Text: Jill Pope
Image: Alain Bachellier
There’s nothing quite like waking up at a civilised hour on a Sunday morning and heading to the market to get inspired for something to put on the stove for dinner that night. Bastille market is my favourite Sunday market, mainly because it means I can justify having one of the amazing crêpes from the Breton stall for breakfast (smoked salmon, chevre and egg gets my vote, but sausage, cheese and egg is good if you are feeling a bit under the weather from Saturday night).
Sunday afternoon cooking is a way of prolonging the weekend until its bittersweet end. In Paris, where many things are shut on a Sunday, there’s no pressure to be out running errands, and you can take your time lingering over the preparation – leisurely stirring a pot au feu with a glass of wine in hand. Bastille’s enormous selection of stalls means you can get almost everything in one place. Aside from fruit and vegetables (including a fairly large bio section), there’s a couple of bakeries, meat and poultry butchers, fromagers and several specialty stands with things like honey, salt, wine, and Italian, Portuguese and Middle Eastern delicacies. The seafood stands are definitely worth a look, and if you head to the fishmonger right down the end, near the Bastille monument on the Marais side, you can even eat freshly shucked oysters on the spot, washed down with a glass of dry, white wine.
If cooking is not your thing, aside from crêpes there are loads of stores selling pre-prepared meals like paella, choucroute, African accras (fish balls) and curries. The market is also held on Thursdays and on both days the food vendors share the space with stalls selling other knick-knacks and odds and ends. Not all of it is trashy, there are some beautiful silk scarves and linen to be found, although beware of the ‘tourist’ prices!
Boulevard Richard Lenoir, 11th
Thursday 7am-2.30pm; Sunday 7am-2.30pm
Metro: Bastille (1, 5, 9)