FOOD & WINE

Market Visit: Saint Antoine Market in Lyon, France

July 6, 2014
Berry delicious
The Soane, one of two rivers with four riverbanks in Lyon

The Soane, one of two rivers that meet in Lyon

The location of the Saint-Antoine Market is one of the most scenic spots of any outdoor market in the world: It sits beside the bank of the Soane River on the Presqu’île (peninsula) side of Lyon, only a short walk from Place Bellecour (the public square).  The views of passing boats, pastel buildings, and the backdrop of Fourvière Hill with its iconic Basilica and La Tour Métallique (Lyon’s own replica Eiffel Tower) are spectacular.

One of the views from the market

One of the views from the market

But this market isn’t just a pretty face; it also has enticing foods. The winding path through the two rows of stalls extends along the river for blocks and blocks—so it offers a wonderful promenade for a walk especially in the early morning when the air is crisp and there is less pedestrian traffic (and less danger of tripping over someone’s shopping cart). The market is filled with locals who come with their carts in tow to pick up fresh foods and chat with their favorite producers and vendors. (I’ve read that Chef Daniel Boulud began dreaming about becoming a chef when, as a kid growing up in Lyon, he shopped at this market with his father.)

Woman selling flowers

Women selling flowers

One of the ubiquitous shopping carts

One of the ubiquitous shopping carts

Wherever you walk, aromas of fresh flowers, succulent fruits and roasting chickens waft through the air. The market also has an incredible array of pork products, including saucisson brioche, sausage covered in a rich, buttery pastry dough.

Artistically designed Saucisson Brioche

Artistically designed Saucisson Brioche

Different sausage varieties

Different sausage varieties

Varieties of cheeses are just as plentiful and delicious—making for a perfect pairing with the meats and a bottle of local wine.

Say cheese!

Say cheese!

Because fruits and vegetables are priced and sold by the plateau (metal or plastic plates), when we wanted to purchase a single banana, we had a hard time until we explained we couldn’t possibly eat a plateful during our stay.

Les plateaux

Les plateaux

Come with an empty stomach because there are ample opportunities to sample some of the mouth-watering foods as well as to feast on an eclectic mix of prepared dishes.

Voulez-vous sausage?

Voulez-vous sausage with pistachio nuts?

Steamy dish of fresh paella

Steamy dish of fresh paella

Petit cheese tarts

Petit cheese tarts

The array of rotisserie chickens is almost irresistible.

Rotisserie chickens and roast potatoes

Rotisserie chickens and roast potatoes

On a nice day, you can even sit down at one of picnic tables along the river (behind the stalls) and eat freshly shucked oysters.

Oysters

Oysters

For the second year in a row (we had previously visited the market on a river cruise last year) we bumped into jovial Señor Carlos who migrated to Lyon from Chile to sell his popular empanadas from a truck. We also met a young vendor from Brooklyn, New York who was making a business selling donuts in a shop in Lyon and at the Saint Antoine Market.

Senor Carlos' empanada truck

Senor Carlos’ empanada truck

Of course, no market visit is complete without bread and dessert. Both the fresh fruits and fruit tarts were especially tempting. But I have to admit I made the same mistake twice in a row: I purchased madeleines from the same vendor and each time they were disappointing. I guess I need more experience shopping Saint Antoine market…(SIGH)

Berry delicious

Berry delicious

Dessert at Saint Antoine--and the memorable madeleines

Dessert at Saint Antoine–and the memorable madeleines

IF YOU GO

Saint Antoine Market (Quai Saint Antoine) is open every day of the week, except Monday
Hours: 6AM to 12:30PM Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Hours: 6AM to 1:30PM Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Tips:

  • As with most busy markets, try to get to Market Saint Antoine early in the morning when the crowds are fewer.
  • Watch where you walk. It’s easy to trip over a shopping cart trailing behind the person in front of you.
  • On Sundays, you can visit the outdoor art market just across the bridge on Quai de Bondy.
  • For a perfect afternoon excursion, find out about Lyon City boat tours that launch from just behind the market.

Also on MoreTimeToTravel.com

  • Reply
    Vikki
    July 7, 2014 at 6:47 am

    Great photos! Who took them???

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      July 7, 2014 at 9:48 am

      Thanks for asking! My photographer extraordinaire, Jerry!:-)

  • Reply
    Sheryl
    July 8, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Wow! Love your photos, as always, but also your mouth-watering descriptions. Alan would love, love this.

  • Reply
    Emilie Harting
    July 10, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Before I even saw the comments I was thinking wow, these are the best food photos I’ve ever seen. I didn’t see your byline. Is it there?

  • Irene S. Levine
    Reply
    Irene S. Levine
    July 11, 2014 at 10:05 am

    My byline is at the top of the blog post, Emilie, but Jerry is usually the photographer because I’m busy taking notes:-)

  • Reply
    Suzanne Fluhr
    December 28, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    My first ever real French food experience was in Lyon in 1970. I was 16 and with my family, we were setting off on a 7 week camping trip around Europe after my father completed a year long stint as an exchange teacher in England. We had stopped in Lyon to borrow a tent from a young French friend who had been student teaching at the same school in England. His parents were not wealthy. His father worked for the railroad and they lived in a 5 floor walk up apartment in a an un-chic part of Lyon, BUT his mother made us a dinner that was unlike any other I had ever tasted—-starting with escargot!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      December 29, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      Isn’t it amazing how wonderful food leaves an imprint after that many years!
      I hope you are plotting a return!

  • Reply
    Donna Janke
    December 28, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    This market looks fantastic. What a great location. Photos are great – I’m now hungry for oysters and paella.

  • Reply
    Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru
    December 29, 2014 at 12:17 am

    The French and their food! Everything looks absolutely scrumptious. We’re hoping to spend time in France this summer, and so now you’ve got me thinking seriously about Lyon! 🙂

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      December 29, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      Make sure you plan your trip with enough days. You won’t want to leave!

  • Reply
    noel
    December 29, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Oh boy, this is my type of market especially with samples available for tasting. Everything is presented with panache – I would love to visit and take pictures here!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      December 29, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      And it’s just one of many wonderful markets in the city!

  • Reply
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go
    December 29, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    I feel like I gained 5 pounds just looking at your fabulous photos of food! What a marvelous place to visit and enjoy the sights, aromas and flavors!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      December 29, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      Thankfully, the weight gain in Lyon can be avoided because it is such a great walking city!

  • Reply
    Nancie (@Ladyexpat)
    December 29, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Do you hear my tummy growling? With each photo it has gotten LOUDER! The sausage and the cheese are seducing me…Nancie Nancie…we want you…LOL:)

  • Reply
    Carole Terwilliger Meyers
    December 29, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    It’s a good thing for me that it is almost time for dinner. Those stunning photos have made me start salivating. Two of my favorites are the saucisson brioche sausage covered in pastry and the pistachio salame. Wish those were going to be on my plate tonight!

  • Reply
    Jackie Smith
    December 30, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Well that got the stomach grumbling! Beautiful photos and there is nothing we like more than a European Market – it is a feast for the eyes, the soul and the stomach! Merry Christmas – a bit late.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      December 30, 2014 at 9:13 am

      Not too late (yet) to wish you a Happy New Year, Jackie!

  • Reply
    Michele Peterson ( A Taste for Travel)
    December 30, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Wow, that fresh paella looks absolutely delicious! Quite unexpected for an outdoor market in most other parts of the world. It sounds as though you really dived into the culture of Lyon and I’ll totally follow in your footsteps on my next visit. Happy New Year!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      January 3, 2015 at 5:10 pm

      I know you’ll have a wonderful time, Michele! Wish I were going back, too!

  • Reply
    Charles McCool
    December 30, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Well, the web does not (yet) transmit smell and taste but your photos are so vivid, I can smell and taste the market items.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      January 3, 2015 at 5:11 pm

      Visit markets is such a treat for the senses! I agree!

  • Reply
    Marilyn Jones
    December 30, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    I love Lyon and its food, but I have never been to the market. I must rectify that the next time I am in France. It looks like a great time!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      January 3, 2015 at 5:11 pm

      This is only one of MANY wonderful markets around Lyon~

  • Reply
    Karen Warren
    January 3, 2015 at 5:29 am

    It’s a few years since I’ve been in France so I was interested to see empanadas and paella for sale here. There was never any multiculturalism in any French market I’ve been to in the past!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      January 3, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      Like the rest of Europe, there have been many waves of immigration to the large cities (and small ones) in France. However, we happened to strike up a conversation with Senor Carlos and he told us that he had emigrated to Lyon from Chile more than a decade ago.

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