Top tips to learn French at markets in Paris

Paris is a haven for bon vivants. Although there are numerous supermarkets, chain shops and fast food restaurants, markets in Paris are still very much alive, kicking and full of fresh fruit & veg.


While in Paris, whether on holiday or staying for longer, we suggest making like the locals and heading over to your local market – you’ll be able to learn French in Paris whilst stocking up on delicious fresh and seasonal products!

However, before setting off, here are a couple of things about markets in Paris to bear in mind:

1.) Timing

Different markets are held on different days of the week – so check first rather than assuming they will be held on a Sunday. They usually kick off early, around 7am, and finish by 2pm. For excellent value, hit the stalls near closing time when sellers are keen to offload their wares.

What time does the market open/close? Le marché commence/termine à quelle heure?

2.) Prices

Prices are usually fixed, but if you’re friendly there’s no harm in trying a bit of bartering – as a minimum you’ll get a few extra strawberries or slightly rosier apples. It’s a great chance to practise and learn French. Simply smile and go for it – the effort is always appreciated.

Excuse me (get attention): Excusez-moi madame/monsieur
I’d like to buy a melon: Je voudrais un melon
How much does it cost? Combien ça coûte?
Thank you and see you soon: Merci madame/monsieur, à très bientôt

3.) Behaviour

Markets in Paris can be busy and bustling, so be prepared for a little shoving and expect your toes to be crushed by passing shopping caddies. However, do be patient and wait your turn – it’s a great opportunity to exchange a little small talk with the customers standing next to you and learn French vocabulary into the bargain!

It’s a lovely day, isn’t it? Il fait une journée magnifique, non?
Do you know where I can buy…? Savez-vous où on peut acheter

You’re now ready to practise your French at your local market. If you fancy venturing a little further afield, here are some of our favourite markets in Paris where you can hone your skills and learn French:

Marché des Enfants Rouges

This is the oldest remaining market in Paris and dates back to 1615. It’s now a trendy place to grab a bite to eat with an eclectic choice of food stands and restaurants.

I’d like to eat in: J’aimerais manger sur place
To take away: à emporter
Do you serve ….? Servez-vous…?

39 rue de Bretagne, 75003
Tue-Thu 8.30am-1pm, 4pm-7.30pm; Fri-Sat 8.30am-1pm, 4pm-8pm; Sun 8.30am-2pm
Métro: Filles du Calvaire or Saint-Sébastien Froissart

Marché de Belleville

Expect to see a whole new side to Paris! Belleville, famous as a Paris Chinatown, has an excellent value markets along its main boulevard. You’ll see strange vegetables alongside more traditional wares. Be prepared for lots of shouting in lots of different languages.

What is it? Qu’est-ce que c’est?
Which country does it come from? XXX vient de quel pays?
Do you sell… ? Est-ce que vous vendez… ?
A kilogram: un kilo
Two hundred grams of cheese: deux cents grammes de fromage
A dozen: une douzaine
Roughly/ approximately: environ, à peu près
I’d like a half a kilo of apples, please: Je voudrais un demi-kilo de pommes, s’il vous plaît

Boulevard de Belleville, 75011
Tuesday and Friday 7am – 2.30pm
Metro: Belleville

Marché Raspail

Although there aren’t yet many organic markets in Paris (things are slowly changing with more and more organic shops popping up), this market is rather enticing. There more than 50 stalls to meander that sell everything from soaps to wine with a fruit and vegetable focus.

Organic: biologique (bio)
Fresh: frais (m), fraiche (f)
Seasonal: de la saison
Where was it made? D’où vient….?

Boulevard Raspail, 75006
Metro : Notre Dame des Champs

Sun 9am-2pm Bio produce
Mon-Fri 7am-2.30pm general produce

Have fun practising your French at your local Paris market! Why not get some expert guidance private French lessons adapted to your level?

Happy shopping and here are some more ideas for markets in Paris.