If you subscribe to my monthly newsletter, you had an advanced look at Emily Dilling’s new book My Paris Market Cookbook: a CulinaryTour of French Flavors and Seasonal Recipes (not subscribed yet? Click here!*), which looks at the true artisans at Paris’s many markets and food shops. Inspired by the slow food movement still dominating California, she was determined to seek out the individuals trying to revive the artisanal lifestyle in Paris. With beautiful photography, fascinating anecdotes and easy-to-make recipes, there’s no better book for the market lover.
In honor of the book’s recent release, I asked Emily to share a few things you may not have known about Paris markets. Any surprises?
1// They aren’t all “farmers” markets
Even though Paris markets may ressemble what we call Farmers Markets in the States, Paris markets are often lacking an essential element of American outdoor markets: farmers. Most of the vendors at Paris food markets are resellers of wholesale, often imported, produce. While the city counts over 80 neighborhood markets, many are completely void of locally grown produce, and others may have only one farmer among the stands. Luckily, one farmer is enough to cover your seasonal produce needs! Check out my list of farmers at Paris markets.
2// “Bio” isn’t necessarily best
Paris has three exclusively “bio”, or organic, markets which are great places to get a wide variety of certified organic produce, meat, cheese, and other artisanal foods. I love these markets, especially Saturday’s Marché bio des Batignolles, but organic comes at a price in Paris and at the end of the day I’d rather support a local farmer, who may not be certified, but who respects tradition and the environment in their farming practices. For fresh, locally grown, affordable fruits and vegetables I shop at my neighborhood market and enjoy local agriculture and whole foods at totally fair prices that I know go to supporting a family farm.
3// They’re everywhere
Paris markets are kind of like metro stops- you’re never far from one! With the exception of Mondays, dozens of outdoor food markets are open every morning across the city. Unlike American farmers markets, the marchés of Paris take place throughout the week and serve the hyper local community, with each arrondissement having a selection of markets that are a part of local residents’ weekly routine.
4// They’re full of hidden treasures
While there are many similar elements in each Paris market- the fishmonger, the butcher, and the fruit and veggies vendors are staples- each market has it’s own personality. Exploring the city’s markets has taught me that you there’s always something new to discover; a Polish man selling pierogis, a French woman selling authentic English muffins, a local farmer making fresh pressed wheat grass juice, these are just some of the surprises that await around every market corner!
5// Not only old ladies go to markets
While women of a certain age are among some of the coolest people you’ll meet at the markets of Paris (they have the best recipes!) you’ll also run into a wide variety of people while shopping for food. Those with 9 to 5 jobs are more likely to be out at the weekend markets, where you’ll find young couples and families as well as tourists and locals alike. Throughout the week the markets are calmer, but still frequented by people of all ages and origins. It’s a refreshing sign that supermarkets and chain stores haven’t stamped out the neighborhood market, and the tradition and shopping rituals that come along with your local marché.
Thanks for these insights, Emily! Pick up a copy of Emily’s book: My Paris Market Cookbook, now available! For other stories, check out Emily’s blog, Paris Paysanne.
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