I love Paris. I also love food, food markets, indoor and outdoor markets of all kinds. In my younger days, one of my favorite shopping experiences was going to the Englishtown Auction in New Jersey in the early hours of a Saturday morning and wandering. There were rows and rows of outdoor tables to see first, then it was on to the indoor buildings to warm up and find coffee. Outdoors, the best stands and finds were the independents. You literally never knew what you would find. I once found a copper sculpture of a Paris cafe for $3 which I still own. I refined my haggling skills here. Indoors, the Amish had a booth every week where you could buy fresh and amazing cheeses. As the years went by, Englishtown became more of an indoor mall with no true bargains and the outdoor tables were more commercialized with vendors who sold socks, jeans, and other outlet-type goods.
After the old Englishtown Auction, my all-time favorite market is La Boqueria in Barcelona. That is in a class by itself and sets the bar for all markets everywhere.
Since this is my second long stay in Paris, I have decided to visit as many markets as I can in no particular order. On a Spring trip to Provence a few years ago, I went to as many of the Provencial markets as I could. I loved them all. There were flower markets, flea markets, and food markets galore. Many of my favorites were in Aix-en-Provence. So Paris markets are going to have to be something special to meet my standards.
My first Paris market trip was to the Marche Saxe Breteuil which is open on Thursdays and Saturdays. I had read that it was part food, part flea market and is known in particular for kitchenware and linens. Although I found pots and pans and a variety of clothes, the ubiquitous scarves, and an abundance of fruits and vegies there were only a handful of other food vendors and no linens at all. There were a couple of poultry vendors and I opted for a cooked, rotisserie chicken. I also bought cheeses, olives, and my mandatory baguette. All in all, the produce was the highlight of this medium-size market. I discovered an heirloom tomato called coeur de boeuf . The tomatoes and the olives were the best products here. The French pumpkins were pretty and shaped differently than those I am used to.