Paris: Marché d' Paris

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.
One of the great joys of my adult life is being able to go to the grocery store. I've always been fascinated with pushing a cart, putting things in it and letting someone else pack my purchases so I can take them home. My grandmother would take me to the grocery store EVERY DAY after school to get foodstuffs for dinner. I'd dance in the aisles, in hopes that a casting director would discover me and I'd be asked to appear on the Disney Channel (I was an only child, I had to be creative with entertaining myself).

One of the great joys of visiting Paris was being able to go to a sampling of the dozens of markets in the city. Marché means 'market' in French.

Right before our first cooking class, we went to Marché Charonne to look around and pick out items for lunch.

Carrots that look like fingers

Romanesco: an example of a fractal in nature, that tastes like cauliflower/broccoli

Howard the Duck

Giant Belgian endive

Little baby radishes

The BIGGEST SHRIMP EVER: 8 inches long!

Fresh from the vineyard: Chasselas grapes
It's snack time! We didn't eat petit dejeuner before we left the hotel, so looking at and smelling all of the fresh food stalls was killing me.

Le Cordon Bleu!

Hot, delicious Mediterranean fare.


Baskets and baskets of calamari
A sheep's face. A whole sheep's face. I stood in front of the case for a good 3 minutes, just staring. I almost forgot I had a camera in my hand to document this experience. I was mesmerized by its lack of eyes and visible nostrils. I didn't even ask why or how one would use it in a culinary fashion. All I could do is stare. I'm having trouble looking away even now...
I can see her face...
Rascasse means 'scorpionfish' in French. It is THE quintessential fish needed for classic, authentic bouillabaisse. Don't worry, I'll show you how to make bouillabaisse next week. It's good. Classy fish stew.
Mmm... French food... French beret
So, Parisians and French people in general do not wear berets. They were them just as much as we wear stetsons and cowboy boots. Yes, I know--both are a trend and there are people who wear both everyday but they are exceptions, not the rule. Most berets for sale in Paris have garish rhinestones or touristy sayings on them that people buy for souvenirs. Anyone who knows me knows I've worn berets for years. Color me trendy...

Fast-forward a few days and I found myself between two worlds: Marché d’Aligre and Marché Beauveau in the 12th Arondissement. Aligre is full of stands, stalls and tables full of piles of plastic key chains, cigarette lighters, postcards, religious tokens, old magazines, old clothes. Dirt cheap prices. If you want to pick up large quantities of souvenirs to say, "I got this in Paris for you" for cheap, I suggest going here. After sanitizing my hands... on to Beauveau!

 One of the oldest covered markets in the city, it's wonderful! It's full of little stalls with hot food, fresh food, and grandmothers milling around with handbaskets. It's really wonderful. The concrete floors seem a little cold, but in the center is this (non-working) fountain that brought a softness to the otherwise harsh light of the market.

BIG FAT RINGS of fried calamari, in the Roman style (which means battered).

I had a little bit of each. So fresh, delicious. They had a Facebook page. Totally legit.

Eat oysters, love longer.
Lard is not exclusive to the American South.

Pig's feet! And pork tenderloin!

Something familiar for you: clementines.

Famous Bresse chicken! They have blue feet and red heads.
Thank you for letting me share parts of my Parisian adventure with you. I can't wait to share other adventures and recipes with you soon. Where is the most interesting or exciting place you've traveled? I loved Paris, but I think there are more interesting places for me to go to yet.

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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  1. Just lovely. When I was in Paris I always ate out. I never went to markets. Granted, I wasn't staying anywhere that I could do my own cooking, but I should have at least done a little browsing. Thanks for sharing!


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