A few years ago I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a week on a trip to Paris, a terrific bargain experience I will share with you in another blog. Today I wanted to tease you with a glimpse of the open air markets we visited.
There are open markets throughout Paris as well as indoor markets and grocery stores. We were fortunate to visit 3 outdoor markets while we were there. One amazing thing is that the food–the fruit and vegetables–look so much better than what we see in our supermarkets. It could be that here in West Virginia we are at the bottom of the food supply chain, but I am also remembering food in Nashville, Connecticut and New Jersey. One amazing difference was readily apparent—the produce was ripe. All too often we get items that are picked green and must “ripen” off the vine or stem. Full flavor is never obtained that way. But it is what we have become accustom to here in the US. If you have your own garden, you understand the difference. If not, just think of the taste of the tomatoes purchased from a roadside stand in the summer compared to hot house tomatoes in the grocery stores in the winter.I was surprised to see meats, poultry and seafood also available at these open air markets. On ice, they appear fresh and healthy. I could hear my mother’s voice in my head warning against bacteria and decay, but I realize that these markets have existed for hundred and even thousands of years.People in Paris may not shop every day but many do because they have refrigerators that are about a quarter the size of what we are used to, only a bit larger than dorm refrigerators. Because of size limitations it becomes necessary to shop much more often than we do in the States. It is not wrong, merely a lifestyle difference that works for that culture.
Take a look at some of these foods and then you decide if things look good…….good enough to eat!
Fresh meat we don’t find here in supermarkets.
We were lucky on our tour of the Marais neighborhood to find a series of courtyards with a market filled with vendors from all over France. Held twice a year, they came to the city to sell honey, nougat (the man above), fois gras, sea salt, olive oil and other food stuffs, scarfs and a few other textiles.