Our last full day in Paris was spent with Bassel who showed us around the Marché d’Aligre Beauvau; one of the two biggest food markets in Paris.
It is situated near Place de la Bastille in the 12th arrondisement and consists of an open-air market where stalls are set up every morning and removed every afternoon; six days a week. Fragrant and flavoursome fruit and vegetables brought in from local farms are sold here. You can’t get more fresh than this!
We stopped for a coffee break and sampled some patisserie. Our guide told us that the French prefer to eat with their hands and that food tastes better when it is broken up than when it’s cut with a knife and fork. “D’accord”(okay). We torn off pieces of croissant, brioche, pain au chocolat, pain au raisin and pain Suisse (pastry filled with custard and chocolate chips) and passed them around. “Délicieux!”
The other section of the market is an undercover area where you can find a treasure trove of authentic ingredients.
We marvelled at the “poissons”(fish) – some didn’t particularly relish the smell…
“poulet” (chickens) – their heads are kept on apparently in order to show how fresh they are…
“pied cuit” (cooked foot)!! “Quelle horreur!”
Pig trotters, I think …?!
I spared you (and myself) the photo of the whole skinned “lapin” (rabbit) with ears, teeth and eyeballs intact – yip, that image won’t escape my mind for quite some time!
We moved on to more familiar territory and bought a selection of delicacies for a picnic lunch in the nearby park …
“fromage”(cheese) – three delicious ones we’d never tried before
“Charcuterie” (deli food) – the tapenades were especially tasty!
“pain intégral bio” (organic whole-grain bread)
Once again we ate with our hands, off the park bench; breaking off bits of bread and chunks of cheese, a dunking them into the tapenades and then savouring the chewy mouthfuls of flavour!
“Une dégustation de vin” (a wine tasting) of one “vin blanc” (white wine) and two “vins rouges” (red wines) with apple cider for the children followed our gourmet lunch.
The afternoon ended sweetly with the most beautiful things we’ve ever put in our mouths; a delicate bite-sized ball of soft meringue and crème pâtissiére. This is the only bakery in Paris that specialises in these tantalising treats.
If you ever visit Paris with kids, I recommend a Family Food Tour. We booked through With Locals. The whole family enjoyed it and, because we love our food so much, it was the highlight of our stay.