France: Puces de St Ouen in Paris- the Poshest Flea Market You've Ever Seen.

What? 
The largest flea market in Paris (and possibly the world.) Think of it like a museum where all the objects is for sale!

Why visit? 
Les Puces de St Ouen is to other flea markets what a Michelin-starred restaurant is to McDo's. 

This is not just a collection of random junk from your neighbours' yard sale. This is some of the poshest and fanciest bric-à-brac around. If you're looking for some furniture to liven up your recently acquired French chateau, you've come to the right place.

And of course there are smaller and less expensive items too- most importantly, everything is for sale, even if you might have to take out a personal loan to afford some of it!

Where?
Just north of the Périphérique ring road in the suburb of St Ouen. Map


THERE'S SOMETHING FOR everybody at the Marché aux Puces, generally known as the Puces de St Ouen

There's cheap clothing and random household knickknacks of the kind collecting dust in your granny's attic. There's tonnes of weird but interesting tchotchkes. And then there is a large collection of high-quality antiques, of the kind that would not be out of place in a museum of decorative arts. 

But all have one thing in common: it's all for sale, and even if you can't afford the fancy stuff, it's still fun to look around and scour the wares for something that does fit within your budget (and perhaps your luggage allowance.)
What period is this from? An antiquaire's cheat sheet. 
In reality the Puces de St Ouen is not a single market- there are actually 15 markets, many of them specialized in specific periods, like Art Deco or the 20th century. But whatever you're looking for, it's lots of fun to wander and get lost in the many narrow lanes full of high-class junk. 
Let's start gently: there are many shops that sell old stocks of items that would be fun to buy if you were redoing a house. Like '50s light switches. Or old-fashioned lamps. These items tend to be affordable and available in sometimes surprisingly large quantities. 
Flip a switch...
Or maybe you're looking for a single piece, a nice frame or mirror to liven up a dull room. Well, we've got you covered here, mirror-wise: there are 100s of frilly French mirrors to choose from, many of them dating back to the second half of the 19th century. 
Mirror, mirror on the wall...
Looking for something with a bit of irrational exuberance? 
We've got you framed. 
But if you're really looking for a fancy make-over, there are plenty of dealers that can help you bring out your inner Marie-Antoinette. 'Let them eat cake! Under fancy chandeliers!' 
 
















You won't find anything like this on any other flea market around the world- and that alone makes the Puces worth a visit. 

Like at any antique market, bargaining is OK and pricing can be flexible (but don't expect Egyptian tourist bazaar-style discounts.) If you can't haul back one of the fancy mirrors in your checked luggage, have a look at things like glasses and cutlery- they're portable, can be used at home, and make a great souvenir of your trip to Paris. 
Minor Sights' loot included some affordable silver Art Deco cutlery. 
This shop specializes in naughty art- which apparently includes some sleazy Gauls. 



Getting there: 
Metro line 4 goes to Port de Clignancourt, from where it's a 5 minute walk. You'll pass some real flea markets first- rough and ready, where dodgy characters may be offering iPhones for sale that they 'found' on the street. Keep walking, and like at any crowded market, make sure your wallet is safely tucked away. 

Alternatively, bus 85 will take you straight to the market and can be caught at either Metro Porte de Clignancourt or near Jules Joffrin or Barbès-Rochechouart.  Alight at Rue de Rosiers at Marché aux Puces.

The Puces occupy a large area and comprise 15 different markets- pick up a paper map or download an electronic copy beforehand.  

Useful links:
Official website. 

1 comments:

  1. A great post and a timely reminder to visit this world class flea market. Thanks! I have included it in the 2nd edition of my guidebook "Only in Paris", which will be available from January 2016. More details at www.onlyinguides.com. Looking forward to more Paris posts...

    ReplyDelete

Have you been here? Or are you planning to go? Either way, we would love to hear about it.

 

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