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

Profil d'un Producteur: Nicolas Thirard's Snowy Struggles & La Ruche Qui Dit Oui

In addition to the numerous open-air and covered markets in Paris, some of which date back to over 400 years, a new wave of markets are sprouting up around the city. These markets embrace supporting local farmers and putting consumers in direct contact with the people who grow their food. Shoppers at La Ruche Qui Dit Oui in the 10th arrondissement

One of these unique approaches to markets is La Ruche Qui Dit Oui which counts on farmers to bring their products to the point of sale themselves. Designated sites known as Ruches, or beehives, are scattered across the city (and country). Farmers and consumers come together at these rendez-vous points to pick up locally and naturally grown products that they have ordered online up to 3 days prior.

A compelling mixture of both market and farm shareLa Ruche Qui Dit Oui allows shoppers to pre-pay and pre-select their purchases, while maintaining direct contact with the producer.

Buying kale at La Ruche Qui Dit Oui- photo courtesy of Kristen Beddard

Even though I live in the 18th, I often visit La Ruche in the 10th arrondissement in part because I love the Comptoir Général, where the vendors meet on Saturday afternoons, but mainly because of Picardie farmer Nicolas Thirard who was a steady source of kale a few months back.

I first visited Nicolas with Kristen from The Kale Project and kept going back to for more overthe following weeks, adding his beautiful betterave chioggapanais, pimpernel and pommes to my shopping bag as the kale supply dwindled away.

I looked forward to the new discoveries that Nicolas varied harvest brought and that is why I was so sad to hear that tragedy had befallen his farm. Located an hour and a half North of Paris, the Omignon Valley is home to Nicolas' organic farm and the region was hit particularly hard by the recent strong winds and snow storms that occurred recently in Northern France.

Sign at Nicolas Thirard's stand, "No roquette or lettuce due to frost"

Heavy snowfall ravaged one of Nicolas' three greenhouses and exposed his lettuce, pimpernel and roquette crop to freezing temperatures, destroying the fragile plants. You can see heartbreaking photos of the "coup de blizzard" here.

Luckily, the Thirard farm has  some root cellar vegetables stowed away in a cold room and can also count on their conserved products such as soups, purées, and ratatouille for income, but this is nonetheless a staggering financial blow to a small farm.

Soup and Ratatouille at Nicolas Thirard's stand

In response to this unfortunate incident, I encourage you to come out and support Nicolas Thirard, who will be present and next week's Ruche rendez-vous (Saturday, March 23) in the 10th arrondissement. You can support this local farmer by enrolling in La Ruche Qui Dit Oui and pre-ordering vegetables for a Saturday pick-up.

If you are already enrolled in a Ruche, check to see if Nicolas' products are sold there. Apparently he is present in a few different Ruches in France, but the website does not allow for a sweeping search of all the different Ruches and vendors. If Nicolas will be at a Ruche near you, please let me know and I will add that information to a shared list.

 

 

Marché du Mois: Marché Couvert St. Martin

Marché Couvert St. Martin gets festive during the holiday season Located close to the Marie du 10ème Arrondissement is the Marché Couvert St. Martin, one of Paris' warm and welcoming covered markets. The "covered" aspect of the market is particularly appreciated as the temperatures have turned cold and shoppers are happy to have a roof over their heads at any opportunity.

Like many other covered markets, such as  Le Marché des Enfants Rouges, Marché St. Quentin, and Marché Couvert Beauvau, Marché St. Martin offers little in fresh produce. However, what the market lacks in fruits and veggies it makes up for in hot lunch options.

Au Comptoir de Brice, one of Marché St. MArtin's restaurant options

St. Martin is home to eateries including Thai Street Food, which offers affordable Thai lunch menus, and Au Comptoir de Brice, a restaurant/caterer/cooking school mixture founded by chef Brice Morvent.

A former contestant on the television show "Top Chef", Morvent opened the Comptoir just under a year ago. The menu changes on a daily basis, with homemade, traditional Mediterranean-inspired French food predominantly represented. Brunch is also served on Sundays from 11h-14h.

Elaborately stuffed and garnished game fowl is GMO free at the Market's butcher shop

A variety of specialty stands line the halls of Marché St. Martin. In winter, poissonniers offer specials on oysters and other shellfish which are a staple for many of the season's holiday meals. The butcher assures that their products contain no GMOs and exhibit their craft proudly in display cases that showcases stuffed pheasants, hens, ducks, and guinea fowls.

Artisinal syrups, jams, fruit juices, and honey are available at the fromagerie

The fromagerie has a nice selection of French and international cheeses as well as shelves of preserved and pre-packaged goods that would be nice to have on hand or to hand off as presents, such as sachets of bon bons, artisinal fruit syrups, honey, and fruit juices.

Bon Bons at Marché Couvert St. Martin

An organic food stand is found at the center of the market and while it doesn't stock fresh vegetables, it does have a selection of herbs and spices, sauces, and dried goods. At the back of the market is a German stand which is particularly festive during the days leading up to Christmas. Chocolate Santas, Christmas decorations, and winter brews  transport a German-style Christmas market to Paris for our enjoyment.

Sapins de Noël at Marché St. Martin

Marché Couvert St. Martin

31-33 rue du Chatêau d'Eau, 75010

m° Chatêau d'Eau (line 4)

Hours:

Tuesday-Saturday: 9h-20h

Sunday: 9h-14h