Bernard and his family runs the organic produce stand - he is always ready with a big smile for everyone.
I've posted many times about my little Place Monge farmers market and the beautiful produce, artisanal cheeses and saucisson, farm fresh eggs straight from the nest and luscious foie gras but I've never introduced the farmers and cast of characters behind the tables who bring us all these delicacies every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Today I toured Place Monge with a camera crew who is making a video of the various arrondisements of Paris and introduced some of the more gregarious personalities that make life around Place Monge so fun.
Usually I'm the one behind the camera....
Jean-Marc runs the bakery while his brother pastry chef Pascal Pinaud is in the back creating the the most delicious chocolates, pastries and breads. Pascal was the pastry sous-chef for twelve years at The Ritz Hotel, and a pastry instructor at the Cordon Blue before opening his own patisserie three years ago. He makes everything by hand with the best ingredients he can find. Anthony Bourdain made a stop here the last time he was with the Discovery Channel in Paris.
Philippe, a former hi-tech exec, traded his cutting board to travel through the Jura region of the Alps in search of artisanal cheeses and saucission. He also ironically attended San Francisco State for his masters in business.
This mosaic of olives is courtesy of Mohammed and his company "Dried M" .
Momo, as he is affectionately known, is from Algeria, North Africa, and sells these delicious olives, dried fruits and nuts.
Madame Leitao and her family came from Portugal over twenty-five years ago and now run a stand of cheese wheels of every size, deep cannisters of fresh milk and cream, eggs just hatched, and huge one foot by one foot blocks of real butter.
Some of you might have seen Jean-Marie Gremillet on the Food Network. If not, you can find him at www.bestfoiegras.com.
Jean-Marie and his wife sell the highest quality foie gras and pate from ducks and geese that have been raised exclusively in the Southwest of France.
One of the more colorful characters at the market - the butcher along with his wild boar head, pheasants, ducks and chicken complete with heads, feet and feathers.
Bernard giving me one of his "Not another picture?!" looks.
Pierre Rauss purchases all his salts from a small independent "geurandeur" or salt harvester in the Geurande region of Bretagne, source of the best fleur de sel in the country - or according to the French, the world :*)
So if you ever get to Paris on a Wednesday, Friday or Sunday morning, make sure you take the 7 metro line to Place Monge and say "Bonjour" to all these people that make life so delicious.