If you’re in Paris and you’re in search of fresh cut flowers, indoor plants, or exterior greenery, then you may well want to visit one of the prettiest flower markets in Paris, that of the Île de la Cité Flower Market. Formerly known as the Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux (market of flowers and birds), the name of the Parisian market was changed in 2014 to Marché aux fleurs Reine-Elizabeth II in Paris France. Here’s how to visit, as well as things to know before you go.
A brief history of the Île de la Cité Flower Market
Founded as early as 1808, the market has attracted visitors ever since with its colourful displays and dazzling array of plants and flowers. In times gone by, the market would have sold plants and birds, meaning that it was once called the Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux.
Today, there are no longer any birds for sale. The market is partially in the open air, with some wares displayed to the exterior of 1900 built pavillions in the square of Place Louis Lépine. Each vendor has their own orangerie style structure, which makes for a pretty photo opportunity, as well as the chance to do some undercover shopping during a rainy day.
How to visit the Marché aux Fleurs on Île de la Cité
If you want to visit the market for yourself, whether that’s so select a gift for a special someone, buy a little present for yourself, or simply because you’re curious what the market is like, then you should know that it’s completely free. The market is open from 9:30 AM to 7 PM on a daily basis and the closest métro station is Cité (line 4).
Unlike some other markets, the market is open on Sundays. As such, you can easily while away a lazy Sunday morning perusing the wares of the many shops on the Place Louis Lépine. Many of the stalls are partially covered, with more retail space inside, meaning that you can even enjoy this Parisian market during a rainy day in Paris.
Otherwise, you should know that you can pick up a plant for just a few euros (such as a small cactus or succulent), while more established fruit trees can cost upwards of €100. Plants are sold on a seasonal basis, meaning that you’ll have to wait until June to purchase a reasonably priced hydrangea bush, for example.
Situated in the very heart of Île de la Cite, i.e. the very place where the city of Paris was born, a visit to the flower market can easily be combined with a trip to spy many iconic Parisian monuments and attractions. For example, the medieval Sainte Chapelle and the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral are both just a few streets away.
Meanwhile, due to the 4th arrondissement being home to well over two millennia worth of history, there is no shortage of other quirky history and unusual things to see and do. For example, while rue Chanoinesse is home to one of the prettiest restaurants in Paris, the nearby, Hôtel Dieu is the oldest still in operation hospital in Paris.
The River Seine is also just a short walk away. Once along the banks of the river, you’ll soon discover the Bouquinistes, who sell all kinds of books and vintage prints from the iconic green boxes which line both sides of the river. Last but not least, though this is the best of all the flower markets in Paris, two others are to be found at Place de la Madeleine (Monday to Saturday 8am to 7.30pm) and Place des Ternes (Tuesday to Sunday from 8am to 7.30pm).