In the quest to find locally grown produce I have encountered a friendly gentleman selling homemade Polish specialties at Marché Père-Lachaise, the chaotic and exciting ambience of Marché Belleville, and delicious Portuguese pastries at Marché couvert St. Martin.
Discovering the varying elements that make each market unique is part of the fun of my market adventures, but finding fresh vegetables from the Ile-de-France region remains the Holy Grail of my quest.
I never know when I will find the next local producer and that is what motivates me to tour markets both near and far, filling up my shopping bag along the way.
A need for a change in scenery during a bitter bout with the winter blues brought me to the Marché Place des Fêtes on a frosty February day. Exiting the metro of the same name I was happy to find myself plunged into the middle of the market, where seasonal vegetables were immediately in sight.
Not surprising, but always encouraging to see, the two stands operated by local producers were circled by steadily long lines of shoppers with discriminating tastes. Behind me in line at Guy Barrais' stand, an on-duty police office spoke with an equally on-duty mother of two, "I don't care if it's not bio," he explained to her "here the vegetables are always good." The mother agreed while herding a toddler back in line, and the police officer greeted the vendor and exchanged their weekly updates before ordering the makings of a pot-au-feu.
Guy Barrais' farm is located in the Seine-et-Marne, not far from Fontainebleau which is just south of Paris. The stand is staffed with friendly vendors and stocked with seasonal treats such as endives, pears, apples, swiss chard, cauliflower, and leeks.
Marché Place des Fêtes is also home to Patrick Messant whose farm is located an hour east of Paris. Visit this stand early if you want the best selection of his homegrown spinach, rutabaga, lettuce, onions, and beets.
Two organic vendors are in attendance at Marché Place des Fêtes selling certified organic foods if you're seeking something out-of-season or from a far-off land.
Marché Place des Fêtes
Place des Fêtes, 75019
m° Place des Fêtes (line 7bis, 11)
Open Tuesday, Friday, Sunday 7h-14h30