It’s Sunday, and whether you are planning a picnic or stocking up for the week, one of Parisian life’s great pleasures is a trip to the Marché Biologique Raspail in the 6th arrondissement. Some of the city’s best celebrity spotting is found here; keep an eye out for the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten, who has an apartment near by, or film icon Catherine Deneuvre, incarnation of Marianne, the symbol of the French republic. Although a traditional market on Tuesday and Friday, Sunday is devoted to all things organic from produce, dairy products, nuts and spices, to wine. The stalls line the middle of the street just down from the Luticia hotel, from rue Cherche Midi, to rue de Renne. Posted hours are from 9-1:30 but savvy shoppers get their early to beat the crowd coming after church. The closest Metro station is Rennes.
Here are some favorites:
Entering at the Cherch Midi end of the market, the first stall on your right is “Les Gestalins” dishing up delicious potato-onion-gruyère cheese galettes as you watch. The line is long, the following faithful, so you may have to exert some patience – but it’s worth it.
Farther down on the left at “Natural Vitis is Bruno, selling organic wine. He’ll offer you generous samples.
The produce vendors are artists at arranging their wares to look like Old Master paintings and they vie at having the most tempting displays. Grab one of the baskets stacked for customer use, gather your choices and hand the basket over to the seller to be weighed.
Exotic jams and honeys are in abundance and the selections of cheeses cannot be outdone. The stall “La bio Fermière” is especially helpful in assisting with information and sample tastings.
A cautionary note: The popularity of the market coupled with a narrow aisle means you’ll have to dodge jostling crowds with their “chariots” rolling shopping carts).