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Tulips Aug 18th, 2015 09:42 AM

Rungis market Paris
Thinking about taking a tour at Rungis - someone I know is organising this with a guide. Has anyone been to Rungis?

MmePerdu Aug 18th, 2015 10:29 AM

I'd never heard of it, although I did know Le Halles moved outside the city something like 45 years ago. This must be it. It looks very interesting and I'll be following along to hear what others have to say.

kerouac Aug 18th, 2015 11:34 AM

Rungis is the largest market in the world.

The Wiki article says:

the complex covers 232-hectares (573 acres);
13,000 people work there every day;
26,000 vehicles enter every day (of which 3,000 are heavy trucks);
1,698,000 tonnes of products are brought in annually;
it has the largest turnover of wholesale markets in the world.

Sarastro Aug 18th, 2015 11:35 AM

Rungis is indeed the Halls replacement wholesale food marketplace. Rungis is located along A86 to the south of Paris. It is otherwise closed to the public but the tour should be interesting. It does leave however very early in the morning.

Christina Aug 18th, 2015 11:46 AM

I'd heard of it as it is such an important part of the history of Paris and if you knew something about Les Halles, you'd know that's where it went (the current Les Halles shopping mall is obviously fairly new, relatively speaking). The novel Ventre de Paris by Zola is about it. I think you can get a tour on-site, however, they have a place you can write to and say they have guides there, you don't need your own guide.
Contact : Visite Rungis
Tel : + 33 3 83 50 10 85
E-mail : [email protected]
Website : VisiteRungis

I haven't been as I'm not that interested in wholesale food markets, however.

MmePerdu Aug 18th, 2015 12:00 PM

I did know Le Halles, onion soup central after work at my theatre job in the '60s, knew it had gone but didn't know where. Not sure why one would require the other, but an interesting way of looking at the world, or Christina-world.

kerouac Aug 18th, 2015 12:04 PM

Of course, everybody says that the only interesting time to get a tour of the market is around 4-5 a.m. when it is at its busiest.

If you have access to the film "Paris" by Cédric Klapisch, you can see a pre-dawn tour of the Halles de Rungis.

JulieVikmanis Aug 18th, 2015 12:26 PM

DH and I did a tour of Rungis market several years ago. The tour bus loaded near the Defert Rocherouet metro stop. I believe it left the city at 5 a.m. It was a terrific tour with opportunity to see several of the massive halls--divided by type of food--fish, offal, fowl, vegetables, etc. There were also many restaurants to feed the many workers. Our tour ended with a meal (I can't say breakfast really, since it was more like a very hearty lunch) in one of the on-site restaurants at about 8:30 a.m.). I recommend the experience highly to anyone who loves the markets of Paris--or any markets.

If I get time, I'll do a bit of research to see if I can uncover and send pictures from our tour.

MmePerdu Aug 18th, 2015 12:31 PM

'Paris' was already in my Netflix queue, now moved to #1. Thanks, k.

JulieVikmanis Aug 18th, 2015 12:33 PM

Sorry to get your hopes up about pictures. I cannot remember the year we did Rungis and it may well be pre-Picasa.

FrenchMystiqueTours Aug 18th, 2015 04:46 PM

And if anyone wants to see the only surviving pavillion built by Baltard between 1852 and 1870 that survives from Les Halles then you can see the Pavillon Baltard in Nogent-sur-Marne, just outside Paris a few blocks from the RER A stop Nogent-sur-Marne. Of course there are loads of other things to see nearby as well.

Tulips Aug 18th, 2015 11:56 PM

Thank you for the replies, it sounds like an interesting place to visit - if I manage to go I'll let you know how it was!

Mathieu Aug 19th, 2015 04:43 AM

Yes I recently (2011) did a tour with a group of chefs that was lead by a food professor from the Sorbonne and it was an incredible experience. Our tour started at 2.00am and ended with breakfast in one of the onsite cafe/restaurants at 7.30am
It was that long because we were there specifically to learn, but yours might not necessarily be that long.

We had to wear white coats and hairnets or special caps.

It was one of the most amazing things I've seen. The area is the size of a small town and I believe it has it's own post code. The buildings/warehouses are enormous and are divided according to the products they sell - meat, fish, flowers, ..... cheese, etc. We were allowed to take pictures and I came away with a few dozen incredible images of things I'm not likely to see again.
The meat building had hundreds of whole hanging carcasses of cows in the beef section, then hundreds of specific cuts all lined up on mechanized rotating hooks waiting to be purchased. Brains, tongues, sheep eyes in styrofoam boxes... all the kinds of things you might be eating in a few hours at Michelin starred restaurant. Then on to the pork section.. and lamb.. and others meats.. displayed in the same way and each with it's own repertoire. Poultry... dressed and feathered... partridges, pigeons, quails, blue chickens from Bresse.. anything and everything... and loads of it.
The fish and seafood warehouse was another breathtaking place. Everything you can imagine from around the world.

We were driven from building to building down streets resembling a village but it's all just the market. The fish section as I said was incredible, and the flower building and the fruit and vegetable building very colourful and stacked with produce from France and around the world, all beautifully displayed. But my favourite was the cheese building.. I was totally gobsmacked by the sheer volume and variety of all the cheeses to be found there. Huge wheels weighing hundreds of pounds and small rare rolls the size of you thumb. Some packed in straw, others rolled in ash. Many varieties are in special temperature controlled glass rooms within the main warehouse that you can walk into. I could have happily spent a week in there.

If you go, dress warmly and wear rubber soled shoes. Most of the warehouses are giant temperature controlled refrigerators and you will be very cold after 10 minutes of walking in and barely through the entrance, let alone spending the next 30 to 40 minutes in them before going on to more.

Also, be mindful to get out of the way of the hundreds of white-coated workers doing their job, and the small trucks and vehicles (fork lifts, etc) beeping, flashing and moving stuff around.

kerouac Aug 19th, 2015 04:59 AM

The French web page mentions summer tours starting at 4:30 a.m. I think everybody has to wear the white coats and head coverings on the tours anyway.

cynthia_booker Aug 19th, 2015 11:02 AM

Wow, Mathieu, after reading your description, I feel as I have been. Thanks.

kerouac Aug 19th, 2015 11:27 AM

I most definitely want to take a tour whenever I get a chance to do so.

Mathieu Aug 19th, 2015 04:59 PM

Thanks Cynthia. It really is worth seeing .. but only if you have an interest for that kind of thing, and it's quite tiring and a lot of walking. Otherwise there's so much else to see in Paris.

If I can figure out a good photo sharing site, I'll happily share the pics with everyone here. When I posted the album on my FaceBook page, I remember getting lots of interest from many on the stuff to be seen there.

I remember a little story with a chuckle. Around 5.00am, a good 3 hours into the tour and with another 3 still to go, I was ravenous with hunger. Of course we weren't allowed any prepared food in any of the buildings (not that we had any on us) and didn't know of any places in the vicinity to get any at that hour.

We happened to be in the enormous and very beautiful fruit and vegetable building surrounded by every kind of fruit and vegetable you can imagine, and then ten varieties and ten colours of each one. Dark purple aubergines, long lilac Japanese eggplant, white Sicilian eggplant, baby courgettes with their yellow blossoms still attached...
It was then that I spotted two huge rolling racks stacked high with cartons containing bunches of those long 'finger' french radishes practically falling out they were so plentiful, blushing pink at the top and icy white at the bottom.
I've never much been a fan of radishes, but I managed to lose myself from the group for 5 minutes.. and someone somewhere bought a case of radishes the next day that had one bunch less than the rest. Whether it was because of the hour and my hunger, or because of the delicate spicy taste of French radishes I'll never know, but those little things were a very delicious snack and hit the spot, lol.

Even today when I address students or seminars, I try to arrange to have a bowl of them if I can find them for the participants, with a little dish of salt and the above story to nibble on.

Barb_in_Ga Aug 19th, 2015 08:34 PM

We took the tour a few years ago after seeing it on Anthony Bourdain's show. What a marvelous experience! We were picked up in a motor coach at Denfert-Rochereau station.
There were about 20-25 people in our group. I signed up by emailing ahead of time, It is only offered about once a month, and is conducted in French.

We wore the requisite butcher coats and caps for our tour through 7 football field sized warehouses. The first was seafood, then meat, poultry, game, dairy, fruit and veg, and finally flowers!

90% of the fresh food sold in greater Paris goes through this market. We ended by having the butcher's breakfast at one of the restaurants. Absolutely a wonderful experience.

kerouac Aug 19th, 2015 09:57 PM

From the website, I see that the visits are held one or two Fridays a month and the charge is 80 euros. There is online reservation.

Whathello Sep 29th, 2016 12:25 PM


I was thinking Kerouac did a thread about Rungis but I may be wrong.
Anyway, I went there not so long ago (liked it, interesting) and was back there today (for work) and had lunch at Rungis.

I have had FABULOUS meat - I guess proximity of slaughterhouses help - I had a jambonneau that was gorgeous. at l'Etoile, somewhere in Rungis close to the place they make ice (la tour des glaces). They had fish too but none of us was interested. The côte de boeuf looked gorgeous. I also had a bit of an andouillette and liked it too (not in my habbits though).

So I resurrect a not so old thread - for those who like something out of the ordinary, Rungis market is special and interesting, but there are a lot of things to do in Paris before going there, imo.

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