I often get emails from friends and friends of friends who are planning travels to Paris, inquiring about my favorite restaurants and other not-to-miss-spots here in the City of Lights. Many ask me about outdoor markets, which are without a doubt paradise for food-lovers. My favorite market in Paris happens to be right around the corner from the first apartment where I lived when I moved here, in the Northern part of the Marais in the 3rd arrondissement (now called NOMA by perpetually-New York imitating Parisian hipsters). The Marché des Enfants Rouges (literally the "Red Children Market") also happens to be the oldest in Paris, dating back to 1615. It gets its strange name from the orphange which used to be right next door, where the children wore red uniforms.
I discovered the Marché des Enfants Rouges quite by accident one Sunday morning, when I was looking for the best place near my apartment to do laundry (my tiny sub-par washing machine just wasn't cutting it). Before you knew it, going to "my" marché became a Sunday ritual, where I would go to get fresh herbs...
Seasonal fruits and vegetables...
My weekly bouquet of flowers...
Some amazing cheeses...
And even interesting organic wines!
I recently went back to the Marché des Enfants Rouges after a long dry spell on the occasion of the Gastronomic Nomad's visit from New York. Like me, she loved all of the great food that can be bought from the various traiteurs (caterers) and market cafés and consumed on the premises. You can get everything there from classic French bistro fare to Italian specialties to crepes and cider from Brittany to favorites from the Antilles, the French West Indies. Even though we had other plans, we couldn't resist sharing a Lebanese style "pizza" known as mankouche, topped with zaatar seasoning.
We wrapped up our visit to the marché with my favorite...lunch from the Moroccan traiteur. Back when I used to live around the corner, I would always take visiting friends and family for the couscous and tajines at "my" marché. As you can probably imagine, there's no shortage of good Moroccan food to be had here in Paris, but there's something special about having it right in the middle of the marché, especially on a nice, sunny day. We started with a simple Moroccan salad, followed by couscous (royale for the Gastronomic Nomad, vegetarian of course for me) and ended with the classic thé à la menthe (mint tea).
I may live in another part of the city now and may have adapted the typical Parisian habit of staying in my neighborhood, but the Marché des Enfants Rouges is still my marché, and I vowed after this last visit to return more often. If you're in Paris, be sure to check it out!
Marché des Enfants Rouges
39 rue de Bretagne
Metro: Arts-et-Métiers or Temple (Line 3)
Open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 8:30am-1:00pm and 4:00-7:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays 8:30am-1:00pm and 4:00-8:00pm, Sundays 8:30am-2:00pm. Closed Mondays!