Marché Enfants Rouges is located on rue de Bretagne in the Marais section of Paris, which was once the Jewish quarter and is now a very happening scene. Enfants Rouges is the only regularly occurring market in the Marais, so it attracts a lot of locals as well as many travelers. It is the oldest covered food market in Paris. “Enfants Rouges” refers to the orphanage that once stood at the site, and whose children were clothed in red garments to identify them. This market was almost demolished in the 1980s, but local residents rallied to save it.
It’s all too easy to miss this market, so pay close attention as you walk along rue de Bretagne. Look for the gate and archway that indicate the entrance.
It’s not the most beautiful of Paris’s covered markets with its unattractive corrugated metal roofing. And yet, once inside the market there are many good reasons to stay. The ethnic food stalls are outstanding. You can find tagines, kebabs, couscous, yakitori, crêpes, and more. A melting pot of Moroccan, Lebanese, North African, Italian stands offer freshly cooked, ready-to-eat food.
Not surprising then that this market is a popular spot for brunch. There are several seating areas, but be aware that most vendors have assigned tables so to sit at a spot they’ll expect you’ll have bought your food from them. Just ask if you’re not sure.
And if no seating can be found, then rest assured that the lovely Square du Temple is only a short stroll away for a picnic spot.
Besides a wide array of ethnic foods, Enfants Rouges also offers the traditional market fare: cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, and more. Several interesting shops, including one that specializes in olive oils, line the edges. And don’t miss the wine bar tucked in the back corner. Now do you see why this market ranks up there as one of my favorites?
Le Marché des Enfants Rouges
39, rue de Bretagne, 3rd arr.
Tuesday to Saturday 8:30 am to 1 pm, 4 pm to 7:30 pm
Friday and Saturday 8:30 am to 8 pm; Sunday 8:30 am to 2 pm
(See p. 50 in Markets of Paris, 2nd ed.)
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