A few weeks ago, my friend, Connie, and I spent an entire day on the Île de la Cité to take in all that it has to offer, which is a surprising amount for such a small piece of land. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting about and uploading my photos from this trip, in a sort of series, I suppose! Some of them may be heavier on the stories behind the locations, but today we’ll start more visual with the Marché aux Fleurs!
In 1808, a small plot of land on the Île de la Cité was given to the city to create a market. It was originally named ‘Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux’ which is a bit of a mouthful, and sold a mixture of birds and flowers to the inhabitants of Paris. It was officially inaugurated in 1809, and has been a popular location ever since.
It’s really easy to find as well, sitting right next to the only metro station on the island, Cité. In 2014, Elizabeth II visited the market on her trip to Paris to commemorate D-Day. During this visit, she unveiled a sign, revealing a name change to the market – it is now ‘Marché aux Fleurs Reine Elizabeth II’, which isn’t really less of a mouthful than its original moniker.
Although the bird market is now only on Sundays, the flowers remain throughout the week, and are absolutely fantastic. There’s such a variety of vendors, who also sell little garden trinkets, who sell flowers for relatively cheap prices compared to the rest of Paris. They don’t mind you taking photos, as long as you say a quick bonjour and ask politely if you can do so. It’s not a big ask at all. Most of them are very happy to have a chat with you too – as long as they’re not super busy.
I loved the huge variety of colours in the massive array of plants and flowers, and it’s become one of my favourite wandering spots. And you don’t have to worry about the weather with the mixture of covered and open air stores. I’d always recommend stopping by.
You can pretty much find any sort of plant you fancy – from exotics, to succulents, to orchids. There’s the run-of-the-mill shrubbery as well but it’s a lot less interesting for me! Of course, the selection changes throughout the seasons, and it’s great to see it over winter too – lots of Poinsettia!
The market is open everyday, from 8am to 7:30pm (except Sundays, when it closes at 7pm). If you’d like to find out more about the market, the Paris Tourist Office website has more practical information. And if flower markets are your thing, there’s two more elsewhere in Paris too, details of which you can find on the Tourist Office website too.
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, this marks the beginning of my set of posts on the Île de la Cité, and coming up next will be the Conciergerie, so do look out for that. Until next time!