Toolkit: Le Marché aux Puces
Les Marches Aux Puces – flea Markets in Paris
As well as being a world capital of haute couture, playing host to a multiplicity of stylish designer brands, Paris is also a great place to explore if you prefer a more unusual shopping experience. The city is home to a collection of different Marchés aux puces (‘flea markets’), where it is possible to find amazing antiques and vintage clothing for very reasonable prices. However, they are so huge and contain so many millions of items that it may be difficult to know where to begin. Therefore, we have written a special flea market toolkit, that might help you navigate the gems that the marchés aux puces have to offer.
We begin with Paris’ largest and most famous flea market, Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, which features in one of the scenes from Woody Allen’s popular film Midnight in Paris. Located at Porte de Clignancourt at the end of the Ligne 4, this massive market covers 7 hectares with hundreds of stalls crammed full of records, books, old postcards, figurines, jewellery, paintings, crockery and toys. On the ground floor, you will find innovative and unusual displays of furniture from all of the different eras of the 20th century, as well as racks full of colourful and flamboyant clothes. The market is bursting with an infinity of objects that all tell their own individual story, meaning that you can spend hours and hours browsing through, and leave, still feeling like you’ve only scratched the surface.
- Tip: Start your exploration of this market in the morning, in order to avoid the crowds that descend after lunch.
On the other side of Paris, in the 14th and 15th arrondissements, you will find two smaller marché aux puces which are only open on weekends. While Le Marché aux Puces de Vanves concentrates primarily on antiques and brocante items, Le Marché du Livre Ancien et d’Occasion is a market dedicated solely to second hand books. There you will find everything from first editions, to original manuscripts, to bandes dessinées (‘comics’), all waiting to be enjoyed.
- Be sure to watch out for pickpockets, who will happily take advantage of your immersion in your exploration of the items on sale.