Marché des Enfants Rouges – One of the Oldest Covered Markets in Paris:
Marché des Enfants Rouges is said to be one of the oldest covered markets in Paris. But when you visit this traditional food market in the 3rd arrondissement, you’ll find nothing old about it. It has the season’s fruit and vegetables, fresh seafood, mouth-watering cheeses, etc. including a section where you can enjoy a cooked meal there.
We arrived in Paris on a Friday and did not realize that our local supermarket was closed on Sunday. Luckily for us, Paris has a market culture and some 82 traditional food markets operate around Paris during the week. By law, each neighbourhood has a couple of markets operating on various days throughout the week and as it turned out, Marché des Enfants Rouges was opened on Sundays. It was a good reason for us to walk there from our Marais apartment.
Marché des Enfants Rouges
Marché des Enfants Rouges is a market with an intriguing name. If you’re expecting to find some red children here, you’ll be disappointed. The market was built in 1615 during the reign of Louis XIII and it was named in memory of the young residents who lived in an orphanage in the area. The young children in the orphanage (built in 1534) used to be clothed in red which was a sign of charity.
The entrance to the market, a passageway between two buildings, is not very obvious and the plain, green arch is so high up that you got to know to look up to notice it. But, the locals know the market well and if you ask anyone, they’ll point you in the right direction.
Marché des Enfants Rouges was not as large a market as I had imagined, but if you need food supplies you’ll find plenty of fresh vegetables, fruit, fish, meats and cheeses here. Most Parisians prefer to shop at the markets as the produce are usually fresher, more flavoursome and less
expensive. The stallholders are also a great source of advice. If you want to know what the best catch of the day is, etc. the guys at the fish stall are very friendly and they’ll scale your selected fish for you. I loved checking out the different cheeses and there are so many different varieties to choose from. Even the pot plants looked so good and were beckoning me to buy them.
Having a Meal at Marché des Enfants Rouges
Marché des Enfants Rouges has a cooked food section and here you will find Italian, Moroccan, Japanese, Lebanese, African and of course French favourites like crêpes. You can enjoy your food there at the communal tables or have takeaways.
A tip about visiting Paris markets: Get there early to see all the action. They usually start packing up before closing time as well.
Tuesday to Saturday – From 8:30 am to 7:30 pm | Sunday – From 08:30 to 14:00
39 rue de Bretagne
How to get there:
Metro: Line 3 (Temple) or Line 8 (Filles du Calvaire)
Map of Paris: