Once you've tired of Notre Dame's gothic exaggeration, head around the corner, still on Île de la Cité in Paris' 4th arrondissement, for the Marché aux Fleurs.
The flower market is open daily, but they only bring out the birds on Sunday. It's a trade off: Sunday's market is potted flowers only, as the cut vendors take a day off. The market is held in a conglomeration of metal cubbies, all painted green, and they sort of fit together to mimic the classic grand covered passageways you see all around the city. If you're like me and staying on the Left Bank, a Sunday walk near the Seine and then across the market is the perfect way to get to yourself to the other side.
Photography by Alexa Hotz for Gardenista.
Above: The view as you're walking up to the flower market—and if you're lucky you'll catch it just after a good rain.
Above: The perimeter of each row of houses is coated in potted plants, mostly for transplanting outdoors. At each end you'll find the entrance into the covered passageway.
Above: A row of potted hydrangeas, all different colors depending on the pH of the soil, and some neighboring hibiscus plants.
Above: Flowering houseplants hang in the covered passageway.
Above: A large section of the market is dedicated to proper garden roses, as you might imagine.
Above: Houseplants mix casually with pottery just inside the passageway.
Above: The bird market is held outside, where residents of Paris and surrounding areas come to buy every type of bird from canaries and finches to roosters, chickens, and parrots.
Above: A caged bird for sale.
Above: Tiny birds nests meant to accompany the purchase of an equally small bird.
Above: Standard daisies and small potted succulents for sale.
Above: The market carries out onto the Quai de la Corse.