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A tour of the Marché d’Aligre (Paris) with Context Paris

Paris 75012 on Context Aligre market tour on eatlivetravelwrite.comLongtime readers won’t be surprised to see another Paris food tour here on the blog – many of you know food tours are something I actively seek out wherever I go.  I’m a huge fan of Context tours because they offer something a little different – claiming to be “committed to the character of the city”, Context is not a “tour company” per se but rather, a “network of scholars and specialists – in disciplines including archaeology, art history, cuisine, urban planning, history, environmental science, and classics – who, in addition to their normal work, design and lead in-depth walking seminars for small groups of intellectually curious travellers”. So they don’t just offer food-related tours – perfect if you are travelling in a group of people whose interests vary.  I’ve already taken three Context Paris tours over the past couple of years (Baguette to Bistro, Bobo Palate and the Chocolate Walk) and have been very impressed so I was thrilled to accept their generous offer of a spot on the Aligre Market tour this summer.

Buying bread on Context Aligre market tour on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe Marché d’Aligre is a neighborhood market in the 12th arrondissement – and although I know it quite well (I had friends who lived next door when I lived in Paris so we were often there – the prices were right for our meagre student/ teacher budgets!) it is not so well known by tourists yet well-frequented by locals. The tour promised a stroll through the market during which we would learn about “how the market functions, food provenance and the concept of terrior, how Parisians shop for their food and the impact of this on the French diet and gastronomic philosophy.”  Sign me up then!  Led by one of a number of “docents” (a chef, cookbook author, food journalist, or Parisian epicure), your experience will vary depending on who is your guide. But that is the beauty of these walking tours – different points of view!  It’s why, even though I “know” the market” I am always happy to go with someone else – there’s always more to learn!

Bread on Context Aligre market tour on eatlivetravelwrite.comAs with most food tours, we picked up some food along the way, guided by the docent’s suggestions and “what looked good on the day”.  So every tour’s picnic at the end will be slightly different.

Cafe in Paris 75012 Context Aligre market tour on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe Aligre market is always an explosion of colour and life..

Tomatoes at Aligre market on Context Paris Aligre market tour on eatlivetravelwrite.comSeafood at the Aligre Market on Context Paris Aligre market tour on eatlivetravelwrite.comOnions on Context Paris Aligre market tour on eatlivetravelwrite.comHerbs in market on Context Aligre market tour on eatlivetravelwrite.comTo be honest, even with no guided tour, it’s a feast for the eyes.

Watermelon in a wagon on Context Paris Aligre market tour on eatlivetravelwrite.comWhat a guided tour will give you is so much information that you can’t read in a guide book or online – someone’s personal experience of this market which is priceless.

strawberries and apricots on Context Aligre market tour on eatlivetravelwrite.com Seafood selection on Context Aligre market tour on eatlivetravelwrite.com meat and poultry on Context Aligre Market tour on eatlivetravelwrite.comButchers prize on Context Paris Aligre market tour on eatlivetravelwrite.com Fruit at Aligre market on Context Aligre market tour on eatlivetravelwrite.comIn particular, this tour is one you should aim to take at the beginning of a trip to Paris because it offers so many ideas and suggestions of things to go back to the market to explore in much greater depth.  If you’ve never been to a market in Paris before, they can be intimidating places – not knowing how to shop (can I touch the produce or not) and the market customs can be overwhelming. A market tour is a great way to ease yourself in and help you feel more confident on your own.

Cheese selection on Context Paris Aligre market tour on eatlivetravelwrite.com Charcuterie and Chevaline on Context Paris Aligre market tour on eatlivetravelwrite.comThis particular tour was a revelation for me as I discovered the tiny, tucked-away-in-an-actual-store-behind-the-market-stalls Le Garde Manger

Le Garde Manger Context Aligre market tour on eatlivetravelwrite.comAt first I was just happy to see the lovely array of Alsacian products including my favourite Christine Ferber jams but then I spied the flammekueche (tarte flambée). Not only did we get to taste a slice (heavenly) but we learned that these tartes are made in Alsace, then exported to Trader Joe’s in the US where they are sold as Tarte d’Alsace. Who knew (and boo for there not being a Trader Joe’s in Canada).

Our tour ended in Le Baron Rouge – a bar David Lebovitz classifies as one of his favourites in Paris – picking up some wine “en vrac” to enjoy at the parc nearby…

Le Baron Rouge bar on Context Paris Aligre market tour on eatlivetravelwrite.comLe Baron Rouge on Context Aligre market tour on eatlivetravelwrite.comI’d definitely recommend this tour for anyone who wants to discover a market through a local’s eyes and learn how to nagivate the Parisian market scene. If you take this tour at the beginning of a trip to Paris, I am sure you will discover some places you want to re-visit (Le Baron Rouge, Le Garde Manger) and this is a lovely way to ease into learning about what might be a new Paris neighbourhood for you. As for me, I thouroughly enjoyed getting to know a neighbourhood I already knew from a different perspective :)

Other Context Paris tours I have taken and enjoyed:

Baguette to Bistro
Bobo Palate
Chocolate Walk

Check out all of the Context Paris tours here.

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Disclosure: I was a guest of Context Paris on the Aligre market tour. I was not asked to write about this, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions are 100% my own.

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8 Responses to A tour of the Marché d’Aligre (Paris) with Context Paris

  1. Context Travel August 19, 2014 at 08:52 #

    Wonderful article, Mardi! It was a pleasure to have you on the walk, as always!

  2. Mr. Neil August 19, 2014 at 09:23 #

    Now this is the sort of “tour company” [sic] that I love…sounds wonderful.

    Perhaps they can do one in Nerac? ;-)

  3. Ketty August 20, 2014 at 03:48 #

    Loving all your pics! I’m going to Paris next month and can’t wait!

  4. carmen August 20, 2014 at 04:49 #

    beautiful pics!

  5. Chiara August 20, 2014 at 08:43 #

    I’m going to Paris next month so will check these tours out. Your pictures have well and truly sold it to me!x

  6. Coco in the Kitchen August 21, 2014 at 17:36 #

    Look at those tomatoes – I’d want to take them ALL home!
    And red onions with their green tops. They’re a lucky find.
    Beautiful tour!

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