6 Parisian Markets You Should Know

I have to admit that when I travel, one of the first things I look up in any guidebook (or, increasingly, online) is where to find the closest market. I find that you can really tell a lot about a country and its culture by looking at the way its people eat and shop and one of my favourite places to do such “research” is in Paris. Having lived in Paris for a number of years, I was very familiar with the Marche Montorgueil, as that’s where I would do my shopping. I love the area so much that I always stay there when I return and whilst it used to be a true hidden gem that only locals knew of, it’s now firmly ensconced on the Paris foodie-tourist trail. I still think it has a lot of charm, considering how well-known it’s become.


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With everything from the oldest patisserie in Paris to an old-fashioned hardware store, the pedestrianized rue Monrorgueil is a lovely mix of locals doing their shopping and tourists in awe of the wonderful array of fresh meats, seafoods and produce available on a daily basis.

Marché Montorgueil
Rue Montorgueil, between rue de Turbigo and the rue Réaumur, 75002 Paris.
Open daily, except Sunday afternoon and Mondays. Many stores closed between 12-2/3pm.
Métro: Etienne Marcel, Les Halles or Sentier.

Just a hop, skip and a jump away, on the rue du Louvre, behind the St Eustache church, you’ll find the Marché St Eustache-Les Halles.  Truly a much more local scene than Montorgueil, this market closes down the street on Thursday afternoons and Sunday mornings. You can buy your fruit and veggies here as well as fish, meat, cheeses and a small selection of housewares, crafts and even clothes.  There is a wonderful roasted chicken vendor at the south end of the market, right next to St Eustache. I highly recommend for a quick dinner!

Marché “Saint-Eustache-Les Halles”
Rue Montmartre, between Rue Rambuteau and Rue du Jour, 75001, Paris
Open Thursdays from 12:30 to 8:30 pm and Sundays from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm
Métro: Les Halles

A market I discovered this summer that is similar Montorgueil in that it takes place along a street with stores spilling their wares out onto the footpath is the rue des Martyrs in the 9th arrondissement, just south of Sacré Couer.  With gorgeous pastries and breads from Arnaud Delmontel, slabs of butter you buy by weight and cheeses you can smell from a block away, this is a place for food loving travellers to come and mingle with locals going about their daily shopping.

Rue des Martyrs
Between rue St Lazare and Blvd de Clichy, 75009, Paris
Metro: Notre-Dame-de-Lorette

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When I used to live in Paris, I had friends who lived next door to the Marché d’Aligre, a little further east than the Place de la Bastille so I knew it well.  On returning this summer for the first time in many years, I was pleased to see that little had changed.  Gorgeous produce, cheeses and meat/ seafood share the stall space with a fairly large “brocante” (bric a brac) market that takes place in the place d’Aligre and whilst gentlemen of a certain age (as the French like to say) gather for their weekly catch up on nearby benches.  Don’t forget to check out the covered market there as well!

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Marché d’Aligre
Rue d’Aligre, Between rue du Faubourg St Antoine and Boulevard Diderot, 75012 Paris
Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 7:00 am to 2:00 pm (stands stop selling around 1:30 pm)
Métro: Ledru Rollin

Beauvau Covered Market
Place d’Aligre
Open from Tuesday to Friday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm to 7:30 pm; Saturday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 3:30 to 7:30 pm; Sundays from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm
Métro: Ledru Rollin

The market where I saw the most tourists gawking at the beautiful food, drinks and clothes on sale was the sizeable Marché Bastille.  WIth everything from the ultimate in French fast food (le poulet rôti – roast chicken), early morning wine tastings (well, you have to know what it tastes like before you buy, right?) to funky shopping trolleys, this really does have something for everyone.  Go early to avoid the crowds but take some time to sit and observe – people watching is the best part of any market, wherever you are!

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Marché Bastille
Boulevard Richard Lenoir, between Rue Amelot and Rue St-Sabin, 75011
Open Thursday from 7:00 am to 2:30 pm and Sunday from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm
Metro: Bastille or Bréguet Sabin


Simple Ingredients to Help Jazz Up Your Meals

Adding a little gourmet pizzazz to your everyday meal routine doesn’t have to be a complicated challenge that requires years of culinary training, rather, select a few simple ingredients that contain rich and luxurious flavours to help up the flavour ante of your day-to-day kitchen repertoire. I truly believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how simple it is to take some of your most simple dishes to the next gastro-tastic taste level!

Anna Olson’s White Pizza

Prosciutto and other charcuterie meats are an easy way to instantly add sumptuous flavour to any dish. The texture and unique flavours of these cured meats effortlessly kick up the flavour of any meal. Try adding them into your simple pasta dishes, salads, pizza toppings and sandwiches or wrap a piece of fish, chicken, steak or veal with Proscuitto and take your meal from drab to fab!

Pine Nut lamb Meatballs with Pasta

Fresh herbs make a world of difference to any culinary creation and again, it’s all about the rich flavour experience. My personal favourites are basil, rosemary and parsley because of their versatility and strong aromatic flavours–I can add these fresh herbs to almost any dish without ever being dissapointed. Basil contains a subtle peppery-sweet flavour that goes great in soups, tomato and chicken dishes. Rosemary may be paired with a multitude of ingredients, but it compliments pork, fish, chicken, lamb and roasted vegetables exquisitely. While parsley is great as a garnish, it’s also a wonderful flavour and texture enhancer; it works well in soups, sauces, and with vegetables. Don’t be shy, herb it up!

Balsamic Marinated Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes, Sautéed Mushrooms and Baked Camembert with Herb Oil

Finally, move beyond Cheddar and Mozzarella and try adding a few gourmet cheeses into your meals. This delicious dairy product is another quick and easy way to add an extra layer of flavour to your dishes and step up any meal. The rich taste and luxurious texture that this ingredient adds to any dish will have you effortlessly dining in style. I’m a fan of Gruyere and Camembert cheeses for everyday cooking, and when I’m feeling adventurous I venture down the Blue Cheese path (make sure you’ve got good ventilation in your kitchen). Incorporating these decadent cheeses into fondues, pastas, casseroles, sandwiches and sauces, or enjoying them on their own with crackers and a glass of your favourite wine is definitely a great way to have a taste of the gourmet life—cheese please!


Health Benefits of Greek Yogourt and Delicious Ways to Work it into Dishes

Greek yogourt is causing quite a stir. To many of us, it seems like a new version of an old favourite—which must have a lot of Greeks giggling into their spanakopita! They’ve enjoyed this wondrous stuff for centuries.

So, what makes Greek yogourt different from any other type of yogourt on the grocery shelves? In a word: thickness. Greek yogourt is thick and creamy, and in some cases, even fat-free! Perhaps it’s a gift from the Gods. Astro Original Greek yogourt is available in regular and fat-free, and loaded with twice the amount of protein found in regular yogourt. 

And, before you wrinkle up your nose in protest, no, it’s not thickened with anything weird— no gums and no gelatine. Because Greek yogourt is so much higher in tummy-filling protein, making it a regular part of your diet can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Available in plain, honey, strawberry and peach, Astro Original Greek yogourt is delightful straight up and  versatile in many recipes. In most recipes, it can be used in place of cream, cream cheese, mayo, and sour cream. And, it can be enjoyed at every meal. 

Here are just a few ideas to get you started, but we encourage you to let your imagination run wild. Opa!


Serve with fruit and granola—drizzle with honey or maple syrup.

Great on waffles and pancakes.

Perfect in a smoothie.

Add chives to plain yogourt and serve with hash browns.


Excellent as a dip for raw veggies—add herbs and garlic, or even your favourite dry soup mix.

Add garlic, dill and finely chopped cucumber  and serve with smoked or poached salmon.

Stir a dollop into soup for a hit of creamy richness.


Add finely chopped cucumber, coriander, ginger and serve with curries.

Add to tomato sauce for a creamy pasta or pasta bake.

Marinate chicken or lamb in spiced yogourt with a squeeze of lemon—the enzymes in yogourt are natural tenderizers.

Luscious beef stroganoff calling for sour cream? Use Greek yogourt instead and cut the fat!

And, for dessert: sweeten plain Greek yogourt with maple syrup or honey and serve with gingerbread cake or fruit-filled crepes.

Experiment with adding Greek yogourt to your go-to, homemade ice cream recipes.

Keeping it Local: Spotlight on Calgary Farmers' Markets

Autumn is the time of year that I
really fall in love with my local farmers’
markets! Here in Calgary, we have
been really lucky, receiving some amazingly warm
and sunny weather this October (think 20 degrees and sunny). I
think it could be Mother Nature’s way of making up for our August
(which was the worst weather in a summer month I can remember).
Regardless of the reason, there is nothing better to do on a
weekend afternoon than head down to a farmers’ market to stock up
on local ingredients!

At this time of year, the markets are boasting piles of
pumpkins, mountains of potatoes, and squash as far as the eye can
see. It’s a beautiful thing! Farmers’ harvests are in full bounty,
and just by walking around, looking at all the gorgeous produce,
how could you not be inspired to make a home-cooked meal? Calgary
has around 10 markets in total, including the nearby out-of-town
markets. Here are the 3 that I find myself drawn to the most…

Hillhurst-Sunnyside Farmers’ Market

To me, the Hillhurst-Sunnyside
Farmers’ Market
  is kind of like
the ‘little engine that could’. It doesn’t come close in size to
either of the other markets below, but what this market lacks in
quantity, it makes up for with quality. Quality
example: Route 40 Soup
  specializes in (you
guessed it) soups. Driven by an emphasis on local ingredients, the
entire menu is also gluten-, dairy-, and preservative-free. With
delicious options like Organic French Lentil &
 or Seared Carrot w/
Ginger & Chili
, how can you go wrong?

The real gem of this market is Jenn Chic Cooks.
She is a passionate and talented cook who loves to have fun with
her food. A woman after my own heart! Her main staple is the
(extremely tasty) organic Little Chocolate
, but in addition, she offers culinary
options like complete picnic basket meals, ginger-snap animal
cookies, gluten-free salads, sandwiches, you name it… her options
change weekly (although the Chippers are a steadfast) so make sure
you find out what she has coming up by checking out her website!

The market closed in mid-October, but it will be back

Crossroads Market

This is a market where produce is
king. Almost all of the fruits and vegetables that you will find at
the Crossroads
 are from neighbouring Albertan farms or
from British Columbia. On warmer days you can visit vendors inside
and outside this market, but come winter time, you’ve only got the
inside option. Not to worry, there’s still lots to choose from.
Walking up and down the aisles of Crossroads you will see piles of
sweet corn, beets, coronation grapes (anyone a home-made wine
enthusiast?), bell peppers, the list goes on… and I’m already
getting hungry! Needless to say, this is where I pick up the bulk
of my fruits and veggies when I’m shopping on the weekends.

In particular, I
find TJ’s Fresh Produce Market has an
awesome array of farmers’ bounty. On this particular visit I
purchased some locally grown red onions. There’s just something
about cooking with red onions grown in my vicinity that makes me
smile. Ok, I’ve officially earned my ‘food nerd’ badge

Calgary Farmers’ Market

Don’t like a cool autumn breeze? Don’t
worry, this market is almost completely indoors, aside from a
kettle corn truck outside (might as well grab a bag to munch on
while walking around). Arguably the most ‘mainstream’ of all of the
city’s markets, the Calgary
has a lot to browse through. If I may borrow a line
from Frank Sinatra: ‘If I can make it here, I can make
it anywhere’
. Many of the businesses that started out as
booths in this market now boast successful
storefronts: The Silk Road Spice
(with so many spice offerings you’ll
never want to leave), Maggie’s
(butter + cookies = my
heart), Buttercream Bake
(once again… butter + cupcakes = my
heart), and Phil
& Sebastian’s
(some of the best coffee in
the city) are just a few that come to mind. This market is
often a springboard to success in Calgary’s culinary sector.

One of my favourite stops, without a
doubt, is Sunworks Farm. I
love the fact that they take a holistic and organic approach to
farming. All of their offerings–which include eggs, sausages, and
whole chickens–in addition to being organic, are produced
ethically, and, perhaps, most importantly humanely. And if I’m
shopping for some produce at this market, I tend to stop
by The Cherry Pit for their wide
selection of fruits and vegetables (funnily enough, not just
cherries, as their name would insinuate).

Going Nuts? I am, but
that’s a unrelated topic. This nut-centric business has as many
seasoned nuts as there are days of the year. OK, maybe just half a
year or so, but still, that’s a lot of flavours to try! I recognize
the fact that a person does not go to a farmers’ market with
purchasing nuts in mind, but they are all about the sampling, so
chances are, if you stop by their booth, I guarantee you’ll be
leaving with a bag of something!

Feeling inspired to go out and find
some local ingredients? I hope so!

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