My typical Sunday: Eat a small breakfast. Make out my grocery list for the week. Cut coupons. Jump in my car to go to the nearest supermarket. Stroll down isle after isle sifting through various brand products for the best price, calorie count or expiration date. Stand in a long line at the checkout counter. Unload the groceries onto the checkout counter, only to reload them back into the basket after they've been rung up and bagged. Load the bags into the trunk of my car. Drive home. Unload groceries from the car. Store groceries in my pantry or refrigerator. Ugh -- the boring and exhausting chore done for another week!
My typical Sunday if I lived in Paris: Sit at an outdoor table in a nearby cafe while enjoying a relaxing croissant and cafe au lait. Then stroll down the street to see what's on tap at the local street market. Chat with familiar vendors while salivating over their fresh produce, cheese and meats. Let my senses stimulate the menu for the week -- sampling and tasting my way through the market. Oh, maybe purchase a new scarf, a fabulous bottle of French wine or a good book to read, too. Before leaving, I stop by the made-from-scratch prepared vendor booths to pick up roasted chicken and au gratin potatoes for lunch. With shopping complete, I walk down the beautiful Parisean street to return home.
Which sounds better? I heard a big "well, DUH," didn't I?
The Marche Bastille market located on Boulevard Richard Lenoir was my first food market experience. Sure, I expected to see fresh colorful fruits and vegetables. Afterall, most of the products come from local farms. What I suprised to see were the cases loaded with every kind of foul known to man like quail, guinea-fowl and Bresse chickens; cheeses galore including an array of goat cheeses and a wide variety of hard cheeses; fresh baked breads ranging from almond croissants to baguettes and savory pastries to tarts; desserts like chocolates and pies; spices and condiments; flowers in every color and size; wines from major producers as well as regional selections (at ridiculously low prices); seafood (some unrecognizeable!); meats and sausages; and fresh yogurts, creams and butters. Then, as if I already died and gone to heaven, I came across the prepared foods like paella, roasted chicken, cured meats, smoked ham, lasagna, pasta dishes, couscous dishes and more. On the outskirts of the food stalls, I found kitchen supplies, clothes, books, jewelry and other accessories for sale.
I suddenly understood all the buzz about Paris' outdoor markets!
While other shops and places are slow to open on Sundays -- or even closed -- the Marche Bastille market is a fabulous place to spend a few hours or enjoy a low-cost meal. And while there are no warning signs posted at the entrance of this market, I give you this one: Be preprared to have a thrilling shopping experience and leave sorely depressed that you do not have one like it at home!
Planning a trip to Paris? Click here to find out how I can help make your experience a unique postcard in your travel scrapbook!