Harboring the fantasy that you can traipse through a Parisian marché like Amélie? Not so fast—there’s a decorum that isn’t obvious to newcomers. Here, tips from Australian-born Shaun Kelly, chef of seasonally driven bistro Yard (33-1/40-09-70-30; $$$), who had to learn on the fly when he arrived in Paris two years ago.
Go early. Chefs start picking through the stands by 7 a.m. What’s left over will still be good, but not the crème de la crème.
Dig in. Don’t be afraid to eat while you shop (even if the guidebooks say it’s forbidden). The crêpe stand at Marché Président Wilson, in the 16th Arrondissement, never has a long line.
Get your bread fix. Forgo the street-stand baguette and head to the local boulangerie instead—loaves are baked multiple times daily and the selection is abundant.
Don’t touch! Point to the produce you want and the purveyor will choose the ripest specimen for you.
Say “Cheese.” Ask to sample fromage before buying—sellers can be surprisingly generous—and find out how it will mature; the taste can change substantially over a week.
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150
Alexandra Marshall is Travel + Leisure's Paris correspondent.
Appeared as "How to Shop a Market À La Francaise" in T+L Magazine.