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The Paris Flea Market or Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen is legendary. Of all the Paris flea markets, this is the one not to miss.
It had been on my list to visit for a while and one Sunday in August, I finally ventured there.
I was a bit hesitant to go as I had read that many stalls were closed in August. Yes, I can say I have now witnessed a city where a large proportion of the population goes on holidays in August and closes up shop.
In the year of the Coronavirus, it was eerily quiet. Many stalls were closed, although just as many were open but the alleyways were devoid of the usual throngs of people. And the renowned restaurants tucked into the markets were closed, due to Covid-19.
Nonetheless, my first trip to the Paris Flea Market was an experience not to be forgotten. It was a trip down memory lane (does anyone else remember dinky toy cars?) while at the same time an opportunity to dream about setting up a future home.
The gorgeous antiques, quirky bric-a-brac and vintage stands are a browser’s paradise. I am not a flea market gal but I will definitely be returning to Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen.
What Will I Find At The Paris Flea Market?
The Paris Flea Market is huge at seventeen hectares and fourteen separate markets.
14 MARKETS …
With the largest concentration of antique dealers in the world and this many stands, you can pretty well count on finding anything your heart desires, it might just take some searching around. Old vinyl, gleaming silverware, thousands of empty frames and mirrors of every shape are on display for the buyer. Paintings, antique furniture, trinkets, pinball machines and astonishing delights that would be perfect for movie sets can be found at the Paris Flea Market.
How Should I Tackle Such A Huge Flea Market?
Have a few of the markets in mind where you would like to start your explorations and browsing. Get into your “flâneur/ flâneuse” mode. If you are not sure how to flâner, read my tips here.
Wander. Explore. Embrace your curious spirit. Ramble. Don’t even consider going to the Paris Flea Market if you are in a hurry.
I started at the Marché Vernaison, which is on your right as you turn into rue des Rosiers. It is full of stands carrying jewellery, clothing, silver, furniture and glassware. A browser’s paradise.
If there is a marvellous something that you have your eye on and think you will return for another look later, take note of the number of the allée and the number of the stand or better yet get the vendor’s business card.
Across the street from the Marché Vernaison is Marché Dauphine. This market is full of ancient Parisian postcards, prints, books, furniture and vintage clothing. Looking for a gift for someone? You’ll find a treasure here.
I barely made a dent in exploring this giant market of second-hand treasures but it was enough to intrigue me for further visits!
Why Is Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen So Well Known?
On doing a little research before heading out to the Paris Flea Market in Saint-Ouen, this is what I came to understand.
Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen is a big deal.
With fourteen markets and approximately 1700 vendors, it is the largest flea market in Europe.
This Paris Antique Market is one of the most visited attractions in France and millions of people meander the allées every year.
There have been second-hand goods exchanging hands in this area of Saint-Ouen since about 1870. Many developments and changes have taken place over the years but there have always been second-hand dealers and a flea market in Saint-Ouen. Read the full history here.
What Should I Bring With Me To The Paris Flea Market?
This amazing antique market is full of surprises. You may think you are going to buy silverware and end up with a chair from the times of Louis XIV! Or possibly a china trinket from the Tetley tea boxes of the 1960’s!
Bring cash, although some merchants do take credit cards. The only bank machine I saw was outside of Marché Dauphine and there was a long line up.
Also throw in a measuring tape if you are looking for furniture.
How Do I Get To Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen?
Take the Métro to Porte de Clignacourt on Line #4 (magenta colour on the Métro map). From the station platform, take the Sortie (Exit) 1 or 2. When you leave the station, pay attention as you are on a very busy corner that is known for pickpockets.
Look for the signs for the Paris Flea Market – Puces de Saint-Ouen – Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen. I had trouble seeing the signs right away. The Paris Flea Market is about a ten-minute walk from the Métro stop in the direction of the Periphique, Paris’s ring road. Head towards the highway and walk under the overpass.
Be prepared to pass a busy weekend market with lots of tents set up and the vendors’ vans lining the road. Keep walking, unless something catches your eye! This is not Le Marché aux Puces.
The Paris Flea Market is on your left on rue des Rosiers. The same name but, of course, this is not the rue des Rosiers found in le Marais.
You can alternately take the Métro Line #13 (light blue colour on the Métro map) and get off at Garibaldi. You will be entering the market from the opposite side.
Or perhaps getting to the Paris Flea Market by spaceship is another alternative!
What Are The Paris Flea Market Hours?
Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen is open:
- Saturdays 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Sundays from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Mondays from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Friday mornings some vendors are open for visitors.
- All holidays except Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and May 1.
The first two weeks of August sees many stands at the Paris Flea Market closed for holidays. I was there at the end of the third week of August and it was very quiet.
September might be a wonderful time to visit as vendors return from their summer break. My guess is that they have been scouring other parts of France and places further afield to expand their inventory.
Here is the official site of Les Puces de Paris: Saint-Ouen.
Should I Haggle With The Vendors?
Yes. Yes. And…yes. I am the world’s worst haggler. But even I tried bargaining at The Paris Flea Market. I’m never sure when they say, “Well Madam, it was €40 but I will sell it to you for €30” if I am supposed to keep bargaining. I tried and was told the designer silk scarf I was buying for my mother was ancient silk. The vendor looked up the designer on her phone to show me that her price was fair.
I loved watching all the vendors interact with each other. Some sat and shared lunch together and a glass of rosé, while others chatted amongst each other. A real sense of community can be felt at this Paris Flea Market.
Where Can I Eat at the Paris Flea Market?
Tucked away in Marché Vernaison is the restaurant, Chez Louisette. I had heard of this legendary place that opened in the 1930s several times and imagined eating a home-cooked lunch listening to Edith Piaf!
Another long-standing restaurant at the Paris Flea Market is Ma Cocotte.
On rue de Rosiers, I had lunch at the café Le Voltaire. A definite good choice if you are hungry!
Whether you are a flea market kind of shopper or not, an afternoon spent at the Paris Flea Market is an experience you won’t forget! I barely made a dent in exploring this giant market of second-hand treasures. I’ll be back…!
More Travel Info…
Planning your trip to Paris? Book your tickets in advance for a Seine cruise, a timed entrance to the Louvre, and a skip-the-line ticket for the Arc de Triomphe. And don’t forget to plan in advance for Versailles and Disneyland!
This guide to the arrondissements of Paris will help you plan the best trip ever! Not sure where to stay? Try here. It’s full of ideas of things to do in each quarter. Don’t miss these 21 Hidden Gems or these fabulous Paris experiences.
If you love that village feel in Paris these areas might interest you:
Montmartre, much like Ile Saint- Louis, feels like a small village. This post on Montmartre leads you to the most popular sites as well as some lesser-known places on the hill.
La Butte aux Cailles, tucked away in the 13th arrondissement, is another place in Paris that has retained its village-like charm. My article on La Butte aux Cailles will lead you to discover some of the area and its visually enticing street art.
Canal Saint-Martin is another place full of small restaurants, boutiques and plenty of character. Stroll the bridges of the canal under the chestnut trees and feel like a true Parisian. All the details on this “bobo” district are in this article on Canal Saint-Martin.
Le Marais is one of the oldest areas of Paris. Once marshland, it is hopping with boutiques, cafés, gorgeous old mansions and museums. Read my full guide to le Marais and also insider Marais tips from a local.
If you are looking for food suggestions, read about where to find the best croissants in Paris. There are also plenty of café suggestions for the Marais area in this post: Tips from a Local. And if you are exploring the area around Canal Saint-Martin, here are the best places to stop for a bite or to find the fixings for a picnic.
Travelling to Paris alone? This article on navigating Paris alone is full of tips and tricks for the solo traveller.
This page has all my articles on Paris that will help you plan out your trip, including day trips from Paris. I hope you subscribed to my newsletter to get my free download – An Amazing 2-day Itinerary in Paris.
If you are going further afield in France, make sure to check out my page on France.