How To: Shopping in Paris Markets

Paris Book Seller by the Seine
Paris Book Seller by the Seine

Destination: Paris

Book: Markets of Paris (2nd Edition) (NEW May 2012) by Dixon Long and Marjorie R. Williams

Anybody who follows me on Facebook, knows I am nuts about going to a Farmer’s Market in Tucson every Sunday morning. I have even set myself a challenge to try a new-to-me produce item each week. (To follow my shopping/cooking escapades, follow me on Facebook.) But compared to the authors of this book about Paris markets, I’m not adventurous at all! This is one of those books that I wish I had discovered before we went to France. As I read, I discover that I was practically next to some of these fascinating markets, and didn’t even know it at the time.

Avocados and Tomatoes
Salad in the making from the Tucson Farmer’s Market

Dixon Long and his wife wrote the first edition of Markets of Paris, 2nd Edition . Unfortunately, Long’s wife passed away before the book was due for revision.  Marjorie R. Williams, who spends a great deal of time in Paris, has joined him for this second edition, being the on-the-ground reporter and adding her passion to his knowledge. On Williams’ website, I learned that when a friend gave her an original edition of Markets of Paris. Williams was instantly smitten, and wrote a fan note to the publisher, asking if they needed a revision. In a scene that does not happen often in publishing, Williams got an immediate phone call from the publisher expressing interest in teaming her with the original author, Dixon Long. Since I did not see the first edition, I don’t know how much has changed, but I do know that this Markets of Paris, 2nd Edition,  is a real gem.

French Bakery in Tucson
French Bakery, “Frogs” at Tucson Farmer’s Market

Long and Williams expertly guide you through 120 markets of Paris. 80 of those are food markets, but the others include famous and not-so-famous antique and book markets, flea markets, crafts and more.  They even include information on those wonderful book stalls (les boquinistes) along the Seine that I featured here not long ago. I had no idea that they started back in the 16th century and that there are strict rules about the booksellers (but, come on–this is France–gotta be rules). The number is strictly limited to 250 vendors, so people can wait for years to get a license.  And while there are an estimated 300,000 used books for sale at any time, you can also pick up some gorgeous posters.

Paris Book Stall selling posters
Paris Book Stall selling posters

While it would be impossible to catalogue every single booth, Markets of Paris does tell you the locations where you can find the boquinistes, and what hours you can expect to find them open.

That kind of detail is typical of this little easy to carry book.  Maps in the front and back show the locations of the favorite markets, and then the book is arranged by arondissement, so wherever you are, you can pop into a market. The authors give you Bus and Metro stops near each market, and give you a short, helpful description of each.  Tips on shopping, places to stop and eat, a handy index of restaurants, a separate list of those that are open on Sunday, and a bibliography of helpful books, blogs and websites in addition to the friendly advice that sounds like its coming from a good friend make this book essential for anyone spending time in Paris. Oh, and although the pictures you see here are mine–and the food shots are from the Tucson market–far from Paris–Markets of Paris is crammed with beautiful photography, too.

The publisher sent me this book for review, for which I am very grateful, but my opinions remain my own.  The Pictures in this post all belong to me.  The links to Amazon are affiliate links, meaning that although it costs you no more, if you buy through those links you will be supporting A Traveler’s Library. Thanks!!


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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

11 thoughts on “How To: Shopping in Paris Markets

  1. I love the open markets in France. I used to shop at one regularly when I lived there. This sounds like a great guide. I may get one for myself for a future trip, or send it to relatives who live in Paris as a present.

  2. This is a must; even if I am not scheduled to be in Paris in the near future. I share your love of markets and could easily ‘armchair travel’ myself there. Thanks for this review!

    1. You’re right, Jackie. It’s fun to dream over this book, even if you’re not in Paris. No doubt about it, though, it would be more fun to be walking along the Seine, book in hand, trying to locate the NEXT market you’re gong to stop at.

    1. I love that the authors point out the good places to get souvenirs, too, as well as food, Jessie. But of course, staying put for a while, having a kitchen area and shopping for fresh food would be ideal.

  3. I read the first book and will now need to go read the revised edition. Yet one more theme trip to Paris comes to mind. Thanks for the post!

    1. Lorri: Maybe you can come back and let us know what the differences are–or if there are many– between the two books. The first edition is still for sale at Amazon.

      1. The new 2nd edition of Markets of Paris is VERY different from the first: completely reorganized by arrondissement so much easier to use, all new photos, updated descriptions of many markets, added several new ones & removed a few that closed, expanded coverage of organic markets, added maps at front & rear. It’s very practical & up-to-date, but still compact & easy to carry.

        1. Marjorie! How nice of you to drop by, and I’m happy to have the comparison with the first edition. The organization of this book is superb. As regular readers know, I don’t usually review guidebooks,but make exceptions for, well, exceptional ones. Congratulations on an exceptional effort. I urge people to check out your attractive web site as well. And although I didn’t mention it in the review, I know several readers are VERY interested in organic markets, so they’ll be glad you added that.

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