A pâtisserie in the 12th Arrondissement.
Our Silver Paris
Welcome to my Paris travel journal,
where I share our experiences of our special journey to Paris.
Please use these posts as a guide for your own travels
to this amazing and wonderful city!
Or simply read, and dream...
I don't think I ever mentioned that this day--the same day we walked along the passage du Chantier and relaxed in the square Trousseau--this very day, was my birthday! Yes, I almost forgot that it was my special day as we walked throughout le Marais enjoying the scenery and the sights of Paris.
Well, back to our story. :)
After we left square Trousseau--that pretty public garden--we walked up a street and over a few more streets, and found ourselves walking along rue d'Aligre. There was supposed to be a market--
Le marché d'Aligre, a farmers market in le Marais.
We literally walked right into it! In The Little Black Book of Paris 2012 (ISBN 978-1-4413-0651-7), the author writes that this market, "a frolicking food market with secondhand antique stalls, embodies the working-class character of the area" (p97). With just one day left in our tour, we didn't need more food. I was more interested in the antique stalls. But, it was sure fun strolling through the food part of this market!
Vegetable stand in le marché d'Aligre.
We wandered through the marché, enjoying looking at all the produce being sold. The vendors were merrily hawking their wares, shouting out the places of origin of their bananas and tomatoes, attempting to lure in buyers for a sale. It truly was a "frolicking food market!"
We learned later that this covered portion of the marché d'Aligre is called the marché Beauveau, and is possibly one of Paris' best food markets. We spotted a few organic vendors there, and there were vendors selling flowers and fresh poultry, as well. The marché is open Tuesday through Saturday, with both a covered portion and shops, and open stalls.
We kept wending our way through the marché, then it seemed that the crowd of people parted, and we were standing in place d'Aligre, the large plaza about halfway down the street. Now, it wasn't just a plain, empty place. This is what we saw:
Another part of le marché d'Aligre in the place--a brocante (flea market)!
A cloth vendor displays his fabrics. Beautiful!
Oh, look at all those items! Should I spend some money? Oh, I was in my element--well, except for the French!
Okay, enough of the pictures--I found a vendor selling necklaces, bracelets, and other vintage jewelry. I happened to spot several silver bracelets, and decided to try on a particularly pretty one. We did just celebrate our silver anniversary two days earlier! Fernando was agreeable, and I acted as interpreter--as well as I could--for him and the vendor. A price was settled on, and I was the happy new owner of a vintage silver anniversary bracelet.
After purchasing the bracelet and wandering through most of the rest of the brocante, we encountered a Frenchman who boldly asked us, in English, "You are American, yes?" At my nod, he asked if we had a map, then proceeded to guide us over to a vendor (one of his friends apparently). He "borrowed" our map to show his friend the way to a massage shop (oh, my). They went on and on in French, then the gentleman chatted with us--or rather, in his beautifully accented English, gave us tons of helpful information about our stay in Paris, what we should do, where we should go, etc. etc. We didn't have the heart to tell him we had just 24 hours left to enjoy his city! We simply nodded and smiled, and thanked him for his advice, all the while wondering if we would actually get our precious map back! After about ten minutes of conversation, he surrendered the map and was on his way.
As we left the brocante, I suddenly remembered the name of the street on which were a number of recommended restaurants. We spotted it on the map, and were on our way to my birthday lunch. If you want to read about the details (no food pictures; Fernando wouldn't let me in the tiny restaurant), click here and scroll toward the end.
The fabulous little restaurant, Le Temps au Temps, where we ate a wonderful birthday lunch.
- Nearest Métro station: Ledru Rollin (line 8); walk east along rue du Faubourg St. Antoine and rue d'Aligre is the fourth street on your right (south side of the street).
- Cost: Free. (Unless, of course, you're purchasing produce or flowers, or plan to shop at the brocante!)
- What to look for: That "frolicking food market" mentioned above, with covered stalls and vendors tempting you to buy. This is not a touristy place, so be prepared to practice your French! Also look for the brocante (flea market) which is spread out over the entire place d'Aligre, and where you can find almost everything imaginable for sale at the different stalls and tables set up.
- Combine with: A walk around place de la Bastille, a walk along the raised promenade Plantée (coulée Verte) and/or the specialty shops underneath its viaducts, a stop at canal St. Martin and its garden walkway, a visit to passage du Chantier to window-shop in the furniture makers' workshops, and/or a stop at the pretty public garden at square Trousseau to take a break from all that walking!!
- Where to eat: a few more streets east and to the north of rue d'Aligre is rue Paul Bert (look for rue Faidherbe and rue Paul Bert angles off to the right). There, in one short block, you'll find three highly rated restaurants (The Little Black Book of Paris 2012, one of which is Le Temps au Temps, tiny but amazing.
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