It’s been almost 1 year since I went to the Rungis market. In the first week that we enter Lenôtre, they take all the students to see this one of the biggest markets in the world.
We woke up very early (I mean, I didn’t even sleep on the day) and went to meet the whole class at the school entrance at 2:30 in the morning. The bus that would take us to the Rungis market, which is outside Paris, would leave at 3 am and whoever was not there would stay. That’s because at 4 in the morning when we arrived in Rungis, the fish market, for example, was practically closing. In other words, if I want to be a chef who works with fish, I should probably have to get there to buy fresh fish around midnight.
Rungis is a city, literally, there are sheds and more gigantic sheds and there is no way to get around from one shed to the next, as the distances are enormous. So either people get around by car, motorcycle or bicycle inside.
Each of the warehouses is specialized in some kind of product. There is a shed of fish, meats, vegetables, fruits, cheeses, dairy products, flowers and so on. But don’t think it’s just one shed of each, nothing like that! Some products like vegetables, for example, there are five warehouses.
All the freshest and most beautiful products is there that you will find, they are products of the most varied and from all over the world. The head is a thousand, looking at those thousand wonders. Ahhh, I forgot to say, just looking at it, here ordinary people don’t buy anything (or almost nothing), who come here are the buyers of each company, factory or restaurates, one or more times a week, look at what they need, what that is better and fresher and placing your orders. The product owner takes a note in the name of the company and it pays directly via bank account to him. So, here there is no credit card machine, or anything like that, if you want to buy something it has to be in cash and probably the whole product, there is no use asking to cut or weigh it. Here things are sold in whole pieces and in large quantities.
You must be wondering, so why does your school take students there and why would other people go there at dawn to see this place?
Well, for students, we are taken there first to learn how to negotiate with the supplier if we become chefs in any restaurant and most importantly to know how to recognize the best products and especially the freshest ones to buy.
In the case of tourists, there are several who do this as a cultural / gastronomic tour, they go to meet Rungis, in order to see how this city of culinary products works. And the visit is definitely worth it.
Through the Rungis website, you can schedule the tour and take a look at this giant of giants!