For Parisians or visitors to Paris who are knowledgeable, portions of either Saturday or Sunday are usually set aside for spending time at one of the Paris’ organic markets – Raspail, Brancusi or Batignolles – to buy organic foods. For those who can’t make it, organic foods can still be had in special sections in larger markets with Bio or AB (Agriculture Biologique) signs, although they may not be as fresh, and come with fewer choices.
At Raspail, Brancusi or Batignolles, one can find the freshest vegetables, fruits, fish, butter, meat products, cheese and eggs among others that are all free from pesticides, fertilizer chemicals, and dangerous hormones from feeds.
Marché Biologique Raspail
Located at Boulevard Raspail (between rue de Cherche Midi and rue de Rennes in the 6th arrondissement), the Raspail organic market opens on Sundays from 8:30am to 2:30pm. Some stalls close before 2:00pm because their goods are sold out.
The largest among the three Paris organic markets, Raspail has its own faithful customers who are devoted to its myriad offerings. Aside from the vegetables and fruits, there are other choices to pick out as well: cheeses and breads, organic cosmetics, newly-cooked pancakes and roast chicken, tarts, and whatever (organic) fruits are in season.
Marché Raspail has various stalls selling different products that include eggs, honey, poultry, ready-made dishes, fish, snacks, oysters, wine and many more. These are all organic products, chemical-free and non-GM (genetically-modified). The price of fish, however, may be a bit steep.
You will hear almost as much English as French spoken, as this market has a very international clientele.
Marché Biologique des Batignolles
On the wide Boulevard des Batignolles, within the 17th arrondissement is the less crowded, though no less complete, organic market of Batignolles, open on Saturdays from 9:00am to 3:00pm. Many of the market’s vendors are the same as those selling at Raspail, although it has a different set of loyal clients.
Among its steadfast customers are restaurateurs nearby who require that their food ingredients be fresh and organic. Aside from the staple of vegetables and fruits, Batignolles has organic stalls that sell other items like bakery products, honey, delicacies, creamery, bio tripe, fish and ready-made dishes, among others.
Marché Biologique Brancusi
The Brancusi Organic Market is the third and the smallest compared to Raspail and Batignolles. However, it has the same number with regards to the variety of choices among its organic fruits, vegetables, dairy products, seafood and bakery products.
It is located at Place Constantin Brancusi at rue de l’Ouest, in the 14th arrondissement, and open on Saturday mornings 9:00am. (Stalls are usually sold out at around 2:00pm, and it is advisable to come early.) The nearby neighborhood provides its most loyal patrons.
As in most cases in open markets, prices can be ridiculously varied even between stalls, and the wise buyer needs to do a complete stroll across the market’s breadth and width to compare prices. One advantage in doing so is discovering vegetables, fruits, herbs, homemade dishes, and other organic products in these organic markets that one cannot usually find in regular markets or stores.
A visit to any one of Paris’ organic markets – Raspail, Brancusi or Batignolles – is a feast for all of the senses: luscious colors, a mixture of aromas, tasty ready-made treats, the joyous hawkers and the touch and feel of the products.