5 Things You Should Never Do When Visiting Paris’ Outdoor Markets
Going to a Parisian outdoor market is part of most people’s itineraries when visiting Paris. But why? I mean, we have markets in North America. Law?
The atmosphere of a French market is a mixture of pleasure (“pleasure”), social connection and gastronomy. French brilliance when it comes to gastronomic pleasure and creating a meal to share with family or friends. They come to the market to fill their baskets and their wheeled carts, say the shopping cartwhile they stop to chat with a neighbor or a vendor.
There is something exotic in a French market. Never-before-seen products from Africa or Israel are intriguing and pose the conundrum of whether to buy or not. Saffron butter wrapped in waxed paper and labeled by hand — Hmmm — what gastronomic pleasure will it give? When in season, you’ll find white asparagus, a selection of different types of strawberries, loose eggs, dozens of French cheeses, and a dizzying amount of greens.
Stalls bring regional specialties to certain Parisian markets. Whether it’s honey from Corsica, lavender products from Provence, pork rillettes from Le Mans or foie gras from Sarlat-la Canéda. Depending on the season, you can find Iberian ham from the Basque Country or discover a kiosk filled with maple syrup products. It always makes a Canadian smile.
Parisian open-air markets are the perfect place to To stroll. Strolling is the art of strolling and simply observing life. Bring your curious mind to an outdoor Parisian market. Wander. Observe. Buy delicious, high-quality products, but whatever you do, don’t do these five things!
1. Don’t be in a hurry
Part of the experience of visiting a Parisian market is the atmosphere, the flow and the pleasure of observing Parisians in their daily lives. Take the time to observe the interactions between seller and buyer, neighbors having a friendly exchange, and the facial expressions and body language of those waiting in line. Observe what Parisians are buying. I like to imagine who is coming to dinner and what will be served.
Put your senses to the fullest. Watch out for dogs. Sometimes coming out of the shopping cart, others hidden under an arm. Hear the sellers shout out their best prices. Feel the pancakes sizzling, the chickens roasting, the paella simmering or the huge tartiflette molds (melted reblochon cheese and bacon bits served with potatoes) just waiting to be devoured. It’s all part of market days in Paris.
If you stay in Paris for a while, come back to the same market. You’ll see familiar faces at the same booths. I have returned time and time again to Marché Raspail and met my fish seller, fresh produce seller and the surprising shaman who sings and plays her Tibetan bowls. If you invite her, she stands a few inches in front of you and moves the bowl up and down the length of your body. The vibration is real! You never know what will happen at an outdoor Parisian market.
Pro tip: Arrive at the market and do a big loop, or two. Keep an eye out for what’s in season, where the longest queues are, where the European clothing stalls are, and where to start!
2. Do not touch the products
The number one rule on all French markets, Parisian or not: Do not touch the products. Read carefully. Observe. But don’t touch. Some vendors will hand you a small brown bag to select your own produce, but most times when you ask for a handful of green beans or three avocados, the vendor selects them for you.
You’ll be sure to hear your provider say, “With this?” which means “With that?” Go ahead and order something else or just say “That’s it.” “That’s it.” Always end with “Good day. Bye!”
3. Don’t move the queue
Do not move. Find the supplier you want. Trim the queue. Find the end. Join the queue.
Queuing is the perfect time to browse what’s on offer. Make a mental note of what you want and how much you want, and think about how you’re going to ask the seller.
If you’re brave enough, you can strike up a conversation with someone in the queue. Once faced with three types of strawberries Gariguettes, Mariguettesand Mara des Bois, I patted the arm of the lady in front of me asking for some guidance. The French women were content to talk about strawberries and suggested Gariguettes, the first arrivals of the season, elongated and sweet. This marked the beginning of my love affair with this type of strawberry.
But why are the queues so long? It’s customer service. You will notice that the salesperson helps one person at a time. No matter How many the time they take, be patient. Observe the relationship between the seller and the buyer. And, when it’s finally your turn, don’t feel rushed.
When my turn came, I felt rushed. Maybe it was speaking French or being in the middle of a very French experience surrounded by Parisians. I learned to take my time. I like that the seller is completely focused on me, selecting exactly what I ask for.
4. Don’t haggle for a better price
An outdoor market in Paris is simply not the place to haggle for a better price. Trust your supplier. You get the same price and quality as everyone else.
Sometimes the whole process happens very quickly. A few years ago I bought a cantaloupe and when it was weighed it cost me $8. Before I knew it, I had paid my sum and was on my way but I couldn’t believe the total cost of my purchases. It soon became apparent that I had paid a royal ransom for my cantaloupe. I savored every juicy bite of this cantaloupe, though! It was an innocent mistake not to realize the melon would be weighed.
Don’t forget that the sales people are happy to help you. At fish shop (fishmonger) they will be happy to clean, scale and gut a fish for you. And, if you don’t know how to cook it, they’ll be happy to share a recipe or at least give you some tips.
5. Don’t come with a full stomach
The peculiarity of a Parisian market is that there are usually stalls selling food to eat. One of my favorites is the Bastille Market where patties (buckwheat pancakes), a traditional food from Brittany, are made before your eyes. There is always a queue and I can attest to how delicious they are.
One Sunday morning in December, the Marche Bastille also had a few high tables and stools and Parisians gathered around platters of oysters to share.
You’ll be glad you arrived hungry, standing in front of a stall enjoying something delicious, or left with a hot chicken, a serving of tartiflette (available during the winter months), fresh hummus, falafel or succulent dates. fresh from Israel.
If there isn’t a stall selling something to eat, pick up your purchases and find the nearest cafe facing the market where you can continue to soak up the market vibe!
The best tips from the Parisian market for success
- Begin each encounter with “Hello! »
- You can pay in most markets with cash and also with your debit or credit card. Having a small purse or loose change in your pocket is super handy.
- Bring your own bags or, if you plan on staying in Paris for a while, invest in a caddy. What better way to feel like a real Parisian than strolling through a market, with a few baguettes coming out of your shopping cart.
- When is the best time to go to a Parisian market? Shortly after the market opens, you will find the best selection of items. If I go to my fish shop too late, they won’t have any more cod (Cod). If you are approaching closing time, there are always bargains to be had. Sellers would rather undersell than wrap everything.
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