Garden to Table: Organic and Farmer Direct Products in Paris
Rediscovering the picturesque in the 21st century concerns sustainability. Every garden is designed to be both utile et agreable (useful and beautiful) encouraging our appreciation of the kitchen garden or potager. A potager was both a place–a garden where vegetables were grown to make soups (potage) and a type of stove, where wood fires would produce a consistent temperature. The most famous kitchen garden in France was built for Louis XIV at Versailles from 1678-1683 laid out by the remarkably talents Jean Baptiste de la Quintinie. The Potager du Roi still produces fruits and vegetables today, participating in response to gardeners and consumers growing concerns about their food and the origins of what ends up on their plate. More and more people are rediscovering food gardens in the form of organic markets, locally sourced greengrocers and farmer direct sales outlets, often assisted by new technologies. Here are some of the best farm to table offerings in Paris.
Organic Open Air Markets in Paris
Paris has almost 100 covered and open air markets, four of which are exclusively organic. The largest and liveliest of these is the Marché Biologique des Batignolles. Every Saturday morning dozens of market stalls take over the leafy median of Blvd des Batignolles between Place de Clichy and métro Rome. On offer are seasonal fruits and vegetables (some of which are local), cheese, meat, honey, preserves, prepared foods as well as a bustling ambiance occasional accompanied by music or other festivities. Many of the same vendors can be found on Friday mornings at the Marché Bio Raspail and a smaller number of other vendors sell their wares on Saturday mornings at le Marché Bio Brancusi in the 14th arrondissement and at the recently added Marché Bio Père Chaillet held on all day on Wednesday and Saturday mornings in the 11th.
Locally Sourced Food Shops
There is a growing number of locally sourced food shops around the capital. With nine shops in Paris, Au Bout Du Champ (meaning at the end of the field) offers Parisians a chance to purchase a select range of fruit and vegetables picked that morning directly at their repertoire of farms within a 150 km radius of Paris. Their products aren’t necessarily organic, however, they are from small producers and reduce the supply chain and transportation of goods.
A similar concept, C’Juste Paris aims to reconnect Parisians with fresh farm produce while in the process reducing the supply chain and sales conditions for farmers. These are available in shops in the north and east of Paris and in various suburbs which adhere to their ethical charter.
Found in the 19th district, L’Epicerie Kilogramme offers locals a zero-waste approach to their household shopping. Customers are invited to bring in their own reusable containers and bags to fill with their bulk products and locally sourced food items. They also host DIY workshops on how to make cosmetics, cleaning products and other ways to reduce waste. Following the motto of “feed yourself well and with pleasure,” La Récolte offers seasonal and locally sourced produce as well as some prepared food at its two boutiques in Paris in the 3rd and 17th districts. If you would like to get involved yourself, La Louve is a food coop that stocks produce, dairy and meat products, but also traditional “supermarket” goods, all direct from producers and staffed solely by members of the collective.
Chefs and Restaurants with their own Gardens
Here are some restaurants (and chefs) who bring support local gardeners (called maraichers) and seasonal vegetables in their menus:
Alain Passard, the first Parisian chef to endorse vegetables on his menus is the holder of three-Michelin stars. He also grows his own vegetables.
Ore, Alain Ducasse’s chic restaurant within the Château de Versailles and using vegetables from the potager of the palace.
Agripolis, Hotel Mercure de Boulogne-Billancourt: a hotel that has developed a 300m2 rooftop garden!
Verjus, 52 Rue de Richelieu 75001
Mûre, 6 rue saint Marc, 75002 is supplied from their farm in the 3.8 hectare farm in the Seine & Marne.
Wild & The Moon, Marché Saint Honoré 75001, plant based salads and juices, they are making gardens in the city feel to their cafe/comptoir.
l’Epicerie Vegetale, 51 rue de la Fontaine, 75011.
La Maison Plisson, 93 Boulevard Beaumarchais 75004 and Marché Saint Honoré, 75001.
Au Passage, 1 Bis Passage Saint-Sebastien, 75011.
Le Relais, 10 Rue la Vacquerie, 75011. Farm to table restaurant which also grows fresh herbs in its rooftop garden.
Bon appetit !
Interested in visiting the Potager du Roi when at Versailles? We can customize a tour for you with a visit to the Positive Café, the local restaurant that promotes vegetable dishes, salads and fresh juices.
We can design a walking tour of Paris markets and visits to local restaurants that specialize in fruits and vegetables! Feel free to contact us here to discuss a custom tour.
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