With Emile Zola’s ‘belly of Paris’, Les Halles, reduced to a grim, labyrinthine shopping complex and a hunk of land permanently ‘under construction’, Parisians were in need of another market standard. Thus Marché d’Aligre, situated near metro Ledru-Rollin in the 12th arrondissement, has taken over and been nicknamed the ‘little’ belly of Paris.
Aligre, which is open every day except Monday, is truly the ‘people’s market’ and a hub for the neighbourhood. Most days it’s just (an admittedly excellent selection of) fruits and vegetables – ranging from cut-price produce to bio delicacies – but cheese, meat, bread, wine and other essentials can be found in the épiceries that line the street, as well as the adjacent covered market, Marché Beauvau. On Sundays there are also several sellers with artisanal products such as honey, and a brocante (fleamarket) in the square. The classic Sunday morning tradition is to do your shopping at Aligre and wind down with oysters and wine on the pavement at nearby wine bar Le Baron Rouge.
A hot tip for the Aligre market – if you’re heading in from rue Faubourg Saint-Antoine, walk through the first, crowded section of the market and then past the section of (French for organic and biodynamic) stalls around the Place d’Aligre. In the section of rue d’Aligre after the square, closer to rue Charenton, to your right at number 65 you’ll find a large stall run by the brothers Doudou (Douidi, Mounir, Younes and Youssef) who have a great range of produce sourced from local farms ‘produits maraîchers‘. It’s all culture raisonée (minimal pesticides without the bio certification), seasonal and a fraction of the price of the more expensive bio stalls! The friendly stallholders are always happy to give advice and really know their stuff!
Marché d’Aligre Rue d’Aligre, 12th Tues-Sat early – 1pm; Sunday early – 2pm Metro: Ledru-Rollin (8)