At heart I am a market man, preferring the smells and sights of fresh fruits and vegetables displayed in the open air as opposed to those stale supermarket lanes. I love the hustle and bustle, the shouting and yelling, the general organic humanity that is the market place. Besides, there always seems something alien and mechanical about the whole trolley adventure anyway – much better a twine hand basket . So if you are like me then you will no doubt enjoy Le Marché de la Place de la Réunion. True enough, there are surely more glamorous and sophisticated markets, but if you wish to taste what the average Parisian lives, then this is as ideal a market as you will come across. It is a market that has remained true to itself, that is to say, it has never worn any makeup for the passing tourist. It is without doubt the most intimate of glimpses into the Parisian life.

It has become a ritual for me, as each week I discover the stalls and their colorful produce afresh. Their details and contents vary only according to seasonal changes. As I say, it is an honest market for it has remained off the tourist trail.

If you wish to truly breath Paris then you should familiarize yourself with the most fundamental of its rituals, the foremost of which is the Saturday market expedition.

 

Naniso Tswai
I have travelled afar and aplenty but never before have I met a city such as Paris. In fact, “that Paris exists and anyone could choose to live anywhere else in the world will always be a mystery to me” (Woody Allen: Midnight in Paris). This powerful quote both explains and encapsulates my relationship with Paris. Young, energetic and full of life, almost instantly her cuteness consumes you, coursing through your veins until all you desire is to never leave her embrace. But it is not all catwalk perfections, as despite her elegant demeanour, living here is an altogether different and gritty affair. For the tourist Paris dons her most beautiful frock and flirts an irresistible charm, but were you intent on becoming a permanent fixture, prepare yourself for her invariably coarse moods. She is obstinately and often infuriatingly French. She wears her French mantra, indeed breaths it as if though to do anything else would be an affront to her flag. Even when I ventured into her sprawling contours expecting her personality to become diluted, however I was both relieved and perplexed by the resoluteness of character. She is France at its most unyielding, arrogant and concentrated self, but damn, do I love to love her. I invite you to follow my own discoveries of Paris’s hidden corners and whispered beauties.

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