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Belleville Marche

Last week, after a more than two year, ahem, hiatus, I started going to yoga classes again. My abs are nonexistent, my balance is off, and my strength, eh, well, it seems to have vanished along with my memory of the asanas in the first series. But I’ve already found a bright spot in what will be an uphill battle to my return to yogaworld: there’s a super-cheapo market near my metro stop (Couronnes) on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Welcome to Belleville, on the border of the 11th and 20th arrondisements, where the neighborhood is a working class/bobo melange, with huge North African population. North Africans own most of the fruit and veg stands here, and the competition between them is fierce — which creates an atmosphere that’s lively and jovial. They shout at passersby with their unmistakable rolled r French.

Nectarrrrrrines! Un eurrrrrro! Un euro! Un euro!

That’s not one euro for one nectarine (remember, I paid 2 euros apiece for them at my market recently); but one euro for 1 kilo, which is about two pounds. Seriously? I thought.  I bought three to test them out. 50 centimes!

It’s not the most interesting of markets in terms of variety of produce, but it has lots of basics at  prices far below what I’ve been paying on the other side of town.

I bought chou-fleur for just 1.50e, whereas in my part of town, they go for twice that amount.

Ditto on the herbs. Here, they’re just 30 centimes a bundle; I’ve been paying 1 euro apiece.

Plus, there’s all sorts of things that you’d never find at the President Wilson fancy fancy market.

Such as dates.


Round and donut-shaped loaves of North African bread, which now I remember eating in Morocco many years ago.

Loads of different types of olives.

And a familiar looking pea, staring right back at me. Yes, please, I’ll take a kilo of those babies.

It’s too early for me to start thinking about pumpkin (here, they don’t have the canned stuff – you buy it like this, and cook it up yourself), but when I do, I’m going to buy it here.

The other day, I filled up my Whole Foods bag with veggies and fruit for 6 euros. Six euros! I figure the money I’ll save will help finance my new boots. And of course, yoga outfits.