I promised you to make you discover every month one of my favourite food markets in Paris… and a quarter has already passed by without any article about the Parisian food markets! I must apologize as the food markets are really part of the identity of Paris and places not to be missed while visiting the city if one wants to live like a local.
The Market of the month : Le marché MongE
Here is my Number Two ranking: The Marché Monge, located in the heart of 5th arrondissement, on the square of the same name. I am lucky because I live very close to it but even if you are staying further I really invite you to discover this food market which is in my opinion one of those offering the most friendly and family atmosphere in Paris. The layout of the market on a square not too big and with a lovely fountain in its centre rather than along a street certainly plays a part in its very friendly atmosphere.
Indeed the fountain -even if it is less cheerful in winter as it is not running- is THE meeting point where local residents stop and talk and where children play with their friends and try to catch the pigeons attracted by the water. On all sides of the fountain the merchants call out to one another and exchange jokes or change. The place is even more lively at each election campaign when activists hand out their pamphlets in a friendly and village-like atmosphere.
A wide variety of stands
The Marché Monge is celebrating this year its 95th anniversary. Today about fourty stands spread over five alleys around the fountain offer a wide range of fresh food products. One can find there several fruit and vegetable stands of course, including organic and market gardening. One of the most popular farmer of the market is Marco, who sells the fruit and vegetable of his garden: be prepared to queue on Sundays so as to buy some of his delicious lettuces, potatoes or carrots, its pumpkin or green cabbage in winter or its cherry tomatoes or various zucchinis in summer…
One can also find cheese merchants, fishmongers, one bakery, a butcher’s and a poulterer’s, a big pork butcher’s and delicatessen,… But also much smaller stalls specialized in one kind of produces: One sells only aromatic herbs, onions and eggs.
Another one offers about ten potato varieties; a third one has a small stand near the metro way out specialized in deli meats and cheese from Savoy, … Among my favourites the ‘Vergers de la terre saine’ offer tasty apples and pears at a very reasonable price, all year long:1,90€ per kilo.
I also love the colourful stands of delicatessen, especially: The ‘Miel, épicerie fine’ merchant who sells a delicious gingerbread; the West Indian delicatessen whose cod fish cakes and vegetable or meet samosas are a delight! And not to mention the Greek food stallholder whose olives, spices and dried fruit are a real treat for all the senses.
If you want to take full advantage of the great diversity of delicious products offered by the Marché Monge, be prepared to stop by a lot of stands and chat with many stallholders to fill your shopping basket. But believe me, the time spent is really worth it!
Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris B&B – www.goodmorningparis.fr
Practical information: Marché Monge – Place Monge – 75005 Paris – On Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from 8am till 1.30pm