If there is one thing my good friend David has taught me, it is the art of buying cheap food that is good. This, he claims, can be done by attending one of the several open-air markets that Paris is famous for. They are scattered throughout the city and while some are open all week at specific hours, a few are open on Saturdays and Sundays, or just one day on the weekend. Today I decided to try my market-shopping skills at the Barbes-Rochechouart metro stop, which turns into a market every Saturday and is one of the craziest, most intense shopping experiences I have ever encountered. I arrived at the metro station having forgotten a large shopping bag, and with only my Longchamp shoulder bag to carry kilos and kilos of food, I wasn’t sure how I would manage. I went for it anyway.
For about 12 Euro, I got: a kilo of onions, about 5 tomatoes, a half kilo of delicious looking olives, a kilo of green beans, a huge plat of eggs (there’s gotta be about 24), 10 slices of buffalo chicken, three packages of strawberry apple sauce, 2 huge liters of Coca-Cola Light, a loaf of bread, and a huge grocery bag that I bought off a gypsy guy for 1 Euro. Totally worth it. All of that would have cost about 50 Euro at any supermarket, and I didn’t even go all out. I had to restrain myself from buying avocadoes, peppers, and fish, which all looked amazing. So as it turns out, there IS a way to eat on the cheap in Paris!
After the market I set out to the new bibliotheque at Sciences Po, which looks like an Apple store only cooler. There’s got to be about 100 brand new Macs in here, as well as huge flat-screen TV’s and floating study rooms. However, on the way, I decided to stop at a cafe by the Brochant metro stop for a coffee to get myself organized. I have discovered my cafe. Damiani, a lovely, modern-looking pastry shop and cafe on Avenue de Clichy, has impressive pastries and a petit coffee bar and sitting area where they serve cheap coffee and cappuccinos that are better than more expensive ones I’ve had in St. Michel and other pricey areas of Paris.
It was a quiet little place, well-lit and definitely affordable. I’m glad to have found a coffee shop other than Starbuck’s near my apartment – now I will be a true Parisian.