Marche Saint Germain wasn’t a happening place when I started to claim the 6th arrondissement my temporary home for weeks and months at a time, over the last few decades. But it has had an awakening over the last 5-6 years and that’s because of a renovation (to the renovation of about 3 decades before) by a new owner who smartly contracted with some renters that are a welcome to the neighborhood.
If you tour around the exterior, you’ll want to invite yourself into the florist shop, as you will find yourself soon captivated by the overflowing plants and flowers on the exterior covered walkway which naturally tempts you inside. https://architizer.com/projects/marche-saint-germain/
But then, stay curious as to what you will find around the corner from the florist, and you will soon encounter an Apple store that is not always heavily burdened with customers like the one, for instance, at the Louvre. On the same side of the Marche’s Apple store, there is also a Uniqlo store and a Nespresso store. The ‘wait in line’ Nespresso store closed on rue Bonaparte about the time that this one made its debut. Like the Apple store, at least the times I have been on a mission at either Uniqlo or Nespresso, neither were weighted down with customers. I am just not sure why, but I like it!
Then there’s the place with the pigs on the door and windows: L’avant Comptoir du Marche’s logo (https://camdeborde.com/en/) lets you know what it is about…yes, pork…a wine bar ala small plates, often of pork origin. This 3rd location is much like Chef Camdeborde’s other two tapas bars which you will find next door to his ever popular restaurant, Comptoir (officially called Le Comptoir du Relais) near the metro Odeon. What’s nice about all three tapas places is that they open for lunch and continue to stay open nonstop, allowing someone like me that finds myself eating at odd hours, keeping them as possibilities to pull out of my brain’s computer files when needed.
This one, in particular, has a bit more elbow room and provides seating! The others are usually all about standing room only. Even though my usual visiting hours there take place when it is not jammed, I find it is not uncommon to have someone standing next to me wanting to have a chat. And, it is even not uncommon that I am offered a share of someone’s order or I return the favor.
I was told the first tapas bar was started to provide a sort of alternative to waiting in line to get in his restaurant. Almost like, have a glass of wine and an appetizer before your turn comes up for the restaurant, yet I am not sure how you save your place in the queue. And, I’m guessing most customers don’t make their way to Comptoir for dinner as one can easily fill up on the tasty small plates offered.
To be honest, I have not eaten at this tapas bar, this third one, at the Marche Saint Germain. I always intend to do so but somehow, timing or too many patrons, have thrown me off in doing so. I will make a greater point of it the next time I am in Paris. The menu I see online seems to have expanded too since I last looked at one and seems to lean more in my ‘flavor’ when I next choose to make a stop.
But what has confounded me a bit is why I haven’t made the food market stalls inside the Marche a regular stop for me? I believe I’ve heard high prices exist but I’m not so sure I would agree. I love to go to the Sunday organic farm market near the Hotel Lutetia but the Marche could easily be a ‘grab and go’ for dinner fixings. Just scroll through some of the photos I collected one day when gliding through the aisles. Especially the fresh seafood and meats are not so easy to obtain in the chain grocery stores in the neighborhood. And the cheeses..as you can see, well, there is an array!
Never ending supply and sumptuous varieties of cheese!
This technique of salting and drying fish was first introduced to me when I was visiting a childhood American friend, living in Brittany. Her next door neighbor had some fish ‘hanging out to dry’ so my friend starting asking her some questions. She was a fisherman’s wife so that explains her knowledge on this one. At first I thought I was seeing something ‘fishy’ until she explains that this was a tried and true technique! You can ‘google’ how to do it online. They say it keeps up to 2 months this way. So, when I saw this hanging over this fishmonger’s shoulder, I am pretty certain he is using the salt/dry technique or certainly some other technique that is new to me!
As you can see, there are a slurry of products available–fresh, canned, deli(tratieur), pickled, jarred, potato chips to sauerkraut (which just so happens to mention champagne on its label!) And, if that is not enough, Marks and Spencer (well known British grocery store) also has a store in the Marche. Soooo…eats and drinks are covered!
Add some flowers to the table…
If dessert choices are not heavenly looking enough at Marks and Spencer, Gerard Mulot is just a few steps away. By the way, when last in Paris, I see there is another restaurant added to the impressive display of Marche shops. I have hopes that it was able to survive the pandemic woes so I can give it a try. They had seating out on the covered ‘terraced’ walkway which will usher me in next time I am in Paris.