Although this market is a close walk from my flat, for some reason the Marché des Enfants Rouges has sat on my to-do list for months. However, last Saturday I found myself in the area around lunch time and decided to take advantage. The market is located in my favorite neighborhood, Le Marais. If you aren’t careful, you can walk straight past entrance through the iron gate. Once I entered, I felt like I was transported to a secret world. The smells of fresh flowers, ripe fruit, and carefully crafted food filled my nose immediately. I was overwhelmed in deciding which little path I wanted to take in this compact but flourishing market. Although my stomach was grumbling, I decided I would scope out the market first before making any decision. I dodged little children running around as their parents conversed over plates of couscous, typical French fare, or simply a glass of wine. The variety of options impressed me and did not make my decision for lunch an easy one.
I decided to go with the crêpe stand as a long line is usually an indication of delicious food. As I waited, I watched the quirky older man create sandwiches and crêpes like an art. He teased the customers, yelled at on-lookers for snapping pictures, and floated through his stall as he danced to his French music. There is an option to have a sandwich with your choice of ingredients or choose from one of the options of gallettes etched on the chalkboard surrounding the stalls. Do not ask to modify their as he will assure you it is impossible because it is already parfait the way it is… which he is right. He only uses organic food and the piles of fresh bread tease you as you wait patiently in line. For 6,50€, I got a crêpe the size of my head stuffed with jambon cru, freshly shaven parmesan, tomatoes, lettuce, mushrooms, olive oil, and salt. Definitely worth the wait, I happily munched on it as I finished walking through the market.
Built in 1615, the Marché des Enfants Rouges is the oldest food market in Paris and to me, one of the most exciting. I like how small and maze-like it was. There was a sense of family and tradition as locals enjoyed their meals and shared conversation. I cannot wait to go back and explore the other food stands.
I have to say this is a must when visiting or living in Paris. However, word of the wise—study some basic French or be really good at charades because the people at the stands are not overly willing to help out struggling English-speakers.
Address: 39 Rue de Bretagne 75003 Paris
Metro: Filles- Calvaire (line 8)
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 8:30 to 13h and from 16h to 19h30
Friday, Saturday: 8:30 to 13h and from 16h to 20h
Sunday: 8:30 to 14h
What is your favorite food market in Paris?