This is the time of year for fresh wild mushrooms in Paris. The marchés have mounds of fresh mushrooms for sale. The best ones are girolles (what Americans call chantrelles) and cepes — big, meaty mushrooms the size of baseballs. As Paris gets back to its rhythm, going to the marches may itself be an act of defiance but moreover, a necessary way to enjoy life as the French do so well — and buy a half kilo of cepes.
Restaurants routinely feature fresh mushrooms on their menus, usually with chicken, veal or white sea bass. Other restaurants just serve sauteed mushrooms by themselves. Either way, you are in for a treat as the mushrooms are in season for only a few short weeks, until later in the winter when the prized black truffle — near the price of gold — is sold. Try Violon d’Ingres, La Chaumette, Les Cocottes, or Josephine (Chez Dumonet) — but check in advance to be sure their daily menus feature fresh mushrooms.
One of our favorite marchés to buy mushrooms is at Rue Cler, where Julia Child shopped when she lived in Paris. The market has changed little since the 1950s when she shopped there. Don’t miss out this season for one of the best treats in Paris, as this truly won’t last!
Other great venues to buy fresh mushrooms include:
Marché des Enfants Rouges (3d Arrondissement). This covered market is one of the oldest in Paris, and is known for its great values. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 8:30am to 1pm and from 4pm to 7pm; Sunday from 8:30am to 1pm. Read more about Marché des Enfants Rouges here.
• Boulevard Raspail (6th Arrondissement). This is known for one of the best organic markets in the city, and is next to the chic Rue du Bac and Boulevard Saint Germain des Pres. Open Tuesday, Friday and Sunday morning (Sunday is organic only).
• Village d’Auteuil (16th Arrondissement). You won’t find tourists here. Just local Parisians buying from their favorite vendors. Open Wednesday and Saturday morning.
• Avenue President Wilson (16th Arrondissement). Close to Trocadero and Place d’Iena, this is reputed to be one of the best open marches in Paris. Open Wednesday and Saturday morning.
• Place de Passy (16th Arrondissement). This is a great place to sit for lunch as well as shop, and is one of the more charming marketplaces in Paris. It has one of the best boucherie in Paris (Roger). Open Tuesday to Saturday from 8:30am to 1pm and from 4pm to 7pm; Sunday from 8:30am to 1pm.
• Rue Gros (16th Arrondissement). A great place to find fresh huitres, and it also has one of the best organic vegetable vendors in Paris (Joël Thiébault). Open Tuesday and Friday morning.