Mention shopping at the fun markets in Paris and what usually springs to mind is ambling among stalls under a leafy canopy of sycamores or chestnut trees. True enough, many of the best food and flea and craft markets extend several city blocks on sidewalks or median strips. But of all the different types of markets in Paris, some of the most interesting and historic are covered food markets. Here are 7 of the best. They’re not only a good option for rainy days but also a refuge from the din and rumble of street noise. As much as I love being in the pulsating thrum, I can appreciate it anew after a reprieve inside a covered market. Note that open hours are approximate. Check Markets of Paris 2nd ed or the Mairie de Paris website for more details and Métro stops.
1. Beauvau Covered Food Market (“Le Marché Couvert Beauvau”). Located at the center of Marché d’Aligre in the 12th arrondissement. Open Tuesday to Saturday 9-1, Sunday 8:30-1:30. Find fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, charcuterie, flowers, gourmet gifts, and more.
Part of the fun of walking the outdoor market along rue d’Aligre is the excitement of vendors calling out loudly for your business. But continue to the center plaza at place d’Aligre, swing open the doors of the covered market Beauvau, and enter the relatively hushed world of sellers and shoppers quietly going about their business.
A fountain at the center adds to the feeling of repose, even if no water is flowing. Top-quality offerings, including outstanding cheeses, attract shoppers from all over the city.
2. Enfants Rouges Covered Food Market (“Le Marché Couvert Enfants Rouges”). Located at 39, rue de Bretagne in the 3rd arrondissement. OpenTuesday-Saturday 8:30 am-7:30 pm, Sundays 8:30-2. Find numerous ethnic eateries, olive oils and honeys, flowers, fresh produce, fishmonger, charcuterie, and more.
If looking for fun stops in the Marais neighborhood of Paris, swing by Enfants Rouges for a pit stop especially if you’re hungry. While not particularly attractive structurally, Enfants Rouges has numerous ethnic eateries and other appeal that more than offset its surrounding.
3. La Chapelle Covered Food Market (“Le Marché Couvert La Chapelle”). Also known as Marché de l’Olive. Located at 10, rue l’Olive in the 18th arrondissement. Open Tuesday-Saturday 9 am-7:30 pm, Sunday 8:30 am-1 pm. Find flowers, meats, fruits and vegetables, cheeses, prepared foods, and much more.
La Chapelle now gleams after an extensive 2-year renovation. It evokes signature elements of the Baltard style of architecture. Note the umbrella-like glass roof and lacy ironwork on the crossbeams.
4. Passy Covered Food Market (“Le Marché Couvert Passy). Located at 1, rue Bois le Vent in the 16th arr. Open Tuesday-Saturday 8 am-1 pm and 4 pm-7 pm, and Sunday 8 am-1 pm. Find fish, oyster bar, meats, cheeses, breads and pastries, chocolates, gift items, and more.
Passy won’t win any beauty contests from the outside, but step inside and you’ll find beautiful, high-quality offerings. Last time I was there I enjoyed fresh-shucked oysters and a good pour of wine.
5. Saint-Germain Covered Food Market (“Le Marché Couvert Saint-Germain”). Located at 4-6, rue Lobineau in the 6th arrondissement. Open Tuesday-Saturday 8:30-1 and 4-7:30 pm, Sunday 8 am-1 pm. Find Italian and Greek specialities, fruits and vegetables, fish, baked goods, shoe repair and key shop, and more.
It’s worth exploring the Saint-Germain market so don’t be put off by the austere façade. What it might lack in architectural flourish, it makes up for in other ways. J’Go Le Jardin, which featured specialties from southwestern France, closed in 2015 but another shop will take its place. I was saved by this covered market when I desperately needed shoe repair after traipsing around the city in the same pair of boots. I could have used a foot massage too.
6. Saint-Martin Covered Food Market (“Le Marché Couvert Saint-Martin”). Located at 31-33, rue du Château d’Eau in the 10th arrondissement. Open Tuesday-Saturday 9:30 am-7:30 pm, Sunday 9 am-1:30 pm. Find fish, traiteurs with takeaway foods, fresh produce, German specialities, spices, and more.
There are numerous signs of reinvigorated vitality at this market. For example, there’s a spanking new raw bar at Les Viviers de Noirmoutier where the ultra-fresh seafood comes directly from the coast (Noirmoutier). And Joe Allen, celebrated American chef with several New York City restaurants, opened Allen’s Market restaurant which serves good hamburgers and other American-style comfort foods in a seating area that adjoins the Saint-Martin market.
7. Saint-Quentin Covered Food Market (“Le Marché Couvert Saint-Quentin”). Located at 85 bis, boulevard Magenta in the 10th arrondissement. Open Tuesday-Saturday 9 am-7:30 pm, Sunday 8:30 am-1:30 pm. Find numerous ethnic eateries (Lebanese, Brazilian, African, etc.), fruits and vegetables, charcuterie, meats, misc household items, a café, and more.
Like its sibling the Saint-Martin market also in the 10th arr., the Saint-Quentin market features elements of the Baltard style of architecture. High ceilings and an expanse of windows permit lots of natural light and greater ventilation.
If you’re interested in exploring markets in Paris, don’t limit yourself to the outdoor ones. Regardless of the weather, dip into a few covered markets and you’ll understand why many of them are perennial favorites of the Parisians.