Notre Dame, Louvre, Sacré Cœur, Champs Elysées. . . . . Yes, all that is Paris, but if you do not spend at least two hours in a marché (market) you missed something which is the real life of Paris and as important as any museum or monument. . . . . .
It is about food markets, the every day’s life markets, where you may catch a bit from local people (I defy you finding real Parisians on Champs Elysées or in front of Notre Dame between 10 am and 8 pm, except shop and restaurant employees). In markets, you hear people speaking French, the Parisian accent, which changes from the upscale 8th or 16th districts to the 19th and 20th popular districts, you see people discussing, bargaining, you can have an idea of what Parisian like to eat, what they buy, and markets are just so lively places. . . . and Paris is very cosmopolite, people from all over the planet live and work here, and in some places, you are in India, North Africa, Central Africa, China, and Central Asia is also beginning to have some districts. . . . that is life, beautiful life of Paris, where all people meet and live together (not always in peace, but not far from. . . ). In one or two generations they will be Parisian and French. . . !
The markets are on the streets, on certain days (in some places, every day), in dedicated market halls, and generally are active from 8 am to 2 pm.
You can of course find every sort of food and products, but be wise a bit, do not look for pork sausages in Muslim corners of markets, or try to find fresh durian in the 16th district. As tourist you may mostly look at all these things and may be here or there, find a Tunisian snack, dry fruits from central Asia, African medicine. . . .
The marché Maubert (first picture), in the St Germain des Prés area (5th district) is one of the oldest Parisian markets, and is now a bit an “upscale market” with luxury products and prices according not to income of people living in the area, but more to the idea people living there make of themselves. . . . . : politicians, journalists, actors, and all sorts of “Parisian night life intellectuals”; so, organic food, and generally excellent products, but hell expensive. (Metro Maubert Mutualité)
On the second picture is Marche de la Chapelle, 18th district, rue de l’Olive, Metro Marx Dormoy; mostly food, with some North African food; familial (and familiar) atmosphere.
The market on Boulevard de Belleville (picture 3) (Metro Belleville) is a very popular one in contrast to the previous one, and if compared to supermarkets, the prices are high, they are very cheap compared to Maubert; and what you find there is almost the same, the atmosphere very nice and popular. The marché Bastille (picture 4), like the previous one is located in the central areas of a broad boulevard; marche bastille, located on Boulevard Richard Lenoir, (Metro Breguet Sabin or Bastille) is about the same style as the marché Belleville. The marche Ordener (picture 5) is a very exotic one, with lost of African food and items to be found; lost of smells reminding some visited places on the planet, or giving the mood to visit these places. . . . (Rue Ordener, rue Myra, Metro Guy Mocquet)
Well, 5 pictures, just 5 different markets. There are more than 80 markets in Paris, and markets are real part of life and to me, at least they are part of a destination when I visit.
The weblink here after is from the official website from the Paris municipality giving the list of Parisian markets, they location, working hours, specialisation, if there is. . . . just learn a little bit French! Travellers are not afraid of (basic) foreign languages. . . . .