Versailles Market or a Foodie’s Paradise on Earth
It symbolizes happiness around food. You could go there with a definite idea of your lunch/dinner and leave this place with a totally different basket!
A year ago, we came here with a friend who’s a Chef and we thought he had discovered gold when we got to this market! By seeing his reaction, I realized myself how amazing this place was, something I had forgotten in the past… So, I thought it would be great to share it with you!
Some of the fruit & veg stalls are 10 meter long, sometimes even more.
I like them because they look like rainbows, with the multicolored heirloom tomatoes, all the varietals of salads going from green for the Frisée to purple for the Oak Leaf, the green & white asparagus; the bright orange carrots, the dark green broccoli, and so on…
I like to hear the merchants screaming/singing: “Allez on vient goûter mon melon, il est bon, il est frais, 2 melons, 7 euros, Magnifique!” (come on, come try my melon, it’s good, it’s fresh, 2 melons for 7 euros, amazing). Merchants are talking to each other, joking and laughing…
Located in the heart of Versailles city since the 17th century, it is Île-de-France's (Paris & its suburb) second largest Market.
It was established by King Louis XIII in November 1634, confirmed in 1669 by Louis XIV. The latter wanted this place to become the “belly” of Versailles and made sure it was designed accordingly.
The free market would happen once a week on Tuesdays plus three annual fairs. Halls were then built to welcome the merchants, being restored in 1841 into their current form…
Nowadays Versailles Market is happening 6 times a week, with the food market on Tuesday (still), Friday and Sunday mornings and everything else (clothes, cosmetics…) all day Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
It is organized in 4 squares; each square has a hall in a “large V” shape (see drawing below):
Le carré à la farine, the one pictured on the left (Flour square)
Le carré à la viande (Meat square)
Le carré au poisson (Fish square)
Le carré aux herbes (Herbs square)
Lets face it, I will never be either an architect or a sketch artist but this should give you an idea of the market.
As suggested by their names, each one of them used to be a hall for a type of produces, but things have changed and now inside of each hall you will find a bit of everything (fish, vegetables, cured meat…).
You will find a butcher in the herb square & a beautiful cheese stall in the Fish square.
The 4 halls around are opened almost every day but it is only on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday mornings that the full square is occupied by “commercants”.
If you want to go to this market, it is pretty easy depending on where you arrive in Versailles. If you use the train, you can walk there or get a bus (Bus B towards Porchefontaine). If you are driving, set the GPS and you should find an underground car park under the market.
I would definitely recommend going there if you are planning a holiday in Paris or Versailles, the Palace of Versailles is already a wonderful place to visit but the nearby market is like heaven for foodies!