Buying Plants (& Chickens) in French at the Marché aux Fleurs

geraniumsEveryone knows that a French apartment isn’t complete without geranium gushing from the windows boxes. Your French tutor has held your hand as you’ve bought new appliances for and hung pictures in your dream French apartment. Let us now take a stroll through the Marché aux Fleurs to purchase some houseplants and the great thing about this market is we can also make your urban farming dreams come true too. You don’t dream of having a chicken coop on your Parisian terrace? Fair enough, we’ll stick to the flowers.

Location: Place Louis Lépine and Quai de la Corse 75004 Paris, France

Transportation:  metros lines 4 at Cité

Hours: Open 8am to 7:30pm everyday (the bird market is only open on Sundays from 8am to 7pm)

Admission: free

Photo by Girls’ Guide to Paris.

The Marché aux Fleurs is located on the island Ile de la Cité and not far from the Hôtel de Ville. The market has been here since 1808, but the current wrought iron pavilions that house the flower and plant merchants were constructed in the early 1900s. When in the center of the city, this is the place to go for potted plants, cut flowers, shrubs, annuals, perennials and even large trees.

On Sundays, the marché aux oiseaux is also open and numerous kinds of birds, such as canaries, macaws, and parrots are for sale. In cages on the ground you will see rare chickens, framer’s extra hens, roosters, and even pigeons. Besides the birds there are aquariums with fish and cages with hamsters, rabbits, and Guinea pigs. New birdhouses and antique birdcages are sold alongside birdseeds and animal food. It is noisy and colorful, but also a great place to practice your French!

Here’s some vocabulary and helpful phrases to help you during your visit:

How much is it?  Combien cela coûte?
How much do I owe you?  Combien est-ce que je vous dois?
I don’t understand, can you repeat slower, please?  Je ne comprends pas, pouvez vous répéter plus lentement, s’il vous plaît ?
gardening: le jardinage (du jardinage); flower: un fleur; tree: un arbre; bush: un buisson; cage: une cage; bird: un oiseau; sign: un panneau
to sing: chanter; to walk around: se promener; to plant: planter; to bloom: fleurir; to grow (flowers): faire pousser (des fleurs); to smell good / bad: sentir bon / mauvais; to dig: creuser

Interested in private French lessons in Paris? Call or contact us to organize a lesson at the Marché aux Fleurs or at another site “off the beaten path.