From great second-hand treasure finds in its flea markets to the fresh local produce, there are many reasons to visit the markets in Paris.
Parisian markets are places with a lot of heart. From the sprawling flea markets at Clignancourt to the Sunday bird markets at Île-de-la-Cité, these markets offer a flavor to your Parisian experience outside the well-traversed tourist spots. I have fond memories of spending my weekends just being in different markets to discover great food and interact with the vendors.
Take a walk with me across Paris’ many markets, including the better-known ones and those frequented by locals! Here are my 19 favorite markets in Paris, and my tips for visiting them.
Tips for buying in the Paris markets
1. Come in early
As the old saying says, the early bird gets the worm.
Being early in Parisian markets means that you have more chances of getting the best finds, the freshest produce, and the vendors in their happy-to-receive-you attitude. Plus there will be also less people wandering about in the morning.
I really suggest that you get to the markets as early as you can to avoid the midday/afternoon frenzy. And after shopping, you can have a good brunch to reward yourself. Café crème tastes the best after a great market experience.
2. Know some French
Whether you’re a tourist or a Parisian expat, knowing some French means that you can ask basic questions and work your charm toward the vendors for discounts.
A simple bonjour and vous allez bien can really spark a great initial interaction, especially if they really see you try your best.
Just get a vocab book and teach yourself some marketplace vocabulary to start your Parisian journey. One of the best ways to learn a new language, after all, is through visiting markets, where trading can get very loud and, erm, passionate.
3. Show your cash. Hide your wallet.
Try to have at least 30 euros in cash.
Now, more and more vendors are accepting credit cards, beginning a certain limit. But cash is always king, and it pays to have cash in order to feel that pain in every cash transaction. Buying fresh produce or vintage items can quickly rack up, and you wouldn’t realize this with a credit card.
But at the same time, please don’t just flaunt a big fat wallet full of cash and all types of cards. If you don’t like going to the market early, being in a sea of afternoon crowds means that people can stealthily snatch up your wallet, if you’re not careful.
4. Bring bags or a trolley bag
It’s French culture to get a trolley bag. Everyone uses it, from young to old, and it’s super practical. Wear a fanny pack over your shoulder to really become part of the casual Parisian aesthetic.
5. Get comfortable and dress down.
Wear your comfiest sneakers or plimsolls. Slide into your pasta-stained hoodie you might still have in your 30s. These are the ingredients for a perfect market experience.
Just kidding, wear whatever you want, as long as you’re sure that you can be comfy in it, while walking for a couple of hours. It wouldn’t be a great Parisian market experience if you’re either too cold or too hot or have a hard time walking.
6. Learn how to haggle
All right, this is when it pays to look like someone who’s just woken up! When I was in Paris as a broke student, I used to haggle by starting with the line:
Bonjour, je suis étudiant. Euh, vous me faites un rabais, s’il vous plaît ? 😉
In English, this translates to: “hey, I’m a student. Would be so nice to give me a discount.”
This works like a charm. But if you don’t look like a student any longer, still haggle. It’s part of flea market culture and vendors expect for you to do that. I always like to haggle up to 70% of the original price. But of course, you can do it with respect and fun. And who knows, you might befriend the vendor in the process.
7. Shop with someone
Try to have a Paris market buddy, who can help you find the best of deals and maybe help you haggle. It is always nice to have a flea market buddy, who you can vibe with.
8. Enjoy the chaos
Finally, learn to embrace the mayhem of the Parisians markets, from small tables littered with items that are rusting and ageing to the fresh, vibrant vegetables or those that are showing signs of visible rot. You might see some vendors selling second-hand books that still have library cards in them. And there’s the artefacts of video cassettes and CDs that push us back into a time, when laptops and smartphones weren’t the way we consumed content.
These Parisian markets tell the story of life – and of giving new life to old knick-knacks filled with old memories. And there are the people who go in these markets to shop and do their groceries.
And it’s beautiful.
19 Parisian markets to visit
1. Marché des Enfants Rouges
Tuesday-Saturday, 8.30am-7.30pm | Sunday, 8.30am-2pm
Hidden behind unremarkable doors in the upper side of Le Marais, Marché des Enfants Rouges is the oldest covered market in Paris. Established in 1628, this historic market takes its name from a 16th century orphanage that used to occupy the space.
Personally, this is one of my favorite spots in Paris for its vibrant energy and fresh produce that comes from all over the world, including Lebanon and Japan. I used to visit this market during Sundays, when I am feeling too hungover from a night-out and just want something fresh and ready to eat.
It might get crowded during peak times, so I advise that you come here with some of your patience intact. And don’t spend your cash in the first few stalls. Wander across the maze of vendors before you decide on buying.
2. Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux
Marché aux fleurs: Monday-Saturday, 8:00 am – 7:30 pm
Marché aux oiseaux: Sunday 8:00 am – 7:30 pm
I’ve already included this in a previous list, but in a list on the great and weird markets that make up Paris, I couldn’t just exclude it altogether.
Whether you have a green thumb to keep flowers alive or not, Marché aux fleurs is one of the most beautiful spots in Paris. It’s full of color and different plants and flowers from around Europe.
Then on Sundays, this market transforms into a raucous harmony of chirping of birds in their aviaries. Yes, indeed, this Sunday market turns into a place for feathered beasts.
Even if you’re not planning on buying anything, the whole place is worth looking at, and if you’re sightseeing in Île-de-la-Cité, which is filled with iconic Parisian landmarks, then you’d be killing two birds with one stone.
3. Les Puces de Clignancourt
Saturday and Sunday, 10 am – 5:30 pm | Monday, 11 am – 5 pm
As one of the largest flea markets in the world, the flea markets of Clignancourt is a collection of smaller markets selling all kinds of eccentricities, from charming knick-knacks and jewellery to vintage clothing and French antiques older than your grand-parents’ parents.
It’s an amazing market to wander through, when you’re free in your Saturdays and Sundays, and a great place to look for authentic souvenirs, in case you’re just passing by.
There is not enough time in a day to visit the whole place, but the Culture Trip has published a great guide on where to go.
4. Les Puces de Montreuil
Saturday, Sunday and Monday 7 am – 7:30 pm
The flea markets of Montreuil are where the treasure hunt begins. Away from tourists, you can find hidden gems here and there, including luxury-branded clothes and antique furniture. Go towards the little square, at the end of the alley to find some nice stuff.
5. Marché Bastille
Thursday, 7am-2.30pm | Sunday, 7am-3pm
The biggest open-air market in Paris, Marché Bastille is sprawling with vendors selling local cheese, free range chicken and high-quality fish. There’s also a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, some picked right in the season.
Some stalls sell leather goods, clothes and some antiques. I think that it’s a nice Sunday market to walk around and to buy fresh produce for the rest of the week.
6. Marché de Barbès
Wednesday, 8am-1pm | Saturday, 7am-3pm
Tucked under the elevated metro, Marché de Barbès is a very popular open-air market. It’s a multicultural hub, where you’ll find people from North Africa, France and even the US. The crowd here is massive, and if you don’t like being pushed from left to right, then this market is not for you.
But I have to say that this is one of my favorite food markets in Paris. The price is right, and olive oil is very cheap. The fish here is also excellent, and very-well priced (my friend and I bought a dorade here that we cooked in the oven and flavored up with chili, thym and freshly-squeezed lemon juice).
If you want to taste of bustling multicultural Paris, I highly suggest this market.
7. Marché Mouffetard
Tuesday – Sunday, 8am-1pm
In the Latin Quarter, Marché Mouffetard is a world-famous street market. It’s also a Parisian favorite, who affectionately refer to it as “La Mouffe”, and has been described in Ernest Hemingways’ “A Moveable Feast” as a “wonderful, narrow, crowded market street”.
Many of its grocers focus on selling fresh, fair-trade organic and locally-sourced items, including vegetables, charcuterie, cheese, sticky pastries and seafood. This narrow street is also full of restaurants and cafés that are perfect for observing people pass by and for absorbing the whole atmosphere.
The market is also open everyday except for Mondays, and the best time to visit this market is during the morning.
8. Marché Saint-Martin
Tuesday – Saturday, 9am-8pm | Sunday, 9am-2pm
Located close to the canal Saint Martin and La Place de la République, this covered market has many food vendors that sell high-quality produce. There are also a café and restaurant.
This food market has a nice ambiance that I particularly like. It’s definitely not a place for tourists, but I think that it’s part of what makes the experience here so nice. If you’re into a taste of what Paris has to offer in its full authenticity, come here with a wallet full of cash.
9. Terroirs d’Avenir
Tuesday-Saturday, 9:30am-8pm | Sunday, 9:30am-1:30pm
Founded by Alexandre Drouard and Samuel Nahon in 2008 to bring high-quality French products from small producers to Paris restaurants, les Terroirs d’Avenir has built a devoted clientele of chefs and restaurant owners.
The founders are passionate advocates of local French agriculture and diverse farming practices and have taken a stance against monoculture.
The terroirs are made up of three shops, which include an épicerie, a butcher shop, and a fishmonger. While the prices are higher than in most grocers and it’s not a proper market, the quality of their produce is outstanding.
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10. Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves
Saturday and Sunday, 7am-2pm
A flea market in the heart of Paris, the flea market at Vanves might be smaller than the one at St-Ouen, but it’s still a treasure cove full nice finds waiting to be discovered. There’s fine china, vintage mirrors, Hermès scarves, flapper dresses and so much more. It’s a nice place if you’re into antiques.
It pays to know how to haggle (to around 70% of the asking price) and to come here early to score the best bargains. Cash is king.
11. Marché Monge
Wednesday and Friday, 7am-2:30pm | Sunday, 7am-3pm
In the Latin Quarter on the square of the same name, le Marché Monge is a family-friendly food market that has a village-like atmosphere. Neighbors talk with each other at the public square, while their kids play nearby, and activists hand out pamphlets.
There are 40 stalls selling meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, cheese, wine and other fresh produce. A lot is locally produced, not only from farms but from Parisian gardens. There’s also a stall that sells several varieties of potatoes at reasonable prices.
12. Marché de Belleville
Tuesday and Friday, 7am-2:30pm
An open-air food market, Belleville is one of the cheaper food markets in the 11th Arrondissement. It’s also one of the more multicultural markets out there, reflecting the diversity of its neighborhood, with vendors from Morocco, Tunisia and the Middle-East.
Of course, the earlier you come the better. At 2:30pm, the vendors very efficiently pack their stalls, and by 2:40pm you can expect the place to be as good as empty.
13. Passage Brady
Monday-Saturday, 9:30am-11:30pm | Sunday, 6pm-11:30pm
Like les Terroirs d’Avenir, Passage Brady is not a market, but a series of shops in a passage couvert of iron and glass made in the 19th century.
Also locally known as Little India, traversing across this passage is like a travel through outside France and into India, from its various restaurants, shops and food stores. There’s the l’épicerie Velan, which was apparently one of the first shops to settle here and offers spices and other products from India.
This place is one of my personal favorites. It’s a sensory overload, from the colors to the smell of the spices.
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14. Marché Raspail
One of the most vibrant open-air markets in Paris, marché Raspail has everything, from fresh produce to meat and ready-to-eat food. The place is always bustling, even during cloudy days. There are some tourists here and there, but rest assured that this is a place mostly frequented by Paris locals.
15. Marché Biologique des Batignolles
Marché biologiques is a Saturday farmer’s market that sells organic fruits and vegetables in the season. I had a very nice experience with the tomatoes here. Once you’ve tasted them, you’ll never go back to the tomatoes sold in supermarkets. Organic tomatoes have a sweet and succulent taste to them that I will never get enough off.
16. Marché Saxe-Breteuil
Thursday, 7am-2:30pm | Saturday, 7am-3pm
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It’s an open-air market with the Eiffel Tower in the background. What more do you want?
Le marché Saxe-Breteuil in the 3th Arrondissement has meat, fish, fruits and vegetables sold by local vendors and garden cultivators. There are rows of picture-perfect stalls, with beautifully arranged produce.
It’s definitely an explosion of the senses with a very nice backdrop. If you want the best choices, come early!
17. Marché Couvert Saint-Quentin
Tuesday-Saturday, 8am-8pm | Sunday, 8am-1:30pm
A beautiful 19th century indoor market in the 10th Arrondissement, there’s a lot of nice produce, most notably Moroccan food that everyone should try out. You can find some nice types of cheese and premium artisanal saucisses. There’s also a nice flea market that can house interesting finds. The whole market feels quintessentially Parisian that belongs to the locals.
It is definitely not a tourist trap, and that’s the quiet beauty of it.
18. Le Marché Couvert la Chapelle
Tuesday-Saturday, 8am-7:30pm | Sunday, 8am-1:30pm
Open since 1847, this covered food market in the 18th Arrondissement is comprised of 20 vendors that sell produce of all types. There’s also a tearoom if you want to just hang out while watching the crowd.
Like in every other local markets, the vendors here are very friendly, and they will appreciate you asking questions about what they have to offer.
19. Le Marché de Saint-Pierre
Monday-Friday, 8am-7:30pm | Saturday, 8am-7pm
In the northern tip of Paris in the 18th Arrondissement, le marché Saint-Pierre is a bit different from the rest of the markets presented here. It is one of the largest collections of fabric vendors in Paris, for all kinds.
There’s definitely something for the designers and seamstresses, who want to challenge themselves with different kinds of fabric. It’s a market for those with sartorial delight and DIY clothing enthusiasts.
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Want something more general after this overload of Parisian markets? John and Susan wrote a marvellous blog post on how to spend 4 days in Paris. A must-read! Otherwise, I’ve also posted on 40 things to do in Paris for tourists and non-tourists!