I love the markets more than anything else in Paris. More than the museums (too many people) the crepes (I can’t eat because I’m glutarded) or the shopping (don’t have 1k for shoes yet). Plus, well, I love food, cooking, weird ingredients, and shopping in bulk, not to mention fresh and organic. Makes me feel closer to the earth and the people who make the world go round. Or at least the economy.
Markets are not only where I get to but my favorite fresh foods (shout out to organic apples, olives, and salmon) but where I get to practice my French and photography skills. The vendors always interact with you (especially if you arrive as the female form) and are playful, sometimes taunting, full of jokes, and are always eager to hand you samples, recommend new foods and good restaurants, and pose for photos (especially the fish guys). They’re also good places to interact with English speakers when you’re feeling way the the hell far away from home and, I think, an efficient place to pleasantly overdose on a hit of cultural immersion. Sure, sometimes you step in fish guts, sometimes you get ripped off, you always see some cute animal filet’d or strung up (I gasp every single damn time), you have zero personal space, and they’re dotted with gypsies and beggars that make you feel terrible for waltzing past to your boutique lettuce, but the pros outweigh the cons any day. Especially now that it’s officially spring a.k.a. picnicking season. Snacks+wine+blanket+grass+friends=happiness.
On Saturday, I was feeling like interacting with humans without interacting with anyone I know so I biked to the Batignolles antique market, then to the Batignolles organic market, where I bought a tigers eye pendant (which is supposed to help create warmth when you’re cold, balance anxiety and mood-swings, elevate self-confidence, release toxins, straighten the spine, and help with fatigue. I was drawn to it immediately and it makes sense. Crystal people always say the one you’re drawn to first is the one you need at the moment. yeah, I just said crystal people) and met these guys from Voy Alimento, a healthfood restaurant in the Marais I’ve been wanting to go to. TheY sell a 10 euro bottle of plummy-blood colored Peruvian juice made from purple corn with the highest natural levels of Anthocyanin, an antioxidant that helps with aging, cancer, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, etc (their blog http://voy-plantes.com/ is amazing for references, Bio fairs in Paris, and info on edible, healing plants). The juice was delicious. They also had not just spirulina but an algae from Klamath Lake, Oregon that helps with brain function, along with other goodies like Acai powder and Guarana seeds (that looks like tiny roasted chestnuts). I talked to them about my senior project and took some photos, then biked down to the President Wilson market which was endless. After walking through an eternal stretch of produce and bread, past the paella (!!!) and flower stands, I got to another Velib station without buying anything, and biked down to the Saxe Breteuil market. I had gone last Thursday (pictures included below) and I got 3 avocados which I mistakenly let the vendor, an Egyptian guy named Gimy, pick out for me. I said I wanted to eat them in a few days. Three words: lost in translation. As I was biking away I realized they were mushy so I came back and swapped them out- alas, in my haste to get to class I forgot them on the table. So, when I went back on Saturday, he remembered me and gave me my avocados while force feeding me fresh orange slices. When I asked him where to get fish, he said give me your address and I’ll bring you the best fish. Oh. My. So I whisked myself quickly over to the fish market where I had a conversation fully in French with the white haired man in charge- I wanted to buy some fish but wasn’t going directly home…so, could I put it in my bag? Answer was no but we kept talking about food in Paris. Then when he found out I was from NY (I don’t always mention Seattle) he told me his friend’s son had a lot of restaurants there. Who was his friends son? Bobby Flay. I about choked on my crappy french phrases because I luuuuurve the Flay. Then we went on about how the world is so small, so on and so forth, and that I’ll see him Thursday for my fish. I also bought a shell ring which I haggled down from 25 euros to 10. Schwing!
I then bought some organic spinach as the Bio stand was closing up, biked over to an organic co-op for some apples and biked back to to President Wilson (after almost passing out into traffic from heat exhaustion, dehydration, and excessive need to pee) and see the remains of what had been a bustling fortress just a few hours before. How…ephemeral. Then I plopped down and waited for the bus, on which I ran into my friend Meline from French class (love love love when that happens) who was heading to Park Monceau with a friend. Afterwards I went for a sunset swim at the Porte de Champerret pool (they gave me some flippers to use!! *insert dolphin eee eee eee here*) and headed home to gnaw on some avocado corn cake concoction before heading off into the night. Twas a long, lovely day, and I plan on hitting up many more markets before I head back to the states. (Next: Aligre, shenanigans at the Eiffel Tower with a puppy, the organic market at Raspail, and the bird market!) I do have to admit though, it made me miss Whole Foods. Quiet corporate haters. It’s my happy place.