Markets are the spot to smell, see, and taste Paris. They represent authentic French culture, free from tourists and Disneyland pretence. As Rick Steves, the infamous travel guru and many a Northwestern student’s icon, says—markets in Paris provide “an intimate chance to be a temporary Parisian.”
I must agree–when it comes to markets, none compares to those of Paris. There’s nothing like the savory smells of rotisserie chicken and pungent cheeses or the sweet smells of apples and freshly baked bread. You walk through crowded aisles filled with old women pulling market carts, children begging their parents for sweets, vendors chatting up customers. Your head plays ping-pong between each side, mesmerized by the abundance of appetizing food choices.
Some vendors hold out slices of their freshest mangos for you to taste; others show figs cut in half on display for you to verify their interior quality. In France, there’s a law that vendors must write the origin of produce on all signs. You see clementines from Spain, pineapples from Morocco, tomatoes from Italy–but of course, the majority of produce comes from the homeland herself!
Photos from the market catch a snapshot of the action, but the effervescent excitement of Parisian markets can only be captured in person…