Street Markets, Paris
SPAM does not necessarily mean the same in French as in English. Though French computer-users may know the English word SPAM meaning unwanted junk e-mails, in French the letters S.P.A.M. are also used as the abbreviated name of the Société Parisienne d'Animation et de Manifestation, a society that organizes street markets (also known as brocantes) in Paris and vicinity.
One such street market was going on in the middle strip of the Boulevard Edgar Quinet, right in front of my hotel, while I was there in May 2013. In my first photo, the big building in the background is the tallest building in Paris, the Montparnasse Tower (Tour Montparnasse).
Second and third photos: At the street market, several small family upholstery businesses were represented, offering to renovate old chairs and other pieces of furniture: “Tapissiers de père en fils” = Upholsterers from father to son.
Next review from May 2013: Foire de Paris
Sunday seems to be pet buying day for Parisians.
We first found a little market selling all different types of animals, birds and fish as well as pet supplies.
There were also many shops along the Seine between Notre Dame and Pont Neuf which were pet shops selling cats, dogs, fish, birds, reptiles and furry mammals.
What to buy: EVERY TYPE OF PET AND PET PRODUCT
What to pay: AVERAGE
Located through the various Arrondissement of Paris, you will find Sunday morning markets. These markets sell everything from fruit and vegetables to wines and pastries, breads and cheeses to meats and candies. Alongside delicious items for the tummy, you will find household items and clothing.
In the 15th Arrondissement, you will find a Sunday morning market located on Boulevard de Grenelle between the Metro stations of Le Motte-Picquet Grenelle and Dupleix below the overhead metro line.
What to buy: Great cheese and wines from small vineyards. Delicious breads and pastries.
What to pay: You can get some real bargains at these various markets.
We arrived in Paris on 14th July 2011 (Thursday) morning and proceeded to our hotel. After leaving our luggages at the hotel reception (too early to check in), we noticed that there was a street bazaar in the vicinity of the hotel.
On sales were food, fruits stuff, clothing, souvenirs and many others. It seems to the mainly targeted at the locals since there were seafood, food and fruits stuff. Prices are displayed prominently in french.
As it was our first morning in Paris and being Bastille Day, we thought we would move on to visit the main attractions first and come back the next day morning. In our home country, these sort of things would carry on until Sundays.
How wrong we were
Parisians love their flowers and plants. This was taken at a shop selling various plants on the right bank near the Grand Boulevards, but you can find flowers everywhere in Paris. They make a nice hostess gift, but remember no chrysanthemums unless you are going to a funeral!
What to buy: There is a language of flowers as the link below will explain -- it took designer Christian Lacroix to make carnations acceptable!
What to pay: These plants seem to be around 4-5 euro.
the local markets held weekly or twice weekly with stalls set up with things for sale that the locals might need or want - all those usual things such as fruit and veges, wine and cheese, olives and honey, seafood, bags and baskets - and beautiful flowers!!
What to buy: Flowers!
What to pay: Prices are usually clearly displayed with handwritten signs telling you exactly how much what is!
Saturday was this locality's local market - a number of locals with their shopping trundlers and buying up the produce.
Meanwhile i had plenty of colourful photos to take, including people shots.
Though we pretty much see fruit and vege and produce stalls with stuff for sale around most countries we travel to its places like these that we also get to the actual locals of where we are and what they are buying - and in their language!
Makes interesting shopping and touristing i reckon!
Ok so all around the Effiel tower men sell the little miniture towers on big chains, for cheap. They are normally some form of cast metal. They look cheesy and tacky when you are there, but it was really the only thing i wanted from Paris. And as stupid and touristy as i felt, I have never once regreted buying it. So dont let it stop you!
What to buy: Your own Effiel tower
What to pay: they run, betweeen a Euro from some guys to 5 or 6 euro in a store.
What to buy:
You are under the Eiffel tower or in front of Notre Dame Cathedral and you want to buy a T-shirt or a keychain proving you've been there?
What to pay: Take you're time. Do not rush to the first trade-cart. The closer you are to the "hot spot" the more expensive they are. If you go walk 300m further you will find the same things for 2/3 the price.
If you are on a budget, you can cut corners by stopping in a local Parisian market or buying fresh food along the street. Every neighborhood has a street market, and you won't go hungry.
You will find cheese shops, bakeries and lots of choices of beverages. Buying your food like this and picnicing along the way can save you a lot of money and be a lot of fun, too.
There are many parks to visit at lunchtime no matter where in Paris you are. There is nothing like sitting on a park bench with your wine and cheese under a shady tree and people watching. Your feet will be tired from walking and you can reward yourself with some tasty treats from a bakery.
Pictured below are photos of your average vegetable market along a typical street.
What to buy: You can ask to sample some cheese at a local shop before buying.
Wine is much cheaper out of a store than at a restaurant.
Bakeries produce terrific breads.
Local meats can be sliced for sandwiches.
You can even get small salads and veggies as take out from the markets.
Don't forget your corkscrew, napkins, can opener, churchkey (soda opener), litter bag, and pocket knife for cutting the bread and cheese.
What to pay: So much cheaper than a restaurant.
The street vendors sell paintings (of Paris, animals etc), prints, 2nd hand books (mostly French and English), souvenirs and more. With the Cathedral of Notre Dame as a backdrop it is a beautiful way to spend a relaxing afternoon. It is an ideal place to get presents for your family and friends. Unlike Montmartre, there were no artists painting when I was there in August 2005. Apparently the painting I bought was painted by an Art student as part of their course.
What to buy: I was especially interested in purchasing an oil painting of a typical Parisian scene.
What to pay: Prices vary quite significantly. The print I bought of Paris was E$2.00, the student oil painting I bought was E$15.00, and the cat painting I bought was E$30.00
Depending on where you are from, you might enjoy the local street markets. While you might be staying in a hotel and have no plans to do any cooking, fresh fruit makes a wonderful snack.
These markets also carry an assortment of veggies, breads and meats
If you're feeling peckish and you're on the move, you could do worse than look out for a greengrocer's - this one I spotted on Rue Pavee in the Marais district was happy enough to sell me a single banana - which just hit the spot...
Cold drinks were also available, and prices looked much better than many of the tourist-oriented shops I encountered elsewhere.
-Carreau du temple, rue Perrée 3ème arr.
A traditional roofed market like one can still find in middle-east with excellent bargains.
- Marché St Pierre 18th arr.
The famous Montmartre store displaying clothing, tapestry and curtain fabric, suiting every wallet.
Fruits & vegetables, dairy products, sea-food,... have a taste of a typical parisian roots atmosphere! :) Weekdays or week-ends, every district has got his own market, here is a mini-selection:
- Marché Mouffetard
On sunday morning along the lower rue Moufetard 5th district. Dont miss this very colourful market, you can even join in the spontaneous choir singing traditional parisian tunes at the corner of rue de l'Arbalète, unless you prefer to sip your coffee at the sunny café-terrace facing it.
- Marché d'Aligre
A really cosmopolitan market and one of the cheapest in town. Open six days a week (closed Monday), place d'Aligre 12th arr.
- Marché Montorgueil
Rue Montorgueil 2nd district, in the heart of Paris (Les Halles), regional products displayed like in the good old days, open daily.