There are so many food markets in Paris, it’s often difficult to know where to go. More than just a place to buy food, they are the center of the community, and one of the best places to get a sense of local life and culture.
Where else to go shopping for the freshest of foods that can claim that oh-so-vaunted French concept of terroir. Terroir is the idea of being close to the earth, and that means consuming that which has been produced nearby. Something that the farmers’ markets in Paris love to proclaim from those zinc-tiled rooftops.
Some of the marchés are indoors while others are outdoors, but all are filled with market stalls featuring everything from cheese shops, fruits and veggies, charcuteries, olives, spices, and other gastronomic delights. Without further ado, here are the best food markets to visit in Paris. Allons-y!
1. Marché des Enfants Rouges
The oldest food market remaining in Paris today, the Marché des Enfants Rouges is a covered market dating to 1615 and is an official historic monument.
The name “market of the red children” and is due a nearby orphanage called Hospice des Enfants-Rouges, that would take in stray children found on the streets of Paris.
Inside the market you will find a variety of farmers’ stalls with fruits and vegetables, as well as other producers of cheese, wine, flower stalls, as well as a selection of eclectic street food to takeaway.
2. Marché Bastille
Located at Place de la Bastille on the edge of the Marais, this outdoor market may never have existed, had it not been for some clever ingeniosity in the 19th century.
And that is because it was originally the path of the Canal Saint Martin, which today is running underneath it.
The canal was authorized by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to supply Paris with fresh water and prevent disease. By the time his nephew Emperor Napoleon III came to the throne in the 1850-1860s, his engineer Baron Haussmann had other ideas.
The area was of historical significance, having been the site of the uprising at the prison of Bastille where the French Revolution started, eventually bringing the Bonapartes to power. Haussmann was redesigning Paris, and decided to enclose the portion of the canal right before it feeds into the river Seine.
Today the market at Bastille stands right on top of the enclosed portion of the Canal Saint Martin (which you can visit on a boat tour). The market has a variety of food stalls and is heavily frequented by the locals living in the area. Marché Bastille runs on Thursdays and Sundays between 7am to 1:30pm.
3. Marché President Wilson
Address: Avenue du Président Wilson in the 16th arrondissement.
Named after the American President Woodrow Wilson who supported France during WWI, the Marché President Wilson is is footsteps away from the Eiffel tower and on the edge of the luxurious 7th and 16th arrondissements.
From varieties of foie gras and escargot, to seafood and champagnes, this gourmet market has a wonderful selection of artisanal and fine epicerie food products. You can also get cooked dishes like boeuf bourguignon, quiches, and roasted chickens.
The market is open Saturdays and Wednesdays from 7am – 1:30pm.
4. Marché Mouffetard
Address: Rue Mouffetard in the 5th arrondissement
Marché Mouffetard in the heart of the Latin Quarter has to be one of the most charming. This street market along the centuries-old and narrow Rue Mouffetard is few yards away from the Jardin des Plantes and Place de la Monge.
The street has been pedestrianized and so regularly invites locals tourists from all over the world, even on days when the market is not on.
There is a bit of everything, from fruit and vegetable, cheeses, charcuterie, pâtés, seafood, pastries, cakes, and other sweets. If you are looking for organic products and souvenirs, you will easily find those here as well. The market is open everyday except Mondays, from 8am to 1pm.
5. Le Marché International de Rungis
Address: 1 Rue de la Tour in the town of Rungis (about 4 miles or 7 km outside of south-east Paris)
Now unlike the other food markets on this list, the International market of Rungis is a wholesale market. It is the central market of Paris that supplies grocery retailers, restauranteurs and other professionals all over this part of France.
Paris’s wholesale market actually dates back to the 5th century as the Marché Palu sur l’Ile de la Cité. In 1181 the covered market moved to Les Halles on the Right Bank, just a couple of miles away from the old location, to make access easier for boats coming along the Seine River. The Fortress Louvre was built to protect that trade route.
In 1969, with the proliferation of airplanes and supply trucks, a historic decision was made to move the wholesale market from Les Halles de Paris to the town of Rungis.
Today, it is considered the largest market for agricultural products in the world. And indeed, it is a tourist attraction, welcoming thousands of tourists every year. There are tours that you can reserve online exploring its 5 sections: fish, meat, fruits & vegetables, dairy products and flowers.
Visiting hours vary depending on the section you are interested in, so please check online before heading over.
6. Marché d’Aligre
Address: Rue d’Aligre in the 12th arrondissement
Sometimes called Marché Beauvau, the Marché d’Aligre is a charming farmers’ market located between Place de la Bastille and Place de la Nation. If you are looking for an authentic and traditional market in France where local long-time residents go, this is it.
Unlike the markets at Marché Mouffetard and Marché President Wilson which are in the most expensive parts of Paris, Marché d’Aligre is in more of a middle-class neighborhood.
The market here is divided into two sections, with a large covered market, inside 3 halls, and an uncovered portion that runs down the rue d’Aligre. Along with foods from all across France, it also includes other items like antique, household good, fabrics, old books, furniture, etc.
The market is open everyday except Monday from 7:30am-1:30pm on weekdays and up to 2:30pm on weekends. You can book a guided tour to Marché d’Aligre here.
7. Marché Saint Eustache-Les Halles
Address: 1 Rue Montmartre, 75001 Paris
Until the late 20th century, this was location of the biggest food market in Paris, called Les Halles. After the city’s wholesale market was moved to Rungis, a lot of the locals felt that the area had lost its soul.
Opened in 2005, the Marché Saint Eustache-Les Halles looks to recapture some of that old spirit. A small street market, it has between 20-30 stalls selling everything from food and wine, to local specialties and souvenirs.
The market is open every Thursday from 12:30pm – 8pm and Sundays from 7am – 2:30pm. You can book a guided food tour to visit this part of the Marais here.
So have you decided which of these food markets in Paris you plan on visiting? If you enjoyed that article, you may like to read more about things to do in Paris. A bientôt!