Last time I was in Paris, I attempted going to le Marche des Enfants Rouges but somehow lacked a brain that day and couldn’t find it. Some visiting friends and I set off to have lunch at Paris’ oldest and highly acclaimed market full of artisan and prepared foods – from croissants to fresh sushi. We wandered up the Rue de Bretagne searching for it but got turned around, thus settled on a traditional French café. I’m still confused whether we went on a day it wasn’t open, or missed the bracket of open hours, but the point is that we missed it.
This time around in Paris, le Marche des Enfants Rouges was at the top of my eating list so I recruited two friends to join me on Tuesday to scope it out. There the gate lay, right across the street from that average café I’d dined at two years before – oh joy! We made our way in, investigating the many cuisine options for lunch. I felt like I was wandering through a more rustic version of Chelsea Market – passing by tables full of beautiful, local cheese, produce and bread. We were also overwhelmed by the endless options of prepared food and forced to choose among Italian, Moroccan, Chinese, Japanese and French fare.
In the mood to be somewhat adventurous, we chose Moroccan. This particular vendor had quite the array of food to choose from. After gaping at the choices from behind the glass for about 10 minutes, we finally picked out what we wanted and decided to divide and conquer with our dishes. Lucy chose one of my favorite Moroccan dishes, Pastilla au Poulet – a blend of chicken, almonds, egg, saffron, cinnamon and orange flower cooked in a pastry. The sweetness of the cinnamon and almond are a surprising and unique complement to the other spices.
Craving lamb, I picked the Couscous Agneau with lamb, vegetables and semoule (couscous). Simple, authentic and très delicieux!
Sarah decided on Tagine Kafta, an intriguing looking dish of meat hache, egg, onion and semoule. Since I’ve been here, eggs are everywhere and I find myself eating them in all sorts of prepared ways. This was yet another yummy egg dish!
We all shared Moroccan bread, which looked and tasted like a gigantic and fluffy pita. Lucy and I were also persuaded into ordering Moroccan tea, which was refreshing on such a cold, rainy day but far too sweet for my taste.
For the most part, we polished off our plates…well, er, I polished off everyone else’s plates. It was such a delicious lunch and an awesome change of flavor from a month’s worth of French fare. I’ll definitely be returning to try dishes from each vendor. This is a great stop if you’re looking for a market and happen to be in one of my favorite Parisian neighborhoods (the 3rd arrondissement). For the history behind this incredible market, check out this post from HiP Paris Blog.
Le Marché des Enfants Rouges, 39 Rue de Bretagne, Paris (3rd)
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) Friday & Saturday (8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.) Sunday: 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.