Storming the Bastille...for Food

By / Photography By Clay Williams | July 14, 2017
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An olive vendor at the Marche' Bastille Market
An olive vendor at the Marche' Bastille Market

This week, France celebrates Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité—the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789 and a revolution to overthrow tyranny. When I think of the Bastille, though, the first thing that comes to mind is ogling oysters, tasting funky cheeses and following the aroma of chickens spinning on the rotisserie. Shopping for groceries may defeat the purpose of vacation for some, but it may be among my favorite parts of the trip.

Morning in the Bastille Market.
Morning in the Bastille Market.
Photo 1: Langoustines and other seafood at the Poissonnerie.
Photo 2: A flower seller assembles arrangements.

Yes, Paris is a city of restaurants, with brasseries and bistros, fine dining and hip, trendy eateries sprinkled across the city like so much fleur de sel. And I love it. When my wife and I visited recently, we savored some of the best meals the city had to offer. But on Sunday night, we stayed in..

Over a dozen years ago, when we traveled to Paris together for the first time, we were shocked to discover that none of the amazing food recommendations we had been given were available on Sundays, when many businesses, restaurants included, close early. I scrambled and improvised a meal in our apartment and a new tradition was born.

Morning in the Bastille Market.
Morning in the Bastille Market.
Photo 1: For shoppers that aren’t up for cooking or looking for picnic material, rotisserie stands sell roasted meats along with pan-cooked sausage and pork.
Photo 2: Morning in the Bastille Market.

In the years since, we’ve been back for our honeymoon, anniversaries and, most recently, for a special birthday. And each time, I’ve spent my Sunday mornings wandering through Bastille Market.

One of the largest of Paris’s neighborhood markets, the Marché Bastille hosts over 100 vendor stalls including butchers, fishmongers, charcutiers, produce merchants and artisans selling their wares, from honeys to wine.

When Sunday came around on this recent trip, we invited a friend over for dinner and I stormed the Bastille… for food!

Morning in the Bastille Market.
Morning in the Bastille Market.
Photo 1: An herb vendor sells potted and cut herbs and aromatics.
Photo 2: A butcher stand specializing in red meat. These stands often focus on similar types of meat, like poultry, pork, lamb and veal, beef, or occasionally, horse.

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