Spain have worked hard to recreate its markets. This is particularly the case of Madrid with the San Miguel market next to the Plaza Real and the San Anton market in the Chueca area. These two markets were reorganized and rethink to offer a tourism experience as much as a retail experience.
The experience includes two levels of discovery for the tourist: local habits to buy fresh produces and the joy to test new ingredients and dishes.The market is divided in 2 areas, the retail area at the ground level and the catering area at the first level.
The catering area offers a variety of culinary experiences such as a duck and foie gras dishes stall (with delicious croquetas de duck), a japanese stall, a oyster stall offering spanish oyster with cava and so on…
It is very nice place to “ir de tapeo” with friends during the afternoon or before going out. But as every great place, it is quite crowded at spanish lunch or diner time.
Those spanish markets make me wonder why local french markets did not think about this great idea to dynamize and increase their attractivity to tourist. Food tourism as the new UNWTO publication mentions it, is a tranversal activity that is part of the travel experience for most tourists. I would be happy the work on that concept for french markets!
Picture from http://barriodechueca.blogspot.com.es/2012/11/san-anton-mercado-tradicional-de-lunes.html