Boulevard Richard Lenoir, at Place De La Bastille
There is no shortage of outdoor food markets in Paris, that’s for sure, but some are way better than others, and Marché Bastille happens to be my favorite. Why? Because there’s so much variety. The biggest problem is how much there is just how bustling and big it is. My advice is to do a dry run without stopping to shop to get the lay of the land, which involves a hefty slew of produce stands, several local cheese and fish shops, bread stalls, spices, nuts, olives, you name it.
I say go hungry, and preferably on a Sunday morning, when you can make a pit stop at the oyster stall from Jean Patrick-Mechin for a glass of Rose, and a “Degustation” (tasting) of of phenomenal French oysters, including the Gillardeau variety. As they say, it’s better to shop on a full stomach. Then, you can load up on some terrific vegetables; gorgeous artichokes, handsome asparagus, even some wild asparagus, the always sought after, super sweet and tiny fraises des bois, and some excellent cheeses, especially of the Comte and fresh goat sorts.
And if you can find yourself a kitchen to take over for a night or two, even better. Then, you can really cook like a French person. Grab some fresh Rouget, Sole, Turbot, Wild Shrimp, Snails, Langoustine, Mackerel, oh my! Wake up the next morning and you can make your very own, slow-cooked French omelet with Duck, Goose or plain-old Chicken Eggs, straight from the countryside. (They’re divine with big, fluorescent orange yolks!) Of course, you should buy a Baguette and some other great French pain to eat with your omelette, and there’s plenty of good (though not amazing) bakers here to choose from. And if you’re tired of French bread, there’s a surprisingly large selection of Middle Eastern breads to swap in instead, like Za’atar bread, pita and the like.