Lunching in the Market

July 26, 2005By Heidi EllisonArchive

Bons Enfants Rouges

Julien Cancoin, owner of La Rotisserie Enfants Rouges.

One of the joys of Paris – and one that many tourists bypass – is its food markets, some of them permanent (e.g., the Marché d’Aligre, Marché Saint-Quentin) and some of them rotating to different locations on different days.

One beloved covered market dating from 1615, the Marché des Enfants Rouges on the Rue de Bretagne in the third arrondissement, almost disappeared 10 years ago, but the uproar from the locals was such that the city decided to keep it open and renovate it.

This required shutting down the market for six years, however, and when it reopened in 2000 most of the vendors had found premises elsewhere.

The market was a sorry sight for some time, with many unoccupied stands and few customers, but today that has all changed. Not only can you pick up the catch of the day at the fish stand and organic tomatoes and plums at a vegetable stand or a bouquet at the flower stand, but you can also sit down for a meal at one of the dozens of tables in the open-air side aisles, after deciding whether you want to eat pasta, pizza, spit-roasted meats, Moroccan couscous or classic French bistro food.

On Bastille Day this year, the place was packed with lunching Parisians who were delighted to find it open. The atmosphere was “bon enfant,” as the French say – lively and friendly. You’ll never go back to the food court at the mall after eating here.

By the way, the market owes its name to a neighborhood orphanage, closed in the 16th century, whose small charges were dressed in red.

Here’s a list of the vendors offering meals to go or eat sur place:

La Rotisserie Enfants Rouges: Generous helpings of best-quality spit-roasted meats: free-range Bresse chicken, Pauillac lamb, etc. served with a choice of vegetables, potatoes and salads. Open Tuesday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4 p.m.-8 p.m;

Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Tel.: 06 17 07 92 39.

Le Traiteur Marocain: Moroccan pastillas, tagines and couscous. Open Tuesday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4 p.m.-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Tel.: 01 42 77 55 05. www.TraiteurMarocain.com.

Pizza Mario: Pizza and nothing but pizza. Open noon-3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Tel.: 01 48 04 35 64.

Traiteur & Epicerie Fine Italienne: Italian deli serving serving pasta and other specialties. Open Tuesday-Thursday, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4 p.m.-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Tel.: 01 42 78 82 42.

L’Estaminet: Wine bar serving quality French bistro food; the only one with indoor seating. Open Tuesday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4 p.m.-8 p.m; Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Tel.: 01 42 72 28 12.

www.aromes-et-cepages.com.

Marché des Enfants Rouges: 39, rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris. Métro: République or Filles de Calvaire.

Heidi Ellison

© 2005 Paris Update

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