In Paris there aren't many places open on Sundays. That's ok with me. The streets are less crowded and there is much less traffic. I can wander around without worrying about getting burnt by someone's cigarette or a car racing towards me as I cross in the crosswalk, two dangers I'm always quite conscious of during the weekdays. It's now forbidden to smoke inside in France, so the smokers have taken to the streets. On the weekdays, the sidewalks are, so I'm constantly dodging swinging arms holding lit cigarettes.
Today, I didn't have to dodge anyone, well that was until I got to the Bastille Market. That's where all the Parisians go on Sunday. The market has three aisles with vendors on each side and stretches about two city blocks. The shoppers were crowded in the aisles, so instead of dodging cigarettes, I dodged rolly shopping bags.
Even with the crowds, I still love everything about this outdoor market; how they display the fruits and vegetables, sometimes even jokingly (one of the fruit vendors positioned a few strawberries to look like alligators); the fish vendors with their whole fish laying on ice while they gut them right before you; the sour smell from the fromageries; the vendors who yell at you to buy their products; and the flower vendors who artfully stack whatever flowers are in bloom (and right now tulips were in). Anything you want you can find at this market. All the food groups are represented, and you can even get a quick hot meal. There are roasted chickens, pig legs and lamb legs, several creperies, and there is even "Bob" the paella guy. Need kitchen supplies---check, towels---check, Italian food---check, Lebanese food--check, beautiful clay dishes or a tangine--check, clothes----check, underwear---check (I saw panties piled into a five foot tall pyramid.)
I even got into a French version of "Who's on First?" with the olive vendor. I wanted some tapenade, but the smallest container was a lot. He said it would last, what sounded to me like "kahn jours." I racked my brain trying to remember which number was "kahn." I couldn't, so I asked him, "Quand jours?" (pronouncing it Kwan). He replied, "Oui, kahn jours." We went around like at least three times, then an older gentlemen who was laughing, finally said to me, "Kanze, fifteen." (What can I say, it's not a normal day in Paris without some sort of language/pronunciation problem.)
I spent about 15 euros. With that I got a wedge of some gooey and stinky Pont L'Eveque cheese, olives, tapenade, a head of lettuce, a few carrots, 8 slices of prosciutto, a roasted beet, and a half kilo (a little more than a pound) of super sweet strawberries. I lingered at the market until almost closing, and found out that as it gets closer to closing time, the vendors start yelling out "specials," so the prosciutto was only 1.30 euros and the strawberries were a steal at 1 euro. My purchases made a great meal for at least two. With one of my leftover homemade baguettes, I made some crostini. The sun came out later in the day, so I opened up my window and invited a friend to join me.
Not a bad meal, huh? Both the prosciutto (all of it has been eaten) and the strawberries (I have plans for the leftovers---stay tuned) are probably the best deals I've ever got at a market, and it added an extra exclamation point to an already perfect day. Have any you made one of those steal of a deals at an outdoor market? What was it and where was the market?