Saturday, October 13, 2012

Paris - Still a Melting Pot

I went to the Marché Barbès today for a different take on Paris markets. Located in the 18th arrondissement on the boulevard de la Chapelle, under the elevated Métro tracks, extending from the Barbès Rochechouart station halfway to the Porte de la Chapelle station, this is a market for real people. It is incredibly crowded with shoppers, at least on Saturday morning. The produce here is good, although more comes from Spain than in more upscale markets, and incredibly cheap. Like two giant lettuces for one euro, peaches for a kilo per pound, etc.

Most of the vendors are North African, as are many of the customers, but shoppers come from all over town. In addition to the produce, there are clothes, hardware and other goods on the outer perimeter of the market area. The market has a bit of the atmosphere of the souk in Marrakesh, although it is a good bit less exotic. Indeed, a guide book said I would find lamb heads roasting on spits, but unfortunately I didn't see any. However, I did see copious and appetizing displays of mint, coriander and parsley, which are the herbs most used in North African food (think mint tea).

Mint, parsley and cilantro for 0,30 euros a bunch
After a pretty quick walk-through - I am leaving Paris tomorrow so really wasn't there to buy - I continued down the boulevard de la Chapelle for about five minutes, arriving at Paris' Little India, where Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan food stores and restaurants abound. It's not Queens, but it's also not far from the heart of Paris.

Butcher and restaurants in Paris' Little India
Bobby Jay

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