Alternative food adventures in Paris

Apart from restaurants, food stores or markets, there are alternative ways of food adventures that one can experienced when travelling in the Parisien region. Here are several bigger recurring food fairs around the year:


Pari Fermer
Food fairs with French producers directly selling their products to the customers. Often, they offer tasting and a lot of information on the product they are selling. They include cheeses, olive oil, cured meat (ham and sausages), foie gras and duck product, prepared regional plates, jams, chocolat etc… You can also find wine and alcohol. Prices are usually cheaper than in shops in Paris. Some products might be impossible to find in shops and can be only bought online.

I remembered meeting the one and only cornichon (gherkin or pickle) producer left in France, unfortunately the popular supermarket brand Maille, the pickles are coming from India or China. Since a few years, Elyssé, the palace of the president, ordered the preserved pickles from Maison Marc.

They organised several times a year and in different places in or around Paris, usually you can find free entrance tickets online in their website. More information here.

Salon Saveurs
It’s similar to Pari Fermier but more luxurious since it is organised in December, you find more fancy and festival food: foie gras, truffles, chocolat, candies, champagne and wine, more information here.

Salon Mer et Vigne
Similar to Pari Fermier, the emphasis is on terroir, sea and wine. You can find more food related to the sea, smoked fish, cooked fish soup, oysters. Not only in Paris, you can find this fair in several other French cities like Lyon, Strasbourg, Annecy-le-Vieux, Tours etc. Every year in november, you can see this fair in London (this year Nov 13-15, Olympia Kensington). More here

Salon Chocolat
If you like chocolate, you shouldn’t miss the chocolat fair, each year at end of October. Often you can see demonstrations by some famous pastry chefs. They have an English website.

Salon Sugar Paris
Each year, around March or April, you find the pastry fair at the Vincennes Parc Florale. Cakes, the work of cake designers, everything you need for pastry decorations you can find in this fair. More here.

Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants
A fair about independent French wine and alcohol makers, offers degustation. You can find in several cities, Paris, Lyon, Reims, Lille. Check out the dates and info.



le Fooding
Several times a year, you can participate at the Fooding Festival, the last one was to celebrate the 15 years anniversaire in July in the famous flea market in Saint Ouen. Several star chefs, including Bertrand Grébaut of Septime, Iñaki Aizpitarte of Chateaubriand, Bertrand Auboyneau of Bistrot Paul Bert and many others were cooking before participants.

The past or future events can be found here, the site is partially in English.

SUPER BARQUETTE - Street Food Festival
It’s a recurring event, usually happens in April. With the recession, street foods are very popular with the youth, of course partying with music and fun.

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I found a list from Paris by mouth where you can find some more information.

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Great post! We have actually planned visits around several of these, i.e., the Salon Saveurs and Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépedents. A note about the latter, I posted about these events on another board and got responses that suggested that the wines were inferior, “plonk”. Categorically, they are not! These are small and often fiercely independent winemakers who do not seek syndication and who make excellent wines.

There are several hundred exhibiting at a time, and you can sample all of their wines. It is really sensible to peruse the site and plot your tastings before you arrive and become totally confounded by the possibilities.

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The vignerons aren’t only selling only to particulars but to restaurants owners, wine sellers national and international, those people came to check things out and place order. It’s expensive to pay to go to an exposition like this just to get rid of plonk wines, bad reputation too for them.

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Totally agree about the wine fair. There are hundreds of exhibitors and so the quality varies (as does the cost). Our strategy was to try all the Champagnes on the first day, and then left bank Bordeaux the next…with a few that took our fancy as we explored.

We bought a trolly at the fair to transport the cases of wine we bought back home on the metro which was challenging and not helped by the generosity of the pours.

Phil, we found that having the vendors hold our purchases (which they’re happy to do), then coming back the next day with a car and some semblance of sobriety was by far the best option…we tried dragging the trolleys on the Metro, but it was a monumental PITA that we vowed to not try again. It was a good thing there were four of us, and that none of us was stumbling drunk…it was bad enough with a pleasant buzz.

The really sobering thing is realizing how much bl**dy wine you bought…

(note to readers: you learn very quickly to spit your samples into the bucket, carry and DRINK! bottes of water, and stop regularly for food to help, but the reality is that enough alcohol is absorbed through the tissues of the mouth to leave you reeling anyway)

We’re professionals; don’t try this at home.

and to think you got PAID to do that…

True . . .

On the other hand, driving 4800 km. in 14 days, tasting 400+ wines (not counting the wines at lunch and dinner) really IS work . . . .

This weekend, we have visited Salon Saveurs. Since several years, they have been playing around with different formats. For many years, there were always twice a year, in May and Dec in Espace Champerret in the Paris 17th district. Then maybe 3-4 years ago, they multiplied the shows, the december version appeared in both Champerret and a week later in Porte de Versailles, Paris 15th district. Apparently, it didn’t worked out. This year they cancelled the May edition (hello recession!) and only the Christmas version.

We have been visiting the show for some 7 or 8 years, in the past, the show was much more low profile, a little sign of the store, and the products, we could still be abled to find some small producers selling their harvests or products, but this vanished. Now, the christmas show is simply extravagant. Lights blinking, well decorated booths with all the advertising tricks.

This year, I have no time to attend the lower profile Terre et Mer or the Paris Fermier. So back to Salon Saveurs.

Here is a few photos of the 4-day Salon Saveurs 2015 that will be ending tomorrow.

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Mer et Vigne was our favourite – it’s not overwhelmingly large, and the price/value ratio is very, very good.

Vignerons Independents was a given – and anyone who has been who brushes it off as plonk isn’t worth listening to.


Correction: not salon Terre et Mer but Mer et Vigne.
I should stop posting at 3 in the morning!

It seemed to me that some of the photos posted yesterday just vanished. (Or it was me?!) 2 more photos from Salon Saveurs 2015.

Any favorite vendors/ food items this year?

Lots, not counting the cheeses, we bought a Pata Negra pork shoulder from a Portuguese stand. We discovered the irresistible chocolate from Jean Charles Rochoux. Some Japanese Yuzu sirop and bonito vinegar (The one and only Japanese stand). Duck patés, duck meats with foie gras from La ferme du Luguen. The usual very good Aveyron lamb meat from Allaiton. The ever so good artisan jam from Francais Miot. Some not so commonly seen potatoes varieties. Lemon, honey vinegars and some dried mushrooms - trompette de la morte. Some wines and champagnes…

Bad side, we went broke.


Awesome haul! What kind of prices is the Allaiton Aveyron commanding for the cut you bought? How are you planning to cook it?

Do tell us about the cheese, please.

You will be eating/ drinking very well for a while…!

I bought a lamb leg and a shoulder roll. (You can see the price by clicking on the link of the part). Since it’s a good tender meat, it basically melts in the mouth, I keep the cooking simple, for the shoulder roll, I will cook it in a barbecue and serve with a basil sauce. I have heard that some 3 stars chef (Michel Bras) use the same meat.

Well, it’s a luxury we treat ourself once a while in a year, especially we don’t eat out that often.

For the cheese, the first part is reported here. Second part coming soon…Stay tune!

That’s the down side of those foires…we used to take my grocery trolley to haul all our wonderful things to the car.

One of the best was a large group that carpooled to Coulommiers for their big foire – we all bought small bits and pieces all day long – wines, cheeses, breads, olives, etc,. etc.,etc – when we got back to our house, everyone hauled out all their goodies and we had a wonderful evening sharing it all.