By pasting Ville de Paris into your browser then clicking the shopping basket icon top right, you will find listed almost one hundred, first-rate, Parisian neighbourhood food markets for your pure pleasure. Meanwhile, here’s my tip for a Sunday, ‘two for one’ epicurean, Parisian market outing.
My two favourites are conveniently close yet delightfully different in atmosphere:
1) Marché d’Aligre:
With its village atmosphere you might catch yourself fantasizing that you are in a vintage French film, rubbing shoulders with locals as they fill their shopping ‘caddies’ to the brim with every type of food from fish heads and tripes to organic bread and wild mushrooms. Specialist food shops surround the stalls here and cafes, with terraces for people watching, are plentiful.
Open 6 days, Tuesday to Sunday -7am until 1.30pm.
2) Less than a mile by foot from rue d’Aligre is Marché Bastille, (old name Marché Richard-Lenoir). Here you will find a vast, glorious feast as most traders offer morsels for tasting (dégustation) of every kind of food for free. As you munch your way through the happy throng you’ll find food for the soul and mind too as street performers and assorted, small, political manifestations (demos) are on hand to entertain and politically educate …. Bon appetite!
Open 2 days, Thursdays and Sundays, 7am til 3pm.
Pl d'Aligre, rue d'Aligre, 12th Arr.
Google map: bit.ly/fJwQDn
Bd. Richard Lenoir, 11th Arr.
Google map: bit.ly/hfvYIf
Full range of market stalls from butchers, cheese producers, foragers and farmers producing organic fruit and vegetables. The market in the old town isn't bad either. Great atmosphere from a market that goes back centuries.
Boulevard Nicollet and Boulevard Taine
Google map: bit.ly/eODuRv
Similar to the Boqueria but with a greater selection and less tourists - the fruit stalls have the most incredible selection. Pick something you have never seen before, chances are it'll be local and beautifully fresh. The stall holders know enough English (or at least have good enough miming skills) to tell you how to eat it, so go find a park and try something beautifully fresh and excitingly new - I dare you.
The moment you enter this covered market, you step backwards in time. This is no longer a busy European city of the 21st century. Rather you find yourself in a Balkan ambience of the Ottoman Empire in the mid 19th century, full of smells and languages and music.
You can find there the finest fish, meats and vegetables, alongside with local specialities.
A few good taverns offer amazing mezedes, and are famous among the city's good eaters. "Myrovolos Smyrni" is one of them.
The most interesting thing happens there on the 24th and 31st of December around noon. People celebrate the forthcomming holiday with a rather special way. After finishing work they go to Modiano for a quick tasty bit with their friends and co-workers. The atmosphere there is magical. Gypsies with loud Clarinettes and drums pass by to sing, Brass bands are around to play traditional music, people dance and are cheerful in a Market packed with people.
This is the place to see strangers join hands and dance together, hug and kiss and wish each other well and offer wine. A true anthropological experience for outsiders, and a human moment for the insiders.
Ermou str. Salonika
Just off Piazza Maggiore is one of the most tantalising sights in the world - a warren of streets dedicated to the best fresh produce in Italy. Cheese, salami, fish, chocolate, fruit, vegetables, bread, pastry, and even a Chinese takeaway - all will arouse your taste buds. And on Viccolo Ranocchi - heralded by the single word Vino - is the ancient Osteria del Sole where you can take your food and buy a drink to wash it down.
Take via Pescherie Vecchie off Piazza Maggiore and follow your nose.
Google map: bit.ly/fmzvyZ
Doncaster Market has been at the heart of the town since medieval times. It covers a large area with inside and outside stalls. It consists of a general market where any manner of non perishable items can be purchased but the real treat for foodies are the outdoor fruit and vegetable market and the indoor fish and meat markets. Who would have thought that a walk through Doncaster town centre would lead to the opportunity of buying the best fresh ingredients for any meal you could possibly be considering cooking. Local produce is available as well as the more exotic items now popular as the community becomes more diverse. Stallholders are great Yorkshire folk always ready to chat, offer cooking tips and advice (whether you want it or not).
The market building is a riot of colour and competing smells. Spices of brilliant hues vying with fresh vegetables from the surrounding small holdings. Cheeses of all shapes and sizes,un-named animal parts fashioned into sausages varying from cream to black. By 10.30 the stall-holders are relaxed and gossiping. Les menageres have gone home with their purchases and only the tourists remain. By 1 p.m. the building is swept clean and the Antibois sit in its shade drinking their pernod.
Old Market Hall, situated along the South Harbour and Market Square, has been selling Finnish delicacies to locals and tourists for over 120 years. It’s a well-known place for meeting up with friends over a cup of coffee and cinnamon buns before shopping for berries, wild mushrooms, game, sea food and freshwater fish. Try fried reindeer slices with potato mash and lingonberry sauce followed by oven cheese with Arctic cloudberries and cream. Alternatively, taste Karelian pasties, made from thin boat-shaped rye crusts filled with savoury rice pudding. Most importantly: don’t forget to buy those all important sausages and beer for the evening of sauna, skinny-dipping and barbecue!
Wanha Kauppahalli, Eteläranta, 00130 Helsinki
+358 9 636177
Open 8am-6pm Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm Saturday
Google map: bit.ly/fvFoj7
Hala Targowa is a bit off the beaten track in Krakow - I found it by getting lost - but is a genuine market for locals, piled up with produce from nearby farms, and also cheap. I bought 1kg of succulent strawberries for 2zl last summer. Wonderful fruit and veg in mouthwatering displays, as well as flowers with cheese, bread and meat to the side. There's also haberdashery, clothes etc. A short walk away is where pigeon and rabbit swapping goes on in another small market at Plac Nowy twice a week: you have to get up early but it's worth it.
Hala Targowa is to the south-east of Wawel Castle on Grzegorzecka street close to the viaduct. Plac Nowy is in the Jewish Kazimierz district.
Google map: bit.ly/glfOSv
No trip to this wonderful city is complete without a trip to its famous Fish Market - a real foodie's paradise. It is the largest market of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and auctions over 100 species daily. You can have a guided tour or you can take a course at the Seafood School. Best of all, you can eat delicious, freshly landed seafood on the quayside, but watch out - you may have to share your meal with the locals - cheeky pelicans that come right up to the table in the hope of a free lunch.
Staying in a self-catering apartment in Barcelona? The tapas bars may be tempting, but we were even more tempted by the variety and quality of the food on sale at this vibrant market. Being on the coast there is a wide selection of fresh fish and sea food, as well as meats, chorizo and other sausages, fruit and vegetables, herbs and spices – in fact just about every type of food imaginable. It’s easy to find, about half way along Las Ramblas, the most famous street in the city. And once you’ve found it you’re bound to be tempted to buy some of the mouth watering food on offer.
Psar Kandal Market in Phnom Penh, Cambodia:
narrow alleyways full of stalls crammed closely together, this is where the locals of Phnom Penh buy their food, rather than in shops and supermarkets. Cambodia is still a very poor country whose infrastructure has not yet recovered from the devastating Khmer rouge period, yet this open air market supplied food of a freshness and variety that surpasses Western food markets.
Banana flower, mini mangos, herb and spice stalls selling fresh galangal, ginger, chillies, turmeric; fish stalls with live fish in tanks and enormous aluminium basins full of squid and shellfish; egg stalls selling fresh and preserved eggs of all sizes and hues, meat and medicine and drink stalls. Everything was displayed beautifully in large baskets or on rattan mats.
As part of a small group attending a Cambodian cookery class, I was given a tour around and introduced to the ingredients I would be using later in the day, but you don’t have to be a foodie to appreciate the vitality of the place. Finish off by visiting one of the many cafes and small restaurants around the square.
The central night market of world heritage site Ayutthaya is a wonderful friendly place for all the family. Wander among the many steaming food stalls picking your dish from the bizarrely exotic (stir-fried frogs) to the ubiquitous and downright delicious (pad thai) then settle on a table by the river taking in the stunning views of some of the many lit up temple ruins that you may have walked around in the earlier searing heat. This is a calmer, easier and more atmospheric way to see them! You can catch a boat from here to take you around the 'island' to see many more ruins at night. If you have children with you (as I did) finish the night off (or use as a 'if you eat all your food bribe) letting them join the local kids with a crazy bounce on the popular inflatable slide - while allowing Mum a chance to shop in the many cheap clothes stalls.
The Great Market Hall is centrally located and the largest market in the central Budapest area, on the Pest side of the Liberty Bridge. The building is of beautiful neo-Gothic construction with intricate, heavily-decorated roof tiling.
The market is a three-storey structure, supported with slender metal columns. Even today the market is used by the people of the city for daily necessities such as vegetables, meat and fish. It is also a tourist mecca with lots of traditional salami and paprika on sale. The basement holds a supermarket for convenience shopping.
The sights and smells of this market are unforgettable, but it's setting is the cherry on the cake.
1093 Budapest, Vámház körút 1, Hungary
+36 1 217 6067
Google map: bit.ly/ecrYee
Address: Fővám tér, Pest end of Liberty Bridge, trams 2, 47, 49
the nearest metro station is at Kálvin tér (M3 blue line)
Opening Hours-Budapest Central Market Hall
Monday: 06.00-17.00, Tuesday-Friday: 06.00-18.00, Saturday: 06.00-15.00, Sunday: closed.
A tale of two French food markets, Les Halles in Avignon and le Marche Couvert in Colmar, which are very different, but both brilliant showcases for regional produce and less aimed at tourists than many others.
They are also my 'spring'(Avignon) and 'autumn'(Colmar) favourites. New season garlic, artichokes and other bounty from the south of France, with a Campari or Pastis while people watching in Avignon and with visiting chefs doing demonstrations every Sat 11am, plus a truffle festival mid-February to reward 'early birds'. Then the autumn treat of vin nouveau and flammekuche, plus all the ingredients you need for a hearty Choucroute Garnie from Colmar's smaller market.
I would recommend the train for a weekend trip to both -about 6hrs from London, though for Colmar you would need to rent a car in Strasbourg to get around the area. Of course it all depends on how carried away you get with the shopping. If you are seriously stocking up on for example wine, you'll need a car all the way!
Les Halles, Place Pie, Avignon open daily except Monday 6am-1.30pm
Google map: bit.ly/hKzrte
Le Marche Couvert de Colmar, Rue des Ecoles, 68000 Colmar. Open daily except Monday approx 8 am-5pm.
Google map: bit.ly/hCpHpU
"Big square" - everyone seems to want to point out the way. By day - orange juice and fruit/nut stalls, snake charmers and general Moroccan hustle and bustle. Take a table on a cafe balcony and watch the world go by with a glass of mint tea. By night the place livens up - loads of food stalls appear: couscous, kebabs, sausages, seafood, salads, and for the more adventurous, snail soup. There's a great atmosphere with the smoke, the smells and the live music.
Google map: bit.ly/fC2FXe
I bought glasses here which have served me well for almost a year (and still counting). It took them half a day to make them up for me and they cost around £15 including the lenses (to my prescription).
You need to have your prescription with you of course!
Its a complete mish-mash of frames, some of which are in bad shape. However, you can find some really different styles here and quite 'retro' looking things which haven't been touched in years!
I also bought glasses at a smarter looking place around the corner from here - these have been brilliant too but they are more generic and the kind of thing you could buy in the UK. The glasses I bought from Tiem Kinh Thuoc are unique as well as functional.
65 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hanoi
It's right on the north-east corner of Ho Hoan Kiem lake.
Google map: bit.ly/gTncIL
I found this astonishing shop in Crouch End: Little Paris, which sells only french products. Vintage furniture and decoration accessories, parisian designer's jewels and fashion accessories.
Every item in this shop is so lovely!
You should go and have a look in this piece of France based in the animated area of Crouch End. You will go back home with something, for sure!
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