The French market is a microcosm of modern France. From the food on display, you can track France's colonial migrations - and understand its regionalisms.
For instance on our local market in Ezy-sur-Eure, the inner circle of food is from Normandy. Fine cheeses - Camembert, Pont l'Eveque, Livarot. (Only Camembert is widely known outside France.) A predominance of beef, horsemeat (there are still two boucheries chevalines), and above all pork. Lamb and mutton are hardly seen at all - whereas in the south, with its sparse, dry limestone landscape, you'd see far more. And while we have goat's cheese, there's no goat meat available (tough if I want to cook a Caribbean curry). Local cream, rich and thick, and local butter, and of course our alcoholic specialities - cider and calvados, and 'eau de vie de cidre', which sounds complicated but is just 'calvados' that comes from producers outside the eponymous département.
Then there are the regional specialities. There's a Breton stall selling kouign amann, a caramelised, layered pastry concoction. There's a Corsican stall which sells excellent hams and cheeses, including very fine sheep's and goat's milk cheeses and sausages from the wild boar.
And then there are the stalls serving up food from other nations that came under the sway of France. No West African stalls, alas (you'll find those in Paris), but several which sell North African spices and groceries - couscous, preserved lemons, coriander and cardamom and little tubes of wickedly hot harissa paste. And a Vietnamese traiteur from whom you can buy little dim sum like pastries and noodle dishes.
We Brits often excoriate ourselves for having no national cuisine. We're crap at cooking, we say - that's why Indian and Chinese food have been so successful in England. But the success of Indian food has far more to do with the expansion of the British Empire into India and Pakistan - and the failure of the French to expand from their redoubt at Pondicherry - than it does with a failure of local cuisine.
After all, the French still have a strong culinary tradition of their own. But it hasn't stopped Algerian and Vietnamese cooking becoming well known - as well as Chinese good.