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Markets in France

Markets in France are a joy – and also a great tradition. Almost all the bigger towns and cities will have a regular weekly (or more) open-air market. Some have undercover markets too and those are often open 5-6 days a week. In many French markets, the emphasis is on food. Local farmers bring their produce to the markets and you’ll see a variety and freshness that is better than in many other European countries. There are also craft markets where small businesses bring their unique products to sell, including things such as baskets, leather goods and metalwork. In some cities there is also the tradition of markets, often called “Puces”, dedicated to antiques, art and bric-a-brac. French markets can’t usually be called “cheap”. Typically, manufactured item prices will be a little cheaper than you’ll find in major shops though food may actually be more expensive than in the supermarkets but you’re paying extra for quality and freshness. Haggling is not part of French market culture and may cause offence, apart from antique or bric-a-brac markets, where the dealers will usually, though not always, expect you to make an offer rather than pay the asking price. Local tours through Withlocals can provided guided market explorations with help and guidance about best buys and prices.

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Top 10 markets in France

  • Marché Richard Lenoir – Paris. A fantastic market with incredible food delicacies and products. Plenty of street musicians and entertainment too and a great atmosphere.
  • Marché les Enfants Rouges – Paris. Actually the capital’s oldest covered market, it has its origins in the 17th century. Exotic street food isn’t a massive French tradition but here is an exception – as you’ll taste!
  • Marché Mouffetard – Paris. Avoid the tourist haunts at the top levels and stay on the ancient cobbled streets further down where you’ll find some beautiful and fair-trade foodstuffs all in incredible surroundings.
  • Puces de Saint Ouen – Paris. The best known and largest of all the flea markets here, it’s a huge treasure trove of antiques and bric-a-brac. Well worth a look but a local will know where the bargains might be.
  • Les Puces du Canal – Lyon. A fantastic large flea market and a place where you’ll find, perhaps, some real bargains. Note, only open to private buyers at weekends.
  • Le Village de Créateurs – Lyon. A courtyard full of small workshops and design studios where young designers and manufacturers offer their products for sale.
  • Rennes Markets (Les Lices) - Rennes. A great series of open-air and large covered markets selling incredible fish, meat and dairy produce fresh from the farm. Until recently there was a hair salon charmingly called “Hair Lices”!
  • Strasbourg Christmas Market – Strasbourg. Regularly voted the best winter market in Europe, a fantastic display of Christmas goodies and foodstuffs all marvelously decorated with colored lights.
  • Boulevard Berenger – Tours. One of the truly great flower markets and an experience just to look at even if you’re not buying.
  • Le Marché de la Pêche – Marseille. A great fish market held around the old town port. Beautifully atmospheric (mornings only).

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3 Great Markets in France

  • Les Puces de Montreuil - Paris. Not the most fashionable or prettiest of Paris’ flea markets but the place you’re most likely to find real gems and bargains. Local help in spotting the good from bad will be useful.
  • Raspail organic market - Paris. If you like fantastic organic food (and some manufactured items) plus really chic shopping then try here. It’s loved by the intellectual and artistic elite of Paris and you might spot a famous face or two!
  • Nantes Flea Market – Nantes. Usually over 100 stalls offering a huge range of items and some real gems. Prices will typically be a lot cheaper than in Paris too!