À la marché

Header photo by jatdoll via Creative Commons

Today’s guest post comes from Barbara in Robbinsdale. 

The four of us (my sister and her son, Husband and moi) were on our own for five days in Paris.

We learned a lot about food and eating the Parisian way – picked up baguettes from the boulangeries (bread bakeries), croissants and other delicacies for our petit dejuener (breakfast) from patisseries (dessert bakeries), meats from boucheries, crepes and quiches from crèperies.

On our first day, however, we were lucky enough to come upon the neighborhood marché (market), which had on display all the spring (and other) vegetables you can imagine, plus sausages, fish, cheese, and our dinner – kabobs. Why I didn’t take more photos at the marché I don’t remember, but here is one.

Photo 1


And here’s how some of the bounty looked back at “our” flat (air.bnb, but that’s another story).

It was delicious, especially because it represented the success I had in asking the price.

Combien, s’il vous plait? (How much, please?)

Of course, the answer was spoken so quickly I couldn’t catch it, so I did what I had seen other tourists do – laid out my palm full of coins (there are 1- and 2- euro coins) and let him take what he needed. Then said “Merci.”

What’s your favorite outdoor market?

60 thoughts on “À la marché”

  1. Jean Talon marche in Montreal is wonderful. Part of it is indoors so you can go there in the winter, too. Daughter discovered a love of fresh tomatoes there. There were many tomatoe venders offering free samples of their tomatoes (with pepper and salt), and I think she sampled them all. It is in a predominantly Italian part of town, so there are wonderful restaurants surrounding the market.


      1. minneapolis
        and st paul are
        both great
        get to cooch street steve a cool on in portland
        chinatown in san fransisco hong kong and bangkok are favoritesinalways look forwad to potato pancakes in cologne at the dom its not anmarket but always great vendors and an occasional extravaganza
        milan and florence
        are great and
        amsterdam for wholesome


  2. To explain: Dale was doing some clean-up last week on Word Press, and came upon this post, written after our trip to France in April 2015! I have a vague memory of having him hold it till I could improve on it… Never got posted, and now I’m not so picky, so we have a “freebie”.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My ex and I took a Smithsonian trip to Egypt, several years back. One night, one of our cultural guides said she was going to the spice market in Aswan and asked if any of us would like to go with her. Amazing to see the colors, the smells, the tastes… It reminds you how big the world is.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I can’t stay away from spices. I bought several little bags of spices from a streetside vendor in Malaysia once – just little baggies, no labels, nothing. This was, of course, the only time I’ve been stopped by Customs on the way back to the U.S! Luckily they’ve seen all kinds of insanity in their job so they really didn’t worry about my spices at all, except to ask me what they were.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I look at these pictures and just sigh. Outdoor markets anywhere are such a favorite experience for me. In our travels we have encountered such markets selling a variety of merchandise (not just food) in Florence, Paris, Rome, St. Anne, Jamaica, Oak Creek Canyon, AZ, and Sante Fe, NM. The peak of the outdoor market is having the opportunity to visit with the vendors about what they sell. We did this last week at the Native Market at Oak Creek Canyon where they sell pottery and jewelry. Each vendor will talk about what he/she does and how they do it.

    While all of these are a wonder, my favorite market routine is the Minneapolis Farmers’ Market, where we walk the entire market, then return to stalls to purchase corn or tomatoes or plants or frozen tamales. Then after that produce is toted to the car, we go find the sweet rolls, roasted corn, and bratwurst, scarfing them down as we people-watch. A day of heaven.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s surprising to think that for a while, somewhere in the late ’60s or the ’70s, it looked as if the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market was going away altogether. Big in the 1950s, by the extreme of its decline, it was down to only about two aisles and the rest of them were torn out. You can see now that many of the covered aisles are newer, having been rebuilt when the Market revived. Something about the culture for a time made the farmer’s market largely irrelevant. Today it seems unthinkable that it might have disappeared.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. It might even have been in the ’80s. I’m unclear at this point exactly when the market was at its low point and I have this tendency to think of the ’80s as fairly recent.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Back when we lived in the Minneapolis area, we had gone to the Minneapolis Farmers Market a few times. I loved it! Seeing the displays of fresh food, the ready made fresh treats, etc. — it’s a great experience (except for the parking). When I worked downtown Minneapolis, I really enjoyed the farmers market they had along Nicollet Mall once a week during the summer. Maybe not quite as colorful and interesting as the Minneapolis Farmers Market, but still a lot of fun with local musicians and buskers playing as well.

    I’ve never traveled anywhere really — but I do remember the Boston Commons or Boston Market I think it’s called. That was really cool as well and was indoors as I recall.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I always hoped our family would acquire the habit of patronizing outdoor markets, but my erstwife didn’t share that desire. She much preferred sleeping in on weekends. It suited her for me to do the shopping. Although I enjoyed outdoor markets, I couldn’t shake the idea that they are best enjoyed with a companion.

    You asked what outdoor market was our favorite. Actually, that would be the Minnesota State Fair. All the market-shopping togetherness we couldn’t share the rest of the year was delightful in that setting.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Viroqua, Wisconsin has a fun farmer’s market, with a sizable contingent of Amish vendors. In addition to the usual arrays of produce, on offer are home-canned pickles and preserves, beautiful quilts and baskets, handsome furniture and leatherwork.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Viroqua is an interesting town. It has a progressive vibe due in part, I’m told, to the proximity of the Organic Valley business. There’s a good yarn store (Robin’s passion) and a huge used book store in an old tobacco warehouse (mine). There’s a Waldorf school in town, if that tells you anything. If it’s open when you are there, I recommend the Driftless Cafe.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I went to the U of Chi witha guy from Viroqua. Some round barns in that area. The drive down from LaCrosse and up to Viroqua is a favorite ride.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Madison has a nice market. It’s not located at a particular site, just springs up on the streets around the capitol. Mostly produce, but artsy stuff as well, and an array of baked goods so you can have breakfast there. It has a sort of French feel to it.


  9. I won’t be able to pick just one. My first market love is the Jean Talon, like others here. Wasband and I were tent camping around Montreal and visited the market on a beautiful sunny day. It was just amazing to us. We found alphabet pasta, the biggest radishes I’d ever seen and olives! As a child I had assumed I didn’t like olives but for some reason that day, all the different colors in the bins were mesmerizing and we bought several little cartons of various kinds. Had a picnic in a park on a hill overlooking the city – life changing.

    Also loved the night market in Hong Kong, quite overwhelming and very different from the markets we all think of. Ate steamed dumplings, spiced nuts and worked very hard not to go back to the hotel with one of every trinket on sale.

    And although the bigger markets in the Twin Cities are nice, I have a soft spot for the Kingfield Market at 43rd & Nicollet. Only open on Sundays in the summer, it’s quite small but that makes it very familiar and comfortable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Would that hill overlooking the city have been, perhaps, Mont Real?
      We also have been using the Kingfield Market, as well as the Midtown Market. We used to frequent the St. Paul market in Lowertown, but since the stadium went in and the previous parking lots went away, we have been uncertain about the parking options.


    2. On our first night in Beijing, my travel companion and I stumbled on a bustling night market a few blocks from our hotel. All lit up by artificial light, it featured all manner of goods interspersed with street food booths. We sampled several of the offerings, and everything was delicious. A fun way to start a three week excursion to that exotic land.

      I’m somewhat surprised to no one has mentioned Pike’s Place Market in Seattle. A very fun place to visit.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking the same thing when I looked at the Weather Channel this morning. Hope the food & supplies that Molly was bringing got to you and you’re staying put and staying warm!


    2. Happy Valley is in SE Portland. The worst ice is north of us. In a town that usually gets no snow in an average winter we are now in the ninth school Snow Day. Snow days are fun for a day or two. Then moms and kids get sick of each other. Many mothers are offering to sell their kids on Craigslist, with some really low prices available on twins.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I love farmers’ markets in all their permutations. The St. Paul Lowertown Market is the one I frequent most often. I like that it has a rather strict policy that everything sold at the market must be locally produced, so no bananas, oranges, or other fruit that don’t grow here. Moreover, you can be assured that those lovely tomatoes and peppers weren’t shipped in from California or Mexico.

    I’ve mentioned here before the Hmongtown Market, and it really is a must visit. It’s one of the most colorful and exotic places in the Twin Cities. The sights, sounds, smell, and tastes of Southeast Asia at your disposal without the long plane ride. During the summer months there’s a large outdoor market as well, everything from clothes to trinkets; exotic healing remedies, potions and lotions, cooking utensils, crude tools of all kinds; on and on it goes. The fruits, greens, and vegetable section is well stocked year round by a cadre of individual vendors, and during growing season extends outdoors with an abundance of locally grown produce. If you like fresh ginger and exotic mushrooms, you can save yourself a bundle by shopping there. I love the place.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. The address is 217 Como Avenue, Saint Paul. Just a hop, skip, and a jump northwest of the State Capitol. It’s in what was once Stewart Lumber Co. Depending on what kind of experience you want, I recommend going on a weekday. Weekends are crazy busy, but admittedly more colorful with the crowds. Weekdays, there’s ample parking, on weekends it can be a challenge.


  11. Arkwright’s in Doncaster, GB.
    As created by Roy Clarke, creator of Keeping Up Appearances and Last of the Summer Wine
    Which is Still Open All Hours on Channel 2 some nights at 10.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Our Farmer’s Market is in the Best Buy Parking lot, which seems some sort of contradiction in terms. It used to be in a very convenient place owned by the city, which somehow decided they had to charge for the use of the space.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a friend who live near Cumberland, WI and every summer Bob’s Corn parks his truck on the edge of the Nilssen’s Foods parking lot. Best corn EVER and I guess Nilssen’s doesn’t worry about the competition.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I like the downtown Mpls farmers market in theory but in reality the parking and the crowds overwhelm me. When the Midtown Farmers Market started up several years ago, I started going there. There was ample parking and few vendors so you could go get what you wanted and get out without it taking all day. Plus it didn’t open until 8am so no need to get up before the sun to get there before the crowds. I still go there and it has grown both in number of vendors and customers plus the construction on the nearby building has shrunk the parking area, but it’s still good. I was pleased this past summer to find a good bakery selling their goods there, Brake Bread. I’ve gotten to know a couple of the vendors a little and that makes it fun. And it is always a pleasure to run into Bill and Robin there (once a year or so). And the live music adds to the atmosphere. It’s a great place.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Barbara, this really made me laugh. In 1966 my in-laws were posted for 2 years in Chile. They were given crash courses in Spanish, to no avail for my mother-in-law. They were a little older at the time of the courses and she just didn’t pick up Spanish. She would go to the market and just pick out what she wanted and open her wallet and let the grocer take what he needed, (or wanted).

    Liked by 2 people

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