This Paris open air market is a wonderful sightseeing idea when you’re in Paris. It takes place every Wednesday and Saturday morning, from about 7am to 2:30 pm. One of our favorite merchants there sells us delicious country breads and claims that it is the biggest open market in Paris. The selection of food is tremendous and we've never managed to get to the end. Rent Paris apartments nearby, get up early and enjoy shopping here for lunch or dinner. It’s said to be the largest market in Paris. Read more below for other Paris sightseeing ideas, such as the Sewer Tours of Paris and more. For more sightseeing ideas and Paris tips, check out this delightful and amusing Paris blog . The author takes beautiful photos of Paris and has good ideas for Paris activities.
This market is technically in the 16th arrondissement, but so close to the 7th that everyone from the neighborhood shops there.
How to Get There:
If you are coming from the left bank, walk across the Alma bridge and turn slightly left up Ave. du President Wilson - you can't miss the white trucks which have brought wines, cheeses, oils, spices, breads, meats and flowers from the country. Remember that, as with most open markets, plastic sheets are pulled across the stands to protect you in case it rains. The market slowly climbs this beautiful avenue, to end behind the Trocadero, where you can sit and enjoy the view back towards the Eiffel Tower.
Things to see near the Alma Bridge:
If you are visiting Paris for the first time, you will want to come here as this is where the famous Bateau Mouche Boat Tours start. If you've never done so, take a Bateau Mouche boat ride -- it's not expensive and is next to the Pont de l'Alma. It's one of the best ways to see how beautiful Paris is. Evening tours as well: my husband Philippe says the supper tour is too expensive for the quality of the food, but they offer frequent non-food tours at night as well. The competing boat company is next to the Eiffel Tower and another option. I would try their tours to see if you escape the one annoying part of the Bateau Mouche, the blaring tape recorder which comes on in 4 languages at every monument.
Just before you cross the Alma bridge towards the market and the Bateaux Mouches, you'll see the entrance for the tour of the Sewers of Paris. It's actually fascinating and clean and you will appreciate the masterpiece of French engineering and planning that the sewars represent. I highly recommend a visit. The tunnels remind you of Phantom of the Opera. Paris is very proud of how it gets rid of its ordure and I'm sure it's very symbolic...
Just after you cross the Alma bridge, on the left, is the tunnel where Princess Diana was killed. The gold flame that you see there is not a monument to her; it was put up by the Herald Tribune to mark their anniversary in Paris a number of years before. However, it seems to have become her memorial. Don't be crazy enough to walk down into the tunnel like some tourists we've seen; cars don't slow down!
There are several bus tours you can catch in front of the Eiffel tower as well as at the large round-about with fountain which cuts across the Champ de Mars (near the apartment). Friends say the double decker red one is pretty good, especially because you can hop on/hop off.
It's hard to adequately the variety and quality of the food here. The selection ranges from produce to meats, fish, flowers, pasta, breads, sweets and even house wares. Customers have been coming here for years and frequent their favorite vendors. You frequently hear: 'Bonjour Madame! Plaisir de vous voir cette semaine !...Today we have delicious? I recommend you try one.'
Some say that this market is more staid than others because the 16th and 7th arrondissements are well-off neighborhoods. The expression is that the 16th is where the nouveau riche live and the 7th is where the old money lives. But on a busy Saturday, the market is as lively as any I've been to in Paris, full of shouts, conversation and laughter. Parisian shoppers, particularly the woman, are as discriminating about their food as anywhere in Paris, which keeps the quality high and prices reasonable. The choice is fantastic.
What we regularly buy there:
- Fruits, especially what is in season, as the farmers have just picked them
- Vegetables: Prices are good and the vegetables are fresh and delicious.
- Flowers: Prices are the best in the quartier with wide selections
- Fish: The fish merchants drive down early from Brittany and Normandy with their fresh catches. You can buy everything from fresh lobster from Brittany, to many kinds of oysters to freshly caught sole and others. They enjoy helping, so if you're not sure what kind of oyster (they'll ask if you want them large or small, salty or less so, etc)
- Olives and salads: Each of the markets in this area has different vendors who sell wide selections of olives, tapenades and side dishes. Each has his or her own special recipe. We enjoy exploring and trying them all.
- Cheese: You ask yourself how you can possibly eat so much cheese, as there are excellent cheese shops throughout the neighborhood and especially at these markets. But it's a staple of French life and if you adapt French eating habits, you won't gain weight. They do not snack between meals; they eat fresh food and they don't stuff themselves when they eat. Walking the streets of the neighborhood and of these markets is great exercise!
- Italian pasta: Even Italian vendors come here to sell their homemade pasta, sausages and oils. They love it if you can speak a few words of Italian.
- Simple wines: Nothing fancy, but you can find inexpensive table wines here.
- Bread: Good bread, especially whole wheat and grain breads.
- Snails and stuffed mussels: They are delicious and excellent as a first course.