This article was originally published in 2012. It has been updated. 

Seattle can be absolutely magnificent in the summer, beautiful summer skies, greens and blues everywhere I look. Locals are relaxed, enjoying summer parties, barbecues, or trips to the beach.

One of the best places to experience the Emerald City is the Pike Place Market neighborhood. It is colorful and vibrant, and packed on weekends (especially during summer months, with the onslaught of cruise ship passengers and tourists.) Finding fresh produce, locally-grown flowers, seafood and local crafts there year round is another perk. The concentration of French eateries in the area also makes it an appealing option when I feel homesick. Maximilien. Café Campagne. Le Pichet. Le Panier bakery: What would French expats and local francophiles do without you?

But in the end, the Market is simply a wonderful spot to indulge in a favorite guilty pleasure: people watching. I never go without bringing my faithful sidekick, the Panasonic Lumix LX7 with me. The capable little device is so small and unobtrusive, most people think I am a tourist myself. When I do ask for permission, most strollers do not find it intimidating and are happy to oblige and strike a pose.

Today, instead of showing you the traditional stalls of Pike Place Market, I have decided to introduce you to some of the people I met there during recent outings. Mes amis du marché. They live there, work there, or are just visiting. No matter. The market would not be the same without them. Are you ready? Allons-y… 

First, meet the friendly Pike Place Market merchants… 

Pike Place Market
Le marchand d’huile d’olive
(The olive oil seller)
Pike Place Market
La pause cigarette…
(smoking break) 
Pike Place Market
Les marchands de fruits et légumes
(fruit and vegetable sellers) 
Pike Place Market
“Goûtez mes pâtes parfumées!”
(“Sample my flavored pasta!”) 
Le poissonnier
(The fishmonger)

Les habitués. Regulars. The musicians and artists of Pike Place market.

Pike Place Market

Les visiteurs du marché. Visitors.

Pike Place Market
Déjeuner au Panier
(Lunch at the Panier French bakery) 
Elles aiment les fleurs!
(Flower lovers)
Les Amoureux
La Gourmande
(Sweet tooth)
La dame et le chien
(The lady and the dog)

Just a few steps away, north of Pike Place Market, is a wonderful urban park, Victor Steinbrueck Park, pictured at the top of this post. The place screams Seattle: Expansive mountains and water views, quirky characters, laid-back vibe.

Le rêveur
La Pause-déjeuner
(Lunch break) 
Brad Pitt à Seattle?
L’Artiste des rues
(The street artist)

Taking a trip to Pike Place Market, a beloved local landmark, is a Northwest tradition. I never tire of it. It is my favorite spot downtown. It appeals to all my senses and provides a much-needed “urban fix” for this unabashed city girl. To get there, I ignore the long drive out of suburbia, the much coveted and overpriced parking spots, and the crowds.

The Market neighborhood is friendly and colorful, but I also love its gritty side (Gum Wall; graffiti, anyone?) Try it next time you are in town. You have met some of my friends, but there are other fun characters and places to see: Rachel the Pig. Flying fish. The original Starbucks store…

A bientôt.


All photos by French Girl in Seattle.

Do not use without permission.





Véronique - France with Véro
Véronique of France with Véro

Véronique of France with Véro

Vero shares her homeland weekly on social media with virtual tours, photo essays, live events and other publications at France with Vero. Learn more.

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  1. Malyss on August 14, 2012 at 2:08 am

    ça va, le sol ne tangue pas trop sous tes pieds?ça me faisait toujours ça qq heures apres avoir debarqué..
    Jolie galerie de portraits, le genre de photos que je n’ose jamais prendre mais pourtant que j’adore voir! Magnifiées par le noir et blanc.(J’adore le vendeur d’huile d’olive, mais d’où vient l’huile?!)
    Je te souhaite une bonne reprise! Bises !

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 15, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      Hello Marie. Tout va bien. Le “roulis” s’est un peu calme… C’est bon d’etre de nouveau sur le plancher des vaches. Ce magasin d’huile d’olive est sympa. Les produits viennent des USA (Californie) et du reste du monde. L’huile se deguste comme un vin, ce qui me fait toujours un peu sourire.

  2. déjà pseu on August 14, 2012 at 5:51 am

    Oh!!! This SO makes me want to visit Seattle again! (It’s been a few decades…) And your portraits are *wonderful*, so evocative.

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 15, 2012 at 12:34 pm

      Merci beaucoup. Try to hit Seattle in the summer if you come back, unless you prefer grey skies and rain 🙂

  3. Deb in MD on August 14, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Oh boy, this made me very homesick! There’s nothing like Seattle on a beautiful summer day. I used to work a block from the market and went there frequently. Thanks for bringing back happy memories.

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 15, 2012 at 12:34 pm

      Hello Deb. You’re welcome. I would love working near the market. It’s a long drive for me to get there unfortunately…

  4. Sarah on August 14, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Fantastic! This could be published as a book, Véronique. Like the black and white effect! Takes me back to lovely memories of visits to Seattle.

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 15, 2012 at 12:35 pm

      You are very kind Sarah. The book will have to wait a bit. I am still learning… Glad you enjoyed your visit.

  5. 1-2Punch on August 14, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    I love Seattle, have you tried the Pink Door, it is in the alley near Pikes street. I also never miss going to Macrina always a treat.

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 15, 2012 at 12:42 pm

      Thank you for stopping by… and with great recommendations to boot. I have heard of the pink door but have never been. Just checked out their website and I must say I am really intrigued by that charming cabaret… Will make sure to go soon! Thanks for the tip.

  6. Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder on August 14, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Dearest Véronique,

    That is funny to read about the Emerald City, since that is also the name of our city of Dublin. But for other reasons, emerald green from Ireland…
    Great rapportage with people shots; love that!
    Hugs to you,

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 15, 2012 at 12:36 pm

      Bonjour Mariette. I did enjoy working on this little “reportage” and can’t wait for my next excursion downtown…

  7. g on August 14, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    once again thanks for taking us along!and now i know why starbuck’s always available brew is called pike place-another fine post for the books. enjoy your week in your land home-la rentree is right around the corner-

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 15, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      Bonjour g, my friend. How is summer treating you on the East Coast? I must confess it is good to be home. I feel I have moved a bit too much this summer. Junior is camping this week and I have the [quiet] home all to myself. Bliss.

  8. g on August 14, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    me too -the olive oil seller has personality shining through in that photo!

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 15, 2012 at 12:38 pm

      Glad you all loved my little friend. He was a cutie, with a wonderful smile! I will make sure to swing by his shop again next time I go to the Market…

  9. Katelyn @ Pure Panache on August 14, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Welcome back to dry land! I love people watching as well…I’ve never been to the Pike Place Market, but your photos capture it beautifully!

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 15, 2012 at 12:39 pm

      Merci Katelyn. I always love people watching, but being able to take photos of them to look afterwards added a new dimension to this guilty pleasure (and a great deal of fun…)

  10. French Heart on August 15, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    You have such a great eye Veronique..and love how you (naturally) bring out the French side. Today, marking Julia Child’s 100th B-Day we can thank her and First Lady Jackie Kennedy for that. They came into public view at the same time and really reintroduced a strong French foodie vibe to a wider audience. We’re lucky to have these Frenchy pockets in America….I always make a beeline to them wherever they are.

    I’m very fond of your camera too!

    Glad you all had a fabulous, safe sail and now can rest a little from vacay before school starts 😉 !

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 15, 2012 at 12:46 pm

      Bonjour Suzanne. Wonderful to hear from you, as always. Your post on Julia Child was lovely, and well deserved by that “grande dame” of French cooking. We are finally winding down at home. This has been a[another] busy summer!

  11. Peter Olson on August 16, 2012 at 1:25 am

    Such a good idea to photograph people, willing to pose (thanks to your friendly smile, I’m sure)! … and of course, in Seattle, Starbuck must be around!

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 16, 2012 at 7:17 am

      Hello Peter. It was a sunny day… and that makes people happy here, in Seattle, and everywhere else too I suspect. This was my very first street photography attempt but I predict there will be many more. Glad you had such a fantastic time in Italy with the family.

  12. mom jo on August 16, 2012 at 2:26 am

    bravo,ma fille pour cet article Jolis commentaires de tes lecteurs bises

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 16, 2012 at 7:18 am

      Bravo Mom! Ton premier commentaire sur le blog! Ce billet etait plus facile a lire, n’est-ce-pas? Bisous

  13. miss b on August 17, 2012 at 3:55 am

    Thank you for taking me on a stroll through this wonderful local market. (I enjoy visiting markets – French ones of course are a real treat and I recently spent at least an hour in the market in Munich). I love the way you have captured the various stallholders and visitors and I especially like the black and white photos. Great post, Véronique.
    P.S. Thank you very much for your wonderful comments about my Hong Kong post. We certainly don’t need walk-in fountains in the UK – we just need to step outside the door. We need some of your warm , dry weather here!

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 17, 2012 at 7:54 am

      Thank you, miss b, thank you! 🙂

  14. PerthDailyPhoto on August 17, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Summer in Seattle sounds super Veronique. It must be quite nice to be ‘aground’ again! Love your street shots and your choice of B&W, I’m a big fan of the Lumix as well, so light and easy to use oui! I can’t imagine anyone minding having their picture taken by you. Enjoy the rest of your summer, thankfully we’re almost at the end of winter..spring soon yay!!

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 17, 2012 at 7:55 am

      Summer in Seattle – whenever it does arrive – is, indeed, a special time, Grace. The last few weeks have been beautiful and VERY hot, and that is unusual here. I can’t believe your winter is already winding down, but I guess it makes sense, since fall is fast approaching here. We live in a funny world, don’t we? 🙂

  15. M-T on August 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Back on terra firma once again, my fellow City Girl. So nice to be home again. I remember a wonderful two weeks in Seattle during the summer quite a few years ago. I think we stayed at the Edgewater Inn right on the Sound. We could walk to Pike Place Market. I don’t think I’ve ever had such luscious raspberries. And I do remember all the great French eateries.

    We were there for the “Ring Cycle” at the Seattle Opera, which was very well done.

    Your fabulous pix made me think about a return visit.

  16. kimberly on August 18, 2012 at 9:34 am

    I loved this post as I have been a couple of times this summer and every time I go I remember how much I love the city! Great post mon amie~

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 18, 2012 at 4:43 pm

      Merci beaucoup Kim! We should have collaborated on this story: I have seen your beautiful pics of the market stalls before. They would have been the perfect companions to my “Market people.” 🙂

  17. Genie -- Paris and Beyond on August 18, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    It has been about five years since I was at Pike Place and love the unique perspective of this area. I remember the Inn at the Market and its delightful French café chairs and views of the water.You have really taken a step out with your street portraits – Bravo!! Most people are willing to be photographed and you have surely found your talent here. Love them in black and white, bien sûr!Bises,Genie

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 18, 2012 at 4:44 pm

      Merci Genie. Great to hear from you! Inn at the Market is my favorite hotel in Seattle (well, if I did ACTUALLY need to spend the night downtown, of course 🙂 Street photography is a lot of fun. I predict more of these shoots in the near future…

  18. Michel on August 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    I have enjoyed my visits to the Pike Place Market over the years including pausing a few minutes to watch the fish guys toss whole salmons. We have had some very nice meals in the places you mention. I am headed up on Tuesday for the day for meetings but won’t have time to get to the market as I am turning around and headed home the same evening.

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 18, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      Dear Michel. Too bad you will not have time to return to the Market next week, but I hope you can do it soon. Good thing about Pike Place Market, is that it has been around for over 100 years. I am pretty certain it will still be there for many more… Bon voyage to you!

  19. on August 19, 2012 at 6:02 am

    This is a place a truly can’t wait to visit! Thanks for giving me a preview!

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 19, 2012 at 9:08 am

      You’re welcome! 🙂

  20. Ange on August 19, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Loved the visit to the Pike Place markets. You aren’t so far away from home after all with some markets around. Your photos of the locals are just gorgeous Véronique 🙂 I loved meeting them. Isn’t that just what makes a market? A world even? The people. Bisous de Toulouse

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 19, 2012 at 9:11 am

      Exactement, Ange. It’s the people, the people first, then the place 🙂 I always look at people, wherever I go. You never get bored looking at them… Take care and keep up with the French posts. You are doing great!

  21. Richard Moisan on August 19, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Tes reportages sont toujours très intéressants et dépaysent de notre mode de vie.
    Bravo, et gros bisous, Véronique!

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 19, 2012 at 9:12 am

      Un grand merci Richard. Alors, tes vacances sont terminees? De retour dans la blogosphere?

  22. Angela on August 19, 2012 at 10:31 am

    I was seattle for a couple of months from April to June working on a movie and loved Pike’s Market, but my favourite seafood place was Taylors Shellfish Farm at Melrose Market….where I got to taste the famous geoduck… I wish i’d met you whilst I was there, we would have had plenty to share I’m sure!

    • French Girl in Seattle on August 19, 2012 at 8:34 pm

      Hello Angela, and welcome. Darn. It would have been fun to meet you, especially if you were around for a couple of months! I just visited your blog and I can tell we would have a lot to talk about. Maybe later…

  23. Natalie on August 20, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Wonderful series of B&W photos. What the colorful characters they are! Lovers are the best. Great photo story. Bravo Veronique!

  24. flowerywallpaper on August 23, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Eine ganz tolle Serie !!! Gratulation.

  25. The Reader's Tales on September 12, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    Magnifique article et photos sublimes.

    • French Girl in Seattle on September 14, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      Merci de votre visite.

  26. Finding France at Pike Place Market - French Girl in Seattle on January 12, 2023 at 2:10 pm

    […] the day, the week, and the seasons. It is a wonderful place to people-watch, as illustrated in this article I published a few years ago. If you have never been there, voilà a few iconic […]

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