I started my last day of meetings in Paris a combination of underslept and undercaffeinated, a byproduct of tossing and turning until the wee hours of the night and then sleeping through my alarm. Racing to my first meeting I passed the unmistakable metal skeletons of market about to go up and made a mental note to return after I was done.
Crawling outward from Convention metro, the market was a slice of the life I knew in Aix-en-Provence, somehow present in the heart of Paris. Fresh fruits and vegetables, fishmen screaming at passersby to stop “if you ever want to eat well again”, gesticulating wildly to punctuate their prose. Inexplicably grumpy cheese vendors (can too much cheese make you grumpy? Not in my experience!), friendly butchers. All the stereotypes from my year in the sunny south, brought back to life on a cold, grey morning in November. Tiptoeing through the narrow space between sideway and street, easily pushed aside by the women stopping to buy their meat for the day, I took my time going through the Convention market. I was late for my next meeting, but when I unpackaged some fresh cheese to share after my sales pitch, they completely understood. The market called.
Convention Market in Paris
The cheese stand, minus grumpy-cheese-lady, who not only refused to be in the picture but also told me that she disapproved at how little cheese I was buying, shaking her head at me in disappointment as I handed over my Euros..
In each of the places I visit, the food and markets draw me in, speaking volumes in their own subtle way about the society balanced around them. In France, the many food stalls, the convivial call-and-answer between vendors, the hand-panted signs juxtaposed on a cosmopolitan boulevard in Paris all contribute to a market culture slowly fading under the weight of our modern world. For a brief moment, I forgot about all the fast food joints nearby and the crisp dampness of the day and merely drifted through the market, a smile on my face.
Markets are a guarantee pick-me-up.
Beginning of the market near Convention Metro.
The aloof vegetable-seller. (To me, he drawled “What? Only pictures and no vegetables to buy? How sad.”)
The dedicated oyster-shucker.
Bright orange shrimp.
Glimmering smoked mackerel.
Plump and delicious tomatoes (these I did try – but not from aloof-vegetable-man).
Bright red mini-radishes.
Fresh sea urchin.
The friendly butcher.
And one of my favourite photos, chocolate and fish, together at last in Paris.
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How to Get to Convention Market in Paris
Take the Metro on Line 12 to Convention station and walk along Rue de la Convention, between rue Alain-Chartier and rue de l’Abbé-Groult.
Market runs Tuesday and Thursday, 7:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m and Sunday, 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
For more markets of Paris, see this list (sorted by arrondissement) from Discover France.