Aligre Market – The Best Place For Food Shopping In The 12th

Place de la Bastille is where the 4th, 11th, and 12th Arrondissements meet (and nearly the 3rd as well). Running east from the place is Rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine. A leisurely 10-minute stroll along this street, into the 12th Arrondissement, brings you to Rue d'Aligre, home to perhaps the best food market in all of Paris.

Arrive at the Aligre market in the morning and you will be rewarded with a riot of color & flavor — flowers, fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese, and virtually any other food product available in Paris. On every day except Monday the street is transformed into a food lover's paradise with everything from fish to fromage, pineapples to pinenuts, in the outdoor market stalls, in the shops that line the street, and in the covered market.


Three Markets in One

Aligre Street Market

Elsewhere in Paris, the Aligre market would be considered three markets. The street is lined with small shops specializing in cheese or fish or meat or bread or patisseries. This is what's typical of most Parisian market streets, like Rue Poncelot in the 17th and Rue Mouffetard in the 5th. The fromagerie and the fishmongers are certainly worth the visit. But, Rue d'Aligre has a couple of surprises for you.

From Tuesday to Sunday the street itself is filled with the stalls of food vendors, displaying the best of the produce of France. Here's where you find perhaps the greatest variety and choice of fresh fruits and vegetables in Paris. It's am amazing, bountiful choice for the food shopper and a wonderful place to stroll and feel like part of the culinary life of the city.


Aligre Cheese Shop, photo by Mark Craft


But that's not all. At the end of the street the Marché Couvert Beauvau (covered market) is dedicated to permanent food stalls and an array of butchers, fromageries, and stalls selling wine, spices, coffee, flowers. and a selection of traditional, old-school French meats and fowl — think cervelle de veau and langue de veau. It's a quick education in the French foods you may not be familiar with.

Come to think of it, perhaps the Aligre market is four markets in one, not just three, for on the place outside Marché Couvert Beauvau is a regular a flea market filled with antiques, "collectibles", clothing, used books, and surprisingly, lot of shoes !


History of the Aligre Market


Before this neighborhood was part of 12th Arrondissement of Paris, it was a suburb called Faubourg Saint-Antoine — "faubourg" designating suburb and "Saint-Antoine" after an abbey that was located there. At that time, the Aligre market was the primary source of food for the faubourg as well as place where craftsmen — carvers, gilders, polishers and cabinetmakers — sold their wares. The era when the craft-workers populated the quartier is echoed today in the furniture stores that are still found in the area.

Later on, at the end of the 19th century, when the nearby Gare de Lyon station opened, the area attracted North African immigrants (called maghrébins) who arrived from Marseille by train. Some of these new arrivals established market stalls at Aligre. In fact, most of the current vendors at the Aligre market are third- or fourth-generation vendors who have followed the family trade. It's a generational business as the stalls and even the permits are passed down from father to son. The blend of Arabic and French voices are the spirit of the Aligre market.

Marché Couvert Beauvau was built in 1779 and is not only one of the oldest in the city, but one of the very few covered markets still in operation in Paris.

Aligre Market Resources

Aligre Market, photo by Mark Craft

The Outdoor Market
  • Rue d'Aligre, 12th Arrondissement
  • Metro: Ledru-Rollin
  • Tuesday to Saturday, 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Sunday, 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM
  • The market, as well as many surrounding shops, is closed on Monday
Marché Couvert Beauvau
  • Tuesday to Saturday, 8:00 AM to 1:30 PM, then 3:30 PM until 7:30 PM
  • Sunday, 8:30 AM to 1:30 PM
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