Marche President Wilson At Christmas
What is the magic of the Parisian open air market? No matter what time
of the year in Paris, somewhere there is an open air market just waiting
for you to discover. Each market is different depending on the arrondissement
but the whole experience is so Parisian.
They say that "we are what we eat" and what a wonderful way to get to
know the Parisian populace by shopping shoulder to shoulder with them.
One of my favorite marchés is the market on the Avenue Président Wilson
in the 16th arrondissement. The market is very close to the Eiffel Tower
and you can reach it by taking the Metro to Iéna stop.
It is open on Wednesday 7 am to 2:30 pm and
again on Saturday from 7 am to 3 pm.
Before you go to the marché, you have to build up your strength.
Having a typical Parisian breakfast will include a café au lait with
rich creamy hot milk and a tartine that is smouthered in delicious butter
and strawberry jam. Take your time and watch the parade of people walking by.
It is a wonderful ritual to kick off each day.
Sip by sip; not gulp by gulp.
At the Marché President Wilson, you will see well-dressed older women
and mothers and nannies pushing prams of children. On Saturday,
the Parisian men are in greater numbers. The day we went was cold with flurries
of snow so thick sheets of plastic were stretched between the rows of food stands
that face each other. In the summer, you see the straw market baskets
but in the winter and on rainy days,
most everyone has the small, two-wheeled covered carts.
Each season is different at the marché. Lots of asparagus, rabbit and lamb
in the spring, and in the summer and fall, the market is brimming with food
and is twice as long as it is in the spring.
The winter market has less food but some interesting and delectable fare.
How about some Frog Legs? They seemed to be all over Paris.
Is there a season for Frog Legs?
The one noticeable difference were all the game birds.
I would suppose the hunting season would have been the reason for the
abundance of quail, pheasant, and other small birds.
They are presented with their heads still attached and the feathers
still on their wings to assist the shopper in identification
of the game bird. Some were so small that you wonder why anyone
would go to all the trouble to prepare a dish with so little meat.
The tomatoes were still beautiful and there is nothing so delicious as
buffalo mozzarella, and a ripe red tomato with a spring of fresh basil
with a healthy splash of good olive oil.
There were fewer flowers but the roses were still exquisite. I love the colors.
There weren't any Christmas floral decorations .... no pointsettias.
Is that a North American Christmas flower?
Notice the clementines. A juicy holiday fruit loved on both sides of the Atlantic
but look how beautiful they are with their leaves still attached.
Can you imagine a big beautiful silver bowl of clementines
in the middle of a Parisian table?
The French love their cheeses. And I love their cheeses as well.
I'm getting hungry.
Time to go make dinner.