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At the French Market

My French neighbor Evelyne (my “greeter” while I’m staying at Haven in Paris) knew I would be in this neighborhood for a while and offered to take me to the market to teach me how to shop. It seems a little silly that she would need to teach an adult how to grocery shop but its done so differently here. I gratefully accepted the offer. Evelyne has lived here for decades so she knows all the shop keepers and was the perfect guide. I went out the next day with Paul and gave him the same tour and he took a few photos.

Some of the highlights were:
-The spice store. I’ve never seen anything like it. The entire store was big baskets and vats of hundreds of different kinds of raw spices. Most I didn’t even recognize because I’ve only seen them crushed and packaged. I asked the shoplady if I could take photos and she said “yes but only one.” Unforunately I’m not sure this photo captured the essence of the place. Imagine all these spices times six, it really is incredible and makes me want to experiment with all of them.

-The Produce Market. The produce is really fantastic. We got the Sicilian oranges that are in season and so flavorful. I’ve never tasted anything so orange-y. Evelyne was clear to point out what was in season and turned her nose up at anything out of season. I love that.

-The Cheese Store. It is where you buy your cheese, eggs, and cream. Those bowls in the picture are different kinds of fresh creme and they fill up the container for you right there.

-The Butcher. I don’t have any pictures of the Butcher but they have every kind of meat you can imagine and its all beautifully laid out.

-The Flower Shop. There is a floral shop on every street. And they seem to be much cheaper than in the States. It’s so easy to have fresh flowers all the time because they are so accessible.

All of these places are within 2-3 blocks of each other. (And 2 blocks from our apartment.) People in France grocery shop every day. It is so easy I can see why. You just pop in, get your food and get out. We’ve been shopping like this the last week and sort of feel like we’ve discovered the secret to happiness. It is a luxury to have such fresh food every day. We eat a warm baguette every night with our dinner that we bought five minutes before. We are just cooking simple recipes but the ingredients are such good quality that every night feels like a special meal. The other thing is that our children are eating so much better here. Moses is usually my picky kid but he has been so into choosing the vegetables (since we go everyday) that he has been eating them in large amounts.

  1. megan

    February 15, 2011

    i loved this post!
    it's so different than what we do here – especially if you live in any type of suburb. i wish it were possible to incorporate more of this into our daily lives.

  2. Team Cowan

    February 15, 2011

    Wow. This made me want to cry a little bit. Especially the part about the cheese. And kids eating vegetables. :)
    Does the market seem comparable in price to grocery stores in the states?

  3. Megan

    February 15, 2011

    Le sigh.

  4. I Dream Of

    February 15, 2011

    Hi Jordan, First off, I just discovered your blog and I just love it. I'm having a terrific time following along! This post is delicious…all the little neighborhood markets are one of the things I love most about Paris. You've captured it beautifully with both words and photos. Thanks for taking us along on your adventure!

  5. TN

    February 15, 2011

    The "oranges" are called clementines and are great!

    Yes it's great living here and having excellent food. We eat local and in season. Which makes everything just taste better!

    Have fun discovering things here…I would suggest not eating an entire baguette everyday 😉

  6. Caroline

    February 15, 2011

    It sounds like a dream! I love living vicariously through you with these posts until I get the chance to travel there one day myself. Thank you for letting me escape with you from time to time; I am loving your posts.

  7. London Lisa

    February 15, 2011

    What a lovely post. What a dream to shop everyday for fresh ingredients to cook with. I wonder if most European countries shop like this? The photos are lovely, I am enjoying following along with your adventures in Paris.

  8. la la Lovely

    February 15, 2011

    Gorgeous. What an amazing experience for you and you're family! Enjoy every minute and thanks for letting us share in you're adventure!
    xo Trina

  9. Heather Mead Kim

    February 15, 2011

    Oh my, I think this would be my favorite part… it all looks lovely! I am so proud to see how you are wholeheartedly embracing the everyday culture of Paris!

  10. Alice Q. Foodie

    February 15, 2011

    I would be in HEAVEN! So beautiful. I guess it's probably more expensive too, but you would have so much less waste it probably wouldn't matter much!

  11. Anonymous

    February 15, 2011

    LOVE LOVE LOVE! we are thinking about moving to paris next year – we have kids the same age as yours! where is your jacket / sweater from? i love it. :)

  12. chiara

    February 15, 2011

    What an adventure you are on! I am so jealous AND inspired. I feel like I struggle so much with two little boys, and here you are upping and moving to across the ocean with yours! What a great family you have.

  13. love.boxes

    February 15, 2011

    How fun! You look great in the red lipstick!

  14. Martha

    February 15, 2011

    Mmmmm, simple and fresh is the best. I'm curious though – do people in France grocery shop every day or people in Paris? Living abroad, I realized that I couldn't make assumptions of the entire country based on my experience in the (major) city.

  15. Designs Good

    February 15, 2011

    so lovely for you and your family–what a dream!

  16. Annie

    February 15, 2011

    Love the photos. What is your lipstick color? I'm on a hunt…

  17. Joslyn

    February 15, 2011

    oh this is totally dreamy jordan.

    i want to move to paris

  18. stephanie

    February 15, 2011

    wow everything looks so delicious. it must be wonderful to eat fresh everyday.

    i love your lipstick by the way. what color/brand is it?

  19. Timmi

    February 15, 2011

    As I have been following this blog for a bit, it really makes me want to move out of America, its in my opinion becoming such a wasteland. I have been wanted to move to Europe for years and seeing you do it makes me want to so much more…someday..

  20. annabelvita

    February 15, 2011

    Going to the market was my favourite thing about living in France. I visited my old town recently and went back to see the people who ran my favourite stall. They were so sweet. I wrote about it here:

    @martha – in more rural areas there would be more of a weekly market where you'd stock up, although French bread doesn't last more than a day so you have to get that most days. There are still all the little shops for during the week, but supermarkets are making inroads, sadly.

  21. Funnelcloud Rachel

    February 15, 2011

    This sounds so fabulously delicious!

  22. Anonymous

    February 15, 2011

    Oh my goodness. I am just so jealous! I live in San Francisco, as we both know, a wonderful place for food. Last October my husband and I took our girls (ages 4 and 6) to Paris for a week and rented an apartment, shopped at the local stores and farmers markets, etc. I've been trying to find a way to do exactly what you and your family doing but we both have jobs that we have to physically be present for. I hope you continue to post about the food, the people, your apartment, and everything French until you leave. Enjoy your year!

  23. ptkate

    February 15, 2011

    Truly happy for you. Thank you for sharing all of your experiences with us!

  24. robin k

    February 15, 2011


  25. David

    February 15, 2011

    The biggest thing that bugs me about Madrid is that they don't have flower shops like other good European cities. But, I do eat a baguette almost every day and go to the market every day. It's very similar, with the in season fruit. One reason, I go every day, is because every thing comes in such tiny packaging, but I enjoy it. How is smoking in Paris? The other day I bought a baguette and walked home with a sweater around it to protect it from the street smokers.

  26. Jenna Robert

    February 15, 2011

    This makes me want to cry, then move to France.

  27. David

    February 15, 2011

    p.s. oops. I accidentally logged into my husband's account.
    Rachel de

  28. Kath

    February 15, 2011

    Awesome pix Jordan.

    Just wondering how much time it takes having to visit all the individual markets? Does it make a difference that they are so close to your appt? Curious about the time management aspect :-)

  29. Erin

    February 15, 2011

    The french have definitely mastered the food aspect of life.

  30. AlyssaP

    February 15, 2011

    Thanks for sharing – now I'm daydreaming about going back to Paris! I studied abroad there in college, but we lived with a host family just outside Paris, and didn't do much of the shopping ourselves (although our family did shop almost daily).
    Like everyone else, I'm loving your outfit. Is the scarf from France? Do you know where I can get one? Merci!

  31. Ann Marie

    February 15, 2011

    wow! found your blog via ali loves curtis (am friends with ali)…so fantastic that you've moved your little family to paris. my husband and i hope to live abroad for a year or two as well, and this just makes it seem so much easier.


  32. Jennifer

    February 15, 2011

    I second the loving the outfit! I love elephants, where did you get that adorable scarf?!?!?

  33. Mariela

    February 15, 2011

    love your photographs!

  34. jess @ fushmush

    February 15, 2011

    I love that this kind of grocery shopping is still possible in Paris. Just like in Julie and Julia!

    I spent 6 weeks in Paris once for work. Everyday I would see Parisians on their way home from work with a baguette tucked under an arm. We joked that to have French citizenship you had to carry a baguette around with you. Now whenever we see someone carrying a baguette we say "they must be Feeeerunch!".

  35. abby

    February 15, 2011

    heavenly! this makes me so hungry- what a delightful post.

  36. Debbie

    February 15, 2011

    Wow…so beautiful, it makes me want to rush back. Just wondering, have you made it to the giant flea market yet?

  37. kalanicut

    February 15, 2011

    This post brings a tear to the eye of anyone who has lived in Europe. Dreamy. Just wanted to add about kids eating veggies – our Little Bug was much more interested in trying lots of different foods when she was involved in the shopping and helped in the kitchen & she learned some little chores to "help" in the kitchen too. She will try anything now. You've definitely hit on something Jordan.

  38. ashley maureen

    February 15, 2011

    jordan, this is fantastic. thank you so much for sharing these bits and pieces. living in the states, this all sounds so luxurious… but for them it is standard. i love the idea of eating with intentio; only with whole, seasonal, fresh ingredients. looking forward to see more of your journey!!

  39. communikate.

    February 15, 2011

    gorgeous. every single ounce of this post is oozing with it.

  40. Busy as a Bee in Paris

    February 15, 2011

    gorgeous photos! you are making me rediscover the place i call home, of course, i'm not directly in the city, more in the countryside, but man are you making me want to get into the city!!! i've been here 5 years and i've never been to a spice market like the one in your photo!! amazing! thanks for sharing!

  41. Sara

    February 15, 2011

    Jordan, I think that you were born to live in France – it just seems to suit you and your family so perfectly. I am loving living vicariously through your blog and enjoying hearing about all of your adventures. Live it up girl – make sure that you take loads of pictures :)

  42. Heather

    February 15, 2011

    Eeek! I found you today at Ohdeedoh and you blog is my new fave. I went around reading all the goodness about Paris and France and love your accounts of the "day to day" with your kiddos. I guess I lost hope in living in Paris when we had our daughter…but again you have given me such inspiration. I'll be reading here daily for more. Thanks, Heather

  43. New York City Hotels

    February 16, 2011

    I love your post and Paris is amazing city, I also I wonder if most European countries shop like this? its great.

  44. Katy

    February 16, 2011

    There is nothing better than shopping this way. I love it when we visit France and get to do this.

  45. Laetitia

    February 16, 2011

    Thanks you so much for describing my city in a so lovely way :))) ( I'm french from paris, living in Paris)

    To answer questions from your readers, YES we do shop like this.

    Living in Paris means little storage space, therefore it is often a need to shop every day.

    However we do not buy all into those little business every day. For my part I will do my shopping in a small supermarket (Monoprix). You can find these shops all over Paris, in which I purchase all basic products.
    We often do both. A number of products in the supermarket / hypermarket, then complete by small traders on a daily basis. It's true that takes some time, but i find a real pleasure to go buy my food in those shops.

    We are lucky in Paris, to find on every corner of our streets, shops to buy our daily products, and therefore walk from one to the other, the rest of France might take more often theirs cars.

    To be half spanish, have lived in Ireland, and an ex italian boyfriend…we all shop this way ;-)))
    That's how we do it in the old continent ;-)) Come to visit us !!!

  46. valerie

    February 16, 2011

    i wish we have markets like this in singapore! :)

  47. little t

    February 16, 2011

    I love your elephant scarf.

    And I love grocery shopping in France. Bravo for adapting to the French way x

  48. Becky-Lee

    February 16, 2011

    I just found your blog, I must have had my head in the sand all this time, ( I wish u could see the picture in my head right now of that sentence! ) and I just had to say wow, it's almost 1am here, and I've been reading for an hour, what I'm most stuck on in the sence of happiness I'm feeling right now, somehow your amazingness has made me feel incredibly lucky in my own life, counting my own blessings is so rewarding! Anyway I'm so glade ur enjoying Paris, and can't wait to share ur adventures while being boring back home. Ur boys sound so great, and we've just decided to try and make a baby on our honeymoon (which is 10 months away, so that's like planning at least 19 months in advance!) but we don't have a lot in the way of finances, and so planning is essential, but I'm struggling for advise on the Internet, I'm trying to think past very cheap unisex onesies. Is it crazy to think past simply saving at this very early stage?? Any advise out there???


  49. theeclecticlife

    February 16, 2011

    I'm jealous and so intensely intrigued all at the same time. Can't wait to read more on how to live like a true Parisian. Amazing photos btw! Your husband is quite the talent.

  50. jennifer ▲ i art u

    February 16, 2011

    so so beautiful. what a dream jordan! thank you for sharing your life–such an inspiration!

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