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Flanked by iconic French landmarks like the majestic Notre Dame and the Conciergerie, Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux has been in operation since 1808, making it the oldest and lone surviving floral market in Paris. Located in the heart of Ile de la Cité, the avenue sees an array of shops featuring exotic flowers, plants and shrubs. From primroses and orchids to violets and myrtles, the seasonal blooms paint a beautiful and tranquil picture in the tourist-dominated area. Open throughout the week, Sundays see bird traders set up shop with rare species of parrots, macaws, doves and budgies, as well as cages, seeds and accessories.
For a glimpse of old Paris take a stroll down Rue Montorgueil, Paris' oldest market street. As in the 19th Century, this gently curved, charming street is lined with high-quality fruit and vegetable markets, butchers, fishmongers, patisseries, and cheese shops. The throw-back feel of the street isn't just because of the lovely old buildings lining it; it's also the merchants crying out, inviting you to check out their wares. Local favorites like Pâtisserie Stohrer, and Au Rocher de Cancale, make this Paris strip an attractive destination. The market is open from 10a to 6p from Tuesday to Saturday and in the morning on Sunday.
Feeling inspired to recreate a perfect meal at your favorite Parisian restaurant? The Richard Lenoire market, held every Thursday and Sunday at the Bastille, has just what you need. Boasting over 150 vendors, this lively market has an incredible selection of produce, meats, cheeses and fresh ingredients for all your culinary and gustatory endeavors. If you are more inclined to simply sample while you take in the hustle and bustle of this marché, ready-made food is also available; be sure to check out the to-go Boeuf Bourgignon (beef stew). Gifts, housewares, cooking tools and about anything else you might need are also available for great bargains. And if you'd like to top off your true Parisian market experience, don't forget to haggle!
Bastille boasts one of the largest markets in the city. It takes skill to weave through its stalls. Thanks to the Parisians, who take their time picking out the best possible product, and the tourists, who take their time inhaling the market's sites and sounds, it's not easy to get from one side to the other. Aside from all the expected fares such as vegetables, fruits, cheese, and both raw and cooked meat and fish, the Bastille market also sells plenty of unexpected items: sewing machines, beeswax figurines, mousetraps, to name a few. The best time to get a deal is just as the market is closing. Vendors will sell plastic bags burgeoning with fruits and veggies at a very cheap price.
Going to La Grande Epicérie on an empty stomach would be terribly unwise. Resisting the sights and smells of this sprawling world market is nearly impossible; you will leave with plastic bags on the verge of bursting with goodies. Though La Grande Epicérie sells various sorts of interesting international foods, the French products are front and center. The cheese counter can be smelled before it can be seen, the wine department is the size of a small supermarket, and the bakery produces somewhere near 800 kilograms (1764 pounds) of bread per day. La Grande Epicérie is the perfect place to find a souvenir, like a jar of homemade jelly or a box of Paris-themed chocolates for a foodie back home. But always buy in pairs, so you can enjoy one for yourself.
The Place d'Aligre is the spot for several of Paris' more famous markets, including the Marché d'Aligre and Marché Beauvau. Fruits and vegetables can be bought at the Marché d'Aligre at attractive rates. One can find the daily customers haggling with the stall-vendors over prices. Visit the area for your daily dose of vegetables or just some plain and simple people-watching.
A trip to Marché Poncelet is a staple on Parisian itineraries aiming to capture the local essence of the City of Light. Open throughout the week except on Mondays, the famous outdoor market is located within stumbling distance of the Arc de Triomphe. It is lined with stalls selling local specialties, fresh produce, fruits, vegetables, seafood, artisan cheese and bread. Begin your day with breakfast at the street boulangerie where the aroma of freshly-baked baguettes, pastries and confectionery engulfs your senses. Sample freshly-shucked oysters, relish gourmet chocolates, witness chicken roasting in the open, rummage through artifacts, buy unique souvenirs and mingle with the locals at one of the best food markets in Paris.
The world's biggest flea market welcomes 200,000 visitors each weekend. You name it and this place will have it: furniture, pictures, new and second-hand clothes, all at rock-bottom prices (especially if you're a dab hand at haggling). There's a jovial fairground atmosphere with the aroma of food wafting around and people crowding round the stalls, hoping to pick up a 1970s leather jacket or a rare Louis XV chest of drawers. Make sure you have cash on you, as stallholders seldom accept credit cards and the nearest available cash machine is always lined out.