Marché du Mois: Marché Couvert St. Germain

Chances are, unless you've taken a guided tour of the 6th arrondissement, you probably haven't wandered into Marché couvert St. Germain. A regular stop off point to show tourists what French cheese and charcuterie looks like, this small market is emblematic of most covered marchés in Paris, which is to say farmerless markets with a focus on specialty products.

With the exception of Marché des Enfants Rouges, which occasionally has a local producer selling seasonal produce, the covered markets of Paris are largely outlets for refined products, from cheeses to meats to regional specialties of all kinds.

Certain markets excel at offering a wide variety of quality products- such as the Italian and artisanal counters at Marché couvert Beauvau or the fabulous fish and cheese vendors at Marché couvert de Passy. Others are a bit less exciting, Marché couvert St Martin comes to mind...

The advantage of Paris's covered markets is that they figure amongst some of the few of the city's food markets that fit your work schedule. Which is why, even though I prefer the outdoor markets of Paris with their potential for farmers and fresh produce, I also visit the covered markets from time to time to see if they hold any surprises. 

Marché couvert St Germain straddles the line between interesting and industrial. The organic shop is very proud of itself, but mostly sells pre-packaged gluten-free crackers and a few rather sad looking vegetables. Another disappointment is the  choice of hot lunch options, including a Thai takeaway counter and several small restaurants that line the perimeter of the market, which do little to inspire one's appetite. In this regard, Marché St Germain would do well to follow the example of Marché des Enfants Rouges

The most interesting aspect of the market is, as it happens, exactly what flocks of guided tourists gather around when entering the market: the cheese counters with a wide variety of fromage from around the country and other Franco-centric specialty shops.  

Les Jardins du J'GO sell a large variety of preserved items, including homemade jams, soups, sauces, and dried goods. The "meat market" may have been pandering to these very tourists, but their selection of French origin meat looked legit and was presented with care and professionalism. 

If you happen to be guiding a tour through the 6th arrondissement, or in need of some last minute cheese for a picnic, pop into Marché couvert St Germain. Otherwise I suggest you wait for the neighborhood to celebrate the weekly apparition of Marché bio de Raspail to do your market shopping. 

Marché couvert St Germain

4/6 rue Lobineau, 75006

m° Mabillon (line 10)

Open: Tues-Sat 8-20h, Sun 8-13h30

Marché du Mois: Marché Bercy

If you mention the Bercy neighborhood to a Parisian, it will likely evoke memories of giant concerts at the arena or date nights spent at the movie theatre in the cour St. Emilion shopping center. 

While this corner of the 12th arrondissement may only be visited by most on the occasion of a Beyoncé concert or a blockbuster film release, there is more to Bercy than the cinema and superdome. 

On Wednesdays and Sundays, place Lachambeaudie welcomes a small market that wraps around a quiet street. The market is made up of the usual vendors- fishmongers, fromageries, a stall with Lebanese specialties and, of course, fresh fruits and vegetables

Local commerce also gets into the spirit of the market, with the nearby butcher offering a Sunday afternoon hamburger special and the neighboring florist seemed to take special care arranging an assortment of spring blossoms outside their shop. 

There are no local farmers at Marché Bercy, but there is an orchard owner from the Seine-et-Marne region of Ile-de-France who brings a variety of apples to the market in beautiful wooden crates. 

Marché Bercy also has a stand dedicated not only to organic produce, but also bio grains and other dried goods. Their selection of fruits and vegetables was a mixture of seasonal and out-of-season varieties imported from abroad. Still, it was one of the most popular stands at the market, proof that consumers are paying more attention to the quality of their food. 

After picking up a few pommes or even a hamburger to go, head to Parc de Bercy which is the perfect place for a Sunday picnic. The park is located on a site that used to be the city's wine warehouse- dating back to the 13th century when Paris was a large wine producing region.

The area in and around the park, which during the wine heyday was not technically a part of Paris, was known for rowdy parties and cheap wine- due to lower taxes on the beverage thanks to its being sold outside the city. The park has a much calmer vibe than its wild past, and you can now visit a small patch of grapevines in the center of the park to pay homage to the city's winemaking history. 

Marché Bercy

place Lachambeaudie, 75012

m° Cour Saint-Emilion (line 14)

Open Wednesday 15-20h and Sunday 7h-15h

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