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Apr 3, 2014 02:43 PM

Food shopping and cooking in the Marais

We're finally getting back to Paris April 14-28 after a way too long absence of 3 years. We've got an airBnB in the Marais with a nice kitchen and we cook in far more than we eat out (last time we were here we had 2 lunches and 3 dinners out is two weeks. All splendid of course, thanks to y'all) So I would love your advice on two things. This is our first time marche' shopping in April. What should we be on the look out for in terms of seasonal items? Have high hopes of strawberries. Any spring mushrooms? Perhaps the last of the potimarrons? Spring cheese reccos?

Second request is for the best bakeries, wine stores, cheese shops, butchers, etc. in our neighborhood which is Rue de Turenne, quite close to the Place de Vosges. As always, thanks to all hounds everywhere.

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  1. For the markets and shops you want, it all depends on where you are on the longish rue de Turenne.

    If you are in the north (and nicer, more local, hipper, less touristy) end, there is great food shopping along rue de Bretagne and in the Enfant Rouges market.
    There is also the overwhelming Rochard Lenoir market Thursday and Sunday mornings.

    Most mushrooms are an autumn thing.
    Potimarron is usually a winter thing.

    What will be splendid is asparagus.

    Instead of my naming veg and fruit one by one, you can look up April in this table of produce according to the season.
    Bakeries and cheese stores in the Marais are extensively covered on the board. Please use the search function and you will find very current threads.

    You will have a great time. The enjoyment of Paris markets is up there with the enjoyment of its top museums, or even exceed them, and I love museums.

    1. Good advice from Parigi. And apologies for repeating some of her suggestions in my own.

      The cluster of shops and the Mon-to-Sat Monoprix supermarket on the rue Saint-Antoine in the Saint-Paul quartier are the closest to you (and some previous Chowhound threads that will give you suggestions of individual shops). So easily reached on foot or by bus, the foodie-fab rue Bretagne and covered Marché des Enfants Rouges are very enjoyable indeed... great selection of fromageries, boulangeries, etc... and the lovely Square du Temple for a picnic if the weather is good. Don't forget to reward yourself after all this shopping and exploring with a binge on choux à la crème from Popelini on the rue Debelleyme (near rue Bretagne) and of eclairs from L'Eclair de Génie on the rue Pavée (near your apartment).

      You can almost make shopping at a superb open air market a daily routine (and enjoy a quintessentially parisien experience at the same time). Mondays, most markets are closed as are many shops so it's the Monoprix on the rue St Antoine for you. But on Tuesday morning, the delightful Marché Popincourt on the boulevard Richard Lenoir between the rues Oberkampf and Jean-Pierre Timbaud (and very easy to get there and back by the #96 bus that passes your apartment on the rue Turenne) or, less convenient unless you use taxis or a Vélib bike, Marché Maubert on the place Maubert in the 5th just across the river. On Wednesday (afternoons/ early evenings only), the small but good-quality Marché Baudoyer next to the Hotel de Ville (and easily bus-able if bad weather). On Thursday, the Marché Bastille on the boulevard Richard Lenoir near métro Bréguet-Sabin in the 11th or the Marche Maubert in the 5th. On Fridays, it's the Marché Popincourt again. Saturday, Marché Maubert. And Sunday, the very large and boisterous Marché Bastille. And a tip: if you insist on walking or taking the métro everywhere, your shopping options can be limited... but your apartment is well situated for buses (on the rue Turenne, rue Saint-Antoine, Bastille, rue Saint-Gilles, and boulevard Beaumarchais) that will add convenience and range to your shopping... and since you will be making short journeys within a relatively small area, the almost free Vélib bikes are a fab getting-around-option if you are not the nervous-nelly type.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Parnassien

        This is a bit of a tangent, but I have probably seen four different references (on various sites in the past four days) to the eclairs @ L'eclair de Genie that I have to put it on my "must visit" list for our upcoming trip.
        Re: the OP, while I'm always leery of requests for the "best" [fill in the blank], I do recall a wonderful cheese shop essentially next door to the Marche des Enfants Rouge. I don't know if it is the "best," but it had a wonderful selection. And I believe you'll also be coming into the early season of white asparagus??

          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            I just checked and it has a website now!
            Jouannault was my neighborhood cheese shop when I stayed with a friend in the Marais two years ago. It had kind of a workingman's feel to it. Not sure if that's exactly the way to describe it, what I mean is that there was no pretentiousness at all about the staff or the customers and it was refreshing to me. Besides for daily eating, this is where I bought the bulk of what I carried home to San Francisco. They were careful to choose things at a ripeness for serving four days after purchase and vacuum-packed them for me. Here are some photos:

            Another place that is good to know about is A La Ville de Rodez because it is open on Sundays and Mondays. My friend sends his visitors there who need to buy last minute food stuffs on those days before flying home. It has a small cheese selection and I bought Bordier butter and yogurt there. I especially loved the saucisson de canard, and I bought tins of foie gras to take home with me.
            This website says it is closed on Mondays, but google lists hours every day, so best to check ahead.

      2. Thank you all so much. We are definitely at the South end of rue de Turenne but will travel for food! And thanks for that link Parigi. So different from our growing season, our asparagus is done for the year! (we live in Sonoma County, CA in the middle of the vineyards but grow food and let our friends grow grapes). I'm hoping for some rhubarb, since that's done here as well.

        The Velibs sound like a great possibility. And, if anyone has a moment, how do you get the proper accent marks added in? My software seems to be resolutely English only.

        2 Replies
        1. re: harrisea

          To do the accents,I use a function that switches to a French (or Chinese) keyboard.
          Oops, I meant Richard Lenoir market, not Rochard Lenoir market.

          1. re: harrisea

            Having just returned, and having had an apartment just a bit of a walk from Richard Lenoir, I have to say the market on Thursdays and Sundays is absolutely stunning - go early if it's Sunday, because it's a total madhouse.

            But gorgeous, stunning vegetables abound. The seafood is incomparable - the oysters abundant. White asparagus was plentiful, as were strawberries. Enjoy.

          2. Don't plan. Go to the market and look to see what's looking amazing today. Buy it. Ask the vendor how to cook it, if you need to.

            Do mind that you buy French strawberries, not Spanish -- the Spanish ones can be quite tasty, but the French ones are ethereal. Preferably gariguette or Mara du Bois -- I think you're a little too early for strawberries, but I know it's also been a very mild spring, so maybe.

            10 Replies
            1. re: sunshine842

              Good advice, France, unlike many countries still has markets that are reasonably seasonal. So if there are lots of of a particular item it is going to be in season, if you need to search then it isn't.

              Part of the fun is going out, browsing and choosing based on the quality of the produce on the day.

              1. re: sunshine842

                The first Gariguettes are indeed here !

                1. re: Rio Yeti

                  Indeed, but not that sweet yet.

                  1. re: Parigi

                    True, but it's still nice to start seeing them in the markets. :)

                    1. re: Rio Yeti

                      *sob* Even as wonderful as the locally grown strawberries are here in Florida, I will miss the gariguettes.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        Really ?

                        you like those large Driscoll that look beautiful, but require gobs of sugar to make them edible and are often as hard as an apple.

                        Gariguettes and frais du bois for me, l rarely eat the Driscolls when in Florida.

                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                          Driscoll's is California -- Wish Farms is the go-to brand here, as it's just a few dozen miles up the road. Because it's so close, I get berries that are pretty fresh out of the field (and that's if I don't head out to go pick my own) -- and because the field-to-store time is so short, they pick them when they're ripe and sweet and fragrant.

                      2. re: Rio Yeti

                        Our strawberries up North (in the 18th) have been divine.

                        1. re: John Talbott

                          I'm up north as well (19th), but mine were as Parigi's : not as sweet as I would like them (yet !)

                          1. re: Rio Yeti

                            y'all need to head out to the 77 to the cuillettes....