For over 21 years, a delightful corner of Parnell (known as Parnell Quarter) has been home to the extraordinary La Cigale French Market.
This idyllic market is sight to behold with artisanal and lifestyle market stalls featuring local, seasonal produce, freshly-baked breads, patisseries, charcuterie, patés, cheeses, jams, cheeses, and a variety of other local and European-imported treats for the pantry. On any given weekend there are between 30-35 stallholders creating a bustling and vibrant marketplace.
Wafting through the markets is the mouth-watering aroma of French crêpes cooking, and the rich spices of the famous Spanish rice and seafood dish steaming in a metre-long paella pan in another corner. The bistro and café next to the marketplace is a popular spot for weekend brunch and spending time with friends and family.
The focus of La Cigale has always been to offer Aucklanders the freshest ingredients to take home and produce a delicious home-cooked meal. With a strong ethos around family and community, the market is well-known for its joie de vivre atmosphere. It’s no surprise that La Cigale has been voted Auckland’s Best Food Market for the last seven years.
Mike and Elizabeth Lind are the passionate couple behind La Cigale. When the Linds started the business, they were moving away from the fabric industry. It’s hard to imagine that the space La Cigale now occupies was once a warehouse filled with hundreds of bolts of fabric.
In July 1997, Elizabeth and Mike arrived home in Auckland from a month-long family trip to France. Inspired by the food market experience they had in the south of France, they wrote a one-page business plan for a ‘lifestyle emporium’ with a French-style produce market.
“We wanted to appeal to all the senses – beautiful things to look at and wear, soaps and perfumes to smell, lots of textures to touch; we wanted our customers to imagine they were in Provence listening to the sound of cicadas while tasting delicious French food and wine,” said Elizabeth.
At that time, there were only two other weekend markets in Auckland – located in Avondale and Otara. Elizabeth would often take the 30-minute drive out to one of them to buy fresh produce to satisfy her love for food and home-cooking.
La Cigale has three parts – the shop, the cafe and the market.
The majority of the shop’s boutique products are from France, offering up a range of antique furniture, high-quality homewares and kitchen equipment, and stationery. The bistro and café offer delicious French-inspired food – such as croissants, quiches, tartines, macarons and more.
The market runs on Saturdays from 8.00am - 1.30 pm, and Sundays from 9.00am - 1.30pm.
La Cigale also holds the weekend market in Britomart which operates year-round on Saturdays from 8.00am - 1.00pm.
La Cigale is located at 69 St Georges Bay Road, Parnell.
La Cigale in Britomart is held in Takutai Square.