a very large leather bag across her lap, and the bag extended quite a bit into the empty seat next to her. The older woman nudged her to indicate she wanted to sit there, and the younger woman moved over just the tiniest bit. The woman sat down (sliding in around the bag) and then began to tell the woman that she ought to have moved her bag. The well-shod woman disagreed with whatever she had said, and the two of them exchanged quiet insults/retorts/facial expressions all the way to the next stop, where the younger woman got up to exit the train. They continued their debate while she waited for the door to open, the older woman saying, “oui, ma coquette, c’est comme ça” as the young thing shook her head in disbelief. I was amused watching them, as I always am when I witness the French having confrontations with strangers. People on street corners yell at drivers, and drivers yell out their windows at other drivers and pedestrians. We tend to think of the French as being reserved, but they certainly let it all hang out when they don’t approve of what someone else is doing! It’s a constant source of amusement for me, even if I don’t understand much of what is being said. Being ridiculously non-confrontational myself, I admire their spirit and fortitude. And their shoes, of course.
Go forth and find some fresh seasonal produce today! Just don’t piss off any old women while you’re doing it.