By Carin Olsson, CNTraveler.com
Any local will tell you, there's nothing more Parisian than going to the market. Luckily, there are plenty of outdoor markets scattered across the French capital, and they're worth a visit even if you're not staying in Paris long enough to cook your own meal. Peruse through the rows of bustling stalls, admire fragrant bouquets of fresh-cut flowers, sink your teeth into some sweet organic peaches, and pick up small baggies of dried fruit and nuts. Some markets even offer excellent, ready-made dishes.
The perfect market for first-time visitors to Paris is the charming Marché Maubert. It's small and not overwhelming, and has a great, friendly atmosphere that's not quite as frenetic as the larger markets. If you want to eat while you shop, visit Paris' oldest covered market, Marché des Enfants Rouges. It's much busier than Maubert, but you can tuck into delicious, freshly cooked food while you're there. And we're not talking just typical French fare, either. You can get yourself authentic homemade Lebanese, Turkish, and Moroccan dishes, too -- think lamb tagine, couscous, falafel, and shawarma sandwiches. Who said France didn't have great street food?
For health-conscious travelers, Marché Biologique des Batignolles in the 17th Arrondissement and Marché Biologique Raspail in the 6th Arrondissement boast consistently top-notch organic produce and locally made fruit jams and canned goods. The latter is famous for letting shoppers sample produce, so get ready to sink your teeth into some chunks of juicy cocktail tomato.
To find out which market is closest to you, consult this list. Check the opening hours before you head out, and time your visit so that you arrive right after they've set up shop -- you'll get the best selection of produce and might even score some good deals.