Forty minutes from Basel, the Alsatian city of Mulhouse holds the largest market in Eastern France. Indoors, in a permanent market hall with cement floors and a high ceiling, the feel is that of a supermarket. The aisles are wide, with individual shops offering edibles from Portugal, Italy, and North Africa.
The bustling and ethnically diverse Marché du Canal Couvert is an excellent place to find items imported from around the world, as well as traditional local specialties, fresh and prepared.
Outside, local Alsatian produce abounds (in early June, “local” means strawberries, rhubarb and asparagus), set out alongside stone fruit, melons and beans shipped from North Africa. The food market is adjacent to the permanent indoor one; clothing, toys and small electronics occupy a second lot across the street. A somewhat sterile coffee shop overlooks the indoor market.
On a busy Saturday morning, the food stalls are continually replenished, and to enter the market, visitors wend their way between white refrigerator trucks parked along the street outside the covered market hall.
Head over to the Mulhouse market for:
- Couscous and pastas in bulk
- Top-notch Moroccan mint (the men behind the mountain of mint are sipping tea with their buttered bread, just like in Fez)
- High-quality local fruits, like strawberries