When Martine Boutin left corporate life in Paris’ La Défense business district to become her own boss, she first considered opening a dating agency or a cheese restaurant. Instead, she opted to open a retro-style grocery shop near the mairie of the 18th arrondissement, to keep the neighborhood stocked with products that are often only available at farm shops in the countryside.
Martine, the granddaughter of farmers, grew up in a small country village of 700 in the department of Vendée, between the Atlantic Coast towns of Nantes and La Rochelle, so turning to farm products was an obvious step for her.
She found the products she wanted to sell after meeting with farmers and artisans at the Paris International Agricultural Show. Then she came across an empty storefront on Rue Ordener, a former florist shop with original tiles dating back to the late 19th century.
Since the budget for her one-woman operation was tight, Martine opted for off-the-shelf pine furniture from a chain store to set up shop, while her graphic designer boyfriend created the cheerful logo.
“I wanted a joyful place,” she says. “I knew that for a shop that sold organic, artisanal food, I didn’t want anything formica!” She intentionally left the décor pared down to let the freshly delivered produce, dairy, and charcuterie take center stage.
Most products are sourced from suppliers in Île-de-France, like the creamy milk and luscious yogurt from la Ferme de Grignon in the Yvelines, as well as fresh eggs that are delivered every Tuesday morning directly from a family farm near Nantes.
Eggs became the best-selling product at Le Super Petit Marché once Martine’s customers rediscovered the taste of oeufs à la coque made the way they should be, with freshly laid free-range eggs. “I sell around 1500 every month,” Boutin says.
Charcuterie comes from Ferme Haffner in Lorraine, whose jambon blanc is a far cry from the plastic-wrapped (and plastic-flavored) versions on sale at supermarkets.
Other products come from further afield in France, like olive oil from Provence, tinned sardines from a family-run company in Brittany, and clementines from Corsica.
“I am afraid there are no olive groves near Paris! But everything I sell, even if it’s not local, comes from small producers who really need our support.” Opening hours are Tuesday-Friday 10am-2pm,4:30pm-8:30pm; Saturday 10am-7pm; and Sunday 10am-1pm.
- Check out La Récolte, another of our favorite food shops selling local and organic products.
- Ever wondered how to go organic in the gastronomic capital? Guest blogger Laura shares her favorite organic shops, restaurants, and markets.
- On a budget? Here’s a great guide to Parisian supermarkets from Eurocheapo.
Written by Elena Berton for the HiP Paris Blog. All images by Elena Berton. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.