If you read about Les Halles in Le Ventre de Paris (1873) by Emile Zola you would know of the place where fresh food was wholesaled. Perhaps I was crazy to imagine a spectacular view of halls after halls of the fresh seafoods, meats or poultrys. It inspired me so much it sent us on a roadtrip from Belgium at 11 PM, we were running behind for Rungis that opened from 1-5 AM. We reached Rungis Marche International a city on its own at 2 AM. The market was just slowing awakening and alive with fresh food. We drove around these enormous buildings the size of convention centers, it was so confusing we had to consult the site map. The halls opened in cascading fashion 1 hall per hour we were told by the Chefs the seafood hall would open first. When we arrived I was literally speechless at the sheer number of wholesalers proudly displaying their seafood: fresh boxes of sea urchins, scallops on shells, trouts so fresh they were shining and live shrimps still jumping. At the poultry and game hall, fresh chickens/squab/ ducks/ pheasants/ rabbits/ were displayed. The poultry all cleaned except retaining the head and feather around the neck to show its freshness. The cases of foie gras, pates and charcuterie were just mouth wateringly attractive. We ventured into the Triperie where the organs, trotters and other stuff were sold. It was quite amazing to see the standard of hygiene and lack of foul smell you would imagine from a place as such. The same was for the meat hall it was clean and odorless - I never saw more beef, lamb or pork in my life!! I was glad to have made this trip.
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