With so many amazing shops and marchés to choose from in my quartier (the 15th), people sometimes wonder why I'll travel across town to check out what is being offered at another marché. It's simple: every marché is different. I'm also just a bit neurotic about Organics, so when my favorite organic butcher told me they could also be found at the Saturday marché at Batignolles, I had to pay a visit. What I didn't know at the time is that there are TWO Marchés des Batignolles...
|Inside the Batignolles Covered Marché|
Our first stop was the covered market of Batignolles on Rue Lemercier. This market (once housed in an iron and glass Baltard structure from 1867) is on the ground floor of a graceless apartment building built in the late 70's. From the outside, this marché is neither inviting or promising looking, though once inside it reminds me of some of the smaller markets of Barcelona minus the amazing cafe counters piled high with food. Open every day but Monday, the vendors here make a big effort to seduce their clientele with excellent products and fair prices. We didn't linger long indoors as my main interest was the Organic market somewhere nearby.
|Batignolles covered marke|
Just north of the Arc de Triomphe, this area in the 17th is a lively "Bobo" area (the French word for Hipster). It is Artsy, colorful, friendly and fun. The small streets are inviting and the store fronts fanciful. It's no small wonder; prior to being annexed into Paris by Napolean III in 1860, Batignolles was a small village on the outskirts of Paris and very popular with Impressionist painter Eduard Manet and his friends. The neighborhood still feels small, cozy and more village like than many other parts of Paris.
It didn't take us long to navigate the 4 or 5 blocks between the two marchés to the Saturday only, Marché Bio des Batignolles. Situated on the Blvd des Batignolles, a broad, tree lined street, the market is spacious and easy to navigate. The Sacre Coeur, high on the hill behind it, lends to the atmosphere. Established back in 1994, this was the 1st Organic Market introduced to Paris and it's sudden popularity led to the Sunday Marché Bio Raspail.
By this time we had worked up a good appetite (despite those long gone chocolate croissants). On our walk about, we had noticed a place specializing in fresh seafood, oysters in particular. Seeing as April is the last month with an "R" for awhile, oysters seemed like a good idea to me for lunch. Kim opted for the Scallop and Sea Bass Ceviche.
|This cool printing shop sold wonderful stationary and pens|
|This inviting looking Italian cafe/grocer smelled so delicious. They were packed.|
|There it is: The Sacre Coeur|
In addition to my favorite Bio butcher, several other familiar merchants from Raspail are here at Bio Batignolles.
|I can't get enough of the artichoke hearts from these folks|
|This Bio Italian products vendor brings in the most delicious meats, cheeses and condiments|
|The ever popular Thibaut and his potato galettes|
All the walking around, looking for the Bio Marché worked up an appetite. The next thing I know, Kim and I are devouring pain au chocolat from a corner bakery. Then we saw the most amazing bakery stands... (yes, that's plural)
|Baguettes and Batards|
And a rather remarkable cheese stand...
|Patiently awaiting their turn while eying the merchandise|
I got pretty excited when we came across a stand chockablock with organic dried fruits and nuts (good to know when baking). These folks also have dried tomatoes, assorted chili peppers and jars of olives in all colors and sizes.
The fruits and vegetables looked great too, and it seemed that most of what was being offered had been grown in France - meaning it hasn't traveled very far. Better for the vegetable, better for you and better for the environment too. I like that.
|Cauliflower and carrots looking for a home|
|The last lonely bunch of radishes|
I realize there is a great deal of skepticism around organic produce these days, and I can understand why. But rest assured that the multiple steps required to get a stand permit, much less an organic stand permit are daunting, time consuming and impossible to circumnavigate. Each and every of these vendors must be inspected - annually - by a certified government Organic auditor who verifies that their farm or place of production has been inspected by the official Organic licensing board (that's 2 inspections) Their truck must be inspected annually, their place of residence verified and their farm or place of production inspected by the equivalent of a health inspector and the produce 'graded'.
|Marché Bio des Batignolles|
That's 5 inspections before they are able to even apply or renew their stall license. So when they say the producers at French farmers markets are passionate, they mean it! Which is why some family farms have been in business for generations at the same markets, in the same spot year after year.
|First Peonies of the season - Organic, naturally.|
Even the flower vendors are inspected multiple times to ensure that they are in fact, selling exactly what they say they are selling. All of this lends a sort of confidence in the food supply, which makes it totally worth it to ride the metro across town.
|ATAO, 86 rue Lemercier Paris 17|
|Fines de Claires overshadowing a St Jaques Carpacio.|
We had a perfectly lovely lunch (served with a fabulous 'brown' bread from a bakery I am unable to locate) accompanied by a perfectly balanced 2009, Éric Louis Sauvignon Blanc.
Seems this charming little place has not gone unnoticed either... a trusted fellow lunch lover, John Talbott, wrote about Atao last September! He praised it.
Should you find yourself in Paris some Saturday morning with nothing special to do, wander on over to the 17th and get a little lost. You'll have a great morning, and a terrific lunch. Just the outing a spring day in Paris is made for!
Marché des Batignolles - Metro: Fourche (line 13)
Tuesday through Sats: 8:30am - 1pm / 4pm - 7:30pm
Sundays: 8am - 1pm
Marché Bio Batignolles - Metro: Rome (line 2)
Saturdays only: 9am - 2pm
Atoa - La Dame des Huitres - Metro: Fourche (line 13)
86 rue Lemercier, Paris 17 phone: 01.46.27.81.12
View Marché Bio- Batignolles in a larger map