Today was market day - there is a market some place in Paris everyday, but on Sunday it is the big market at Place de la Bastille on Blvd Richard Lenoir, and that was where we went.
I think we are finally over our jet lag. We both slept through the night, but got up fairly early. Since it was Sunday, we sat around in our night clothes for awhile. I learned that the local bakery is closed on Sunday, so bought bread for today last evening. It certainly isn't as good as fresh, however.
We took the #29 bus over to la Bastille and got off right across the street from the market. I don't know how many vendors there are, but the market stretches at least 2 blocks up the boulevard and there are four rows of vendors for most of the length, with 6 rows in a couple of areas. In addition to many stalls of flowers, vegetables, meats, sausages, cheeses, fish, olives, nuts, bread, etc., there are stalls selling jewelry, clothing, shoes, table linens, soaps, perfumes, wines, kitchen and household items, etc. To say it is crowded is an understatement. This is where many Parisians do their weekly shopping and many of them pull trolleys to put their purchases in. This is also where people meet up with their friends and neighbors, so getting through the crowd can be somewhat of a challenge. You also have to watch where you are going because the pavement is uneven and there are holes you can easily step into.
This is not a "farmer's market" like we are used to. Rather, the produce comes from the huge wholesale market (perhaps one of the largest markets in the world) in Rungis outside of Paris, which also supplies the supermarkets. Until the 1960's the wholesale market was at Les Halles, not far from this apartment. But, all of the produce is colorful and very fresh - much better looking than produce in the supermarkets, which is often packaged in cellophane. Some vendors allow shoppers to pick out their own fruits and vegetables, but many retain that privilege for themselves and many are experts at picking out the melon or peach that will be perfectly ready to eat either that day or the next.
Many of the vendors are vocal in hawking their wares, but they all seem to have a good sense of humor and enjoy their work. We bought a small roasted chicken and paid with a 50 euro note (I apologized that this was the smallest I had) and the vendor teased that he would take the whole amount in payment. A polite "bonjour" from the buyer is about all it takes to get a polite and friendly response from the seller.
We bought olives and tapenade, chevre (goat cheese), strawberries (the little sweet ones), apricots, clementines, a beautiful head of cauliflower for 1.50 euros, some asparagus, and some "pomme de terre" cooked in the drippings from the rotisserie chickens. Can't wait for dinner.
After we had gone around the market about 1 1/2 times, we stopped at a small cafe for some lunch. I ordered what I called the "French cliche": escargo and onion soup. I got 6 escargo and had a hard time getting them out of their shells, but finally got all of them out after they cooled a bit. I wouldn't bother except for the butter, garlic and parsley they are cooked in. The soup was really good, too, but hot. Kathy had a salad with ham, feta, and potatoes served in a large crockery bowl that she said was really good. After lunch, we finished our second circuit of the market.
When we got back to the bus stop, there wasn't a time indication for the #29, which made me think that perhaps the route had been changed and we would be waiting in vain. They close many streets in the Marais on Sundays for bicyclists, so I figured that the bus had been rerouted. There is a Metro stop right there, so we decided to take the Line 1 and change to Line 11. Admittedly, a short trip, but our purchases were heavy, and it involved a lot of walking to get to the right platforms -- we probably walked almost as far as we would have if we had simply walked back to the apartment. We were able to recharge our Navigo Decouverte passes, so now we are all set for next week.
Chilling out for the rest of the day and doing some laundry.