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Exploring the markets of Paris and the terroir of France

Marché du Mois: Marché Couvert de la Croix de Chavaux

On recent expeditions to research an article on the best addresses in Montreuil I discovered the lovely cafés, restaurants, and community resources this charming suburb of Paris has to offer. 

Marché Couvert de la Croix de Chavaux, Montreuil

Marché Couvert de la Croix de Chavaux, Montreuil

Montreuil has a rich agricultural history, having once been the site of many market gardens and orchards growing the famed Montreuil peach. 35 hectares of peach orchards still remain and have been preserved and protected by the association "Murs à Pêches" where you can visit and delve yourself in the city's agrarian past. 

While most of the market gardeners have disappeared and Montreuil is now becoming more known for it's craft beer, with fantastic local brewers Deck & Donohue and La Montreuilloise, than it's locally grown produce there are still a few treasures to be found at the central Marché Couvert de la Croix de Chavaux

Fresh herbs at Marché Couvert de la Croix de Chavaux

Fresh herbs at Marché Couvert de la Croix de Chavaux

Open on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday mornings, the market is home to a mashup of faux bling jewelry, tawdry textiles, and a few vegetable stands in between. It's easy to spot the good stuff among the industrial and I headed straight to a small table of earth-covered veggies that could only be home grown. The small selection included root veggies, herbs, and beautiful bright green zucchini

I recognized this as the stand that my friend Romain had been telling me about. Though usually run by a woman, on the day I visited it was her father behind the stand. He was smiling and helpful as he picked out two lovely zucchini to go with my fresh bunch of peppermint

Marché Couvert de la Croix de Chavaux is a great spot for fresh herbs such as mint, cilantro, and parsley and unbeatable prices. Add to that whatever extras you can pick up from the remaining market gardeners in the area and you'll have a true taste of Montreuil! 

Marché Couvert de la Croix de Chavaux

Place de la Croix de Chavaux, Montreuil

m° Croix de Chavaux (line 9)

Open: Thursday, Friday, and Sunday 8h-13h

Top 5 Markets to Pick up a Bottle for your Paris Picnic (with list of nearby picnic parks!)

bottles Picnic season is upon us and now that the sun is shining we want to get straight to the closest bit of grass or park bench that we can find. During this season, normally modest Parisians have no problem baring their skin and stripping down at the first site of sun, which makes for a whole different kind of people watching during the warmer months. Rolled up sleeves, exposed midriffs, pants secured well above calf level- it's a veritable flesh fest and anyone who has lived a calendar year in Paris knows why- in this beautiful, grey city, there is nothing as precious as a ray of sun.

It goes without saying that during these sunny days you have no time to waste between picking up your crudités and finding a decent bottle of rosé or bière blanche. Thankfully there's your friendly neighborhood market, of which a handful offer not only a selection of fruits and vegetables, but also bottles of picnic-appropriate booze.

Armed with a trusty corkscrew and these five addresses, your picnic season is guaranteed to be a success!

Heirloom vegetables at Joël Thiébault's stand at Marché Président Wilson

Marché Président Wilson: Not only is this market home to two local farmers (including superstar producteur Joël Thiébault) here you can also find a stand selling a selection of wines, some are even natural/organic! Pair your rosé with some of Thiébault's heirloom carrots and radish varieties and you'll go down in picnic history.

Le Parc: Trocadéro Gardens- you're already this close to La Tour Eiffel you might as well just soak it in. Head to the bit of greenery on opposite bank of the besieged monument, where you're close enough for an excellent view, but far enough from the mob to (hopefully) not have your cellphone or wallet stolen.

Wines at Marché Bourse

Marché Bourse: This is a handy market if you're prone to get a late start. One of the few markets that are open late, Marché Bourse is great for hot food (it's a favorite lunch spot for people who work in the neighborhood) and organic wine. Don't get your hopes up for fresh produce at this farmer-free market, but you're guaranteed to find a bottle that will suit your picnic needs and a hot lunch to go with.

Le Parc: A bit of a trek, but worth the trip, Tuileries Garden is a perfect spot for a picnic. Pull up a chair near one of the fabulous fountains or find a more intimate spot in the statue-filled gardens.

en vrac

Marché La Chapelle: Marché La Chapelle, or "Marché de l'Olive" as locals call it, is the former home of the now brick and mortar En Vrac which has moved just down the street, onto the place that extends the reach of this popular neighborhood market. Here you can fill up a reusable bottle of wine (added benefit: no need for a corkscrew!) or buy a more traditional bottle. All wines are natural and exceptional.

Le Parc: Grab a bike and take a quick ride to the Parc de la Villette, whose huge expanses of grass are host to a variety of happenings during the spring and summer months, including outdoor concerts, open-air cinema, and other cultural events.

marché st quentin

Marché St. Quentin: This covered market, which is open both mornings and into the late afternoon, has everything you need for an ethnically diverse picnic, with the Italian deli counter and Portuguese specialty stand standing out as particularly interesting self-catering options. The market is also home to Bierissime a cave à bière stocked with domestic and international craft beer.

Le Parc: Formerly a part of a convent and hospital, the Jardin Villemin is now a public space located next to canal St. Martin. The garden contains a shared community garden as well as a diverse collection of tree and plant varieties- an oasis of nature amidst the train stations and street traffic of this busy quartier.

Jardin Villemin, 75010

Marché Baudoyer: On Wednesdays Marché Baudoyer stays open until dusk, leaving you plenty of time to visit central Paris and then pick up picnic provisions before the sun sets. Home to one wine vendor, who has a selection of natural wines, the market also serves portions of paella, crêpes, and other street food that will pull together your picnic.

Le Parc:  It's not technically a park- but you can't be this close to the Seine without having a picnic on its banks! Head to the closest quai or make your way to the Ile St. Louis and join the satisfied sunbathers as they enjoy a hard-earned spring.

Marché Baudoyer

Marché du Mois: Marché Point du Jour

Marché Point du Jour Marché Point du Jour, located on the outskirts of the 16th arrondissement, sets up along avenue de Versailles three times a week. Offering the neighborhood a large selection of produce, dairy, meats, fish and specialty products this classic market typifies what I've come to expect in my explorations of the city's marchés.

I always pick one end to start at, and wander from there- making sure I leave no stand left unturned. There are certain things I've come to expect from these market visits; vendors teasing and waving at me as I take photos, ladies of a certain age cutting in front of me in line, and having my feet run over by those wretched caddies (I know it's futile, so I won't even try, but if I had the energy I would wage war on these unwieldy arm extensions that trail behind shoppers, destroying everything in their wake).

herbs

The unexpected is always a welcome surprise and, as jaded as this may sound, finding a new farmer at a market always comes as a shock. Marché Point du Jour was well worth the long trek from my cozy corner of the 18th, which I realized when I spotted the Levasseur stand, which was proudly emblazoned with a pennant declaring their maraîchage.

producteur

Farmers from the Ile-de-France, the family makes the 30 minute trip into Paris from their farm in Yvelines three times a week. In addition to this market, they also set up a stand at the market in nearby Rueil-Malmaison.

This is a tricky time for farmers- that in-between-season spell when winter légumes are fading away and our springtime favorites are not yet in full force. Therefore, the transition harvest was sparse yet not lacking in an opportunity to pick up some locally-grown basics; apples, leeks, spinach, and swiss chard.

Spring seemed to arrive more swiftly for Maison Lenoble, whose stand was already stocked with the season's first strawberries and cucumbers. I suspect greenhouses had something to do with this, but didn't quiz them on the point as I was content enough  to see a second Ile-de-France farmer at the market and, honestly, just as equally amped about the prospects of eating strawberries for the first time in a year.

First Fraises

I had encountered Maison Lenoble months ago at Marché Convention and committed to memory the fact that they were also present at Marché Point du Jour. The hope that good things come in twos was what inspired me to make the trip to Maison Lenoble's second location and I'm glad that I did, because I can report that -among the caddies and photogenic veggies and vendors- local producers abound at this market and bring with them the promise of spring.

Marché Point du Jour

Avenue de Versailles 75016

m° Porte de Saint-Cloud (line 9)

Open: Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday 7:00am-2:30pm

Deck & Donohue: Something Brewing in Montreuil

Thomas Deck and Mike Donahue (photo courtesy of Deck and Donahue) The Ile-de-France craft beer wave is cresting and will crash the shores of the Seine this May, when the city hosts its first ever Paris Beer Week featuring tastings, events, and meetings with the region's favorite artisanal brewers.

Some faces (and bottles) at the events may be familiar to you by now, with Paris-based Brasserie de la Goutte d'Or enjoying widespread appreciation throughout the capital and craft beer bars finding their place in Paris nightlife.

Trouble #6, Mission Pale Ale, Monk Brown Ale, and Indigo IPA

Thomas Deck and Mike Donohue are the newest additions to Paris' craft beer scene, with their range of beers inspired by their Alsatian and American roots, respectively. From their well-balanced and super drinkable pale ale and blonde to their smooth and aromatic brown ale (which Thomas would quickly tell you has a "velvety mouthfeel"), Deck and Donohue are bringing craft beers to the market for both beer lovers and the beer-curious. Even the IPA, a tricky brew to introduce to the Stella-accustomed Parisian, is approachable and keeps bitterness at bay just enough to be a perfect gateway beer to the wondrous world of IPAs.

labels

Open since March, the Deck and Donohue headquarters are in Montreuil, just east of Paris, where they do everything from brewing to bottling to labeling and packing the beers. The pair have already found a place among Paris brewers, which Mike says are "ready to stick together and help each other out". Banding together, small craft breweries such as Outland, My Beer Company, Deck and Donohue, and La Brasserie de la Goutte d'Or are carving out a space in the local beer scene, which threatens to be inundated by imports.

"It's a bit ironic to see the Brooklyn is the widest available craft beer in Paris right now," Thomas explained "but I think it's also very encouraging and shows a lot remains to be done to show that beer can be a tasty and flavorful product, and not a generic thirst-quencher, or a one-time souvenir from the countryside."

Deck and Donahue's Montreuil brewery

Deck and Donohue's ales and IPAs are making their way to market and can be found at what are likely already your favorite Paris bars and restaurants- including Holybelly and Les Trois 8- with many more to come.