Paris has an amazing number of “temporary” fairs and markets. The first that come to my mind are the open air food markets that set up one or two days each week in designated spots. One we go to is called “Popincourt” and it’s Tuesdays and Fridays on Boulevard Richard Lenoir. You will find stands for fruits and vegetables, for cheese and dairy, for meats, and for fish. There are also various “specialty” stands like one that sells a dozen or more varieties of olives, dried fruit, and herbs. Or you might find a clothing stand that sells sweaters or pairs of shoes. Or you might even find a potato peeler at the “hardware” stand. These stands can really provide much of what you need on a daily basis. Though there are permanent grocery stores and cheese shops and butcher shops in the neighborhood, there is something special about wandering through the outdoor market in search of the perfect avocado, listening to the various sellers hawking their wares.
Another type of outdoor market that I LOVE is the antiques markets or the “vide-grenier” (literally “empty attic”) markets. These can be like yard sales here in the States, or like craft fairs here. I don’t know of anything that’s really exactly equivalent. These markets seem much more random, in terms of location and day, and so whenever we would happen across one, it was always a fun surprise, but I always thought it would be REALLY great if there was a way to know when and where to find them. Guess what? There IS! A wonderful app for the iPad and iPhone that my husband found called “BrocaBrac” – here is the link to it:
I’ll warn you that it’s in French, but it’s VERY easy to figure out. When it opens, you have a choice of searching by “departements” (Paris is 75), or by “city” or by “distance.” We click on “departements” and then scroll down to “75”. Up pops the markets/fairs by date. Today, for instance, it says there are four markets on Saturday, Feb. 23rd, one in the 11th arrondisement, two in the 15th, and one in the18th. When you then click on the entry it tells you a little more about it- sometimes it will say how many exhibitors/sellers there are, or it might describe what will be for sale. I bought wonderful wine glasses at the last one that I went to– I’m told they are from the 30’s. I don’t know for sure, but what I do know for sure is they are a LOT more fun than something boring that I could have found at a regular department store and they were 6 euros each, which seemed like a bargain to me! Here’s a photo of a stand at the last one that had all kinds of silver- flatware, dishes, platters, etc.