It was always on my bucket list to shop the flea markets in Paris – so romantic, with winding passageways through stalls full of antiques and vintage finds. I counted my lucky stars on the day I finally got to shop at one of the biggest, Porte de Clignancourt, whose more formal name is Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen.
It was always on my bucket list to shop the flea markets in Paris – so romantic, with winding passageways through stalls full of antiques and vintage finds.
My previous experiences with flea markets were in California where a parking lot is converted into booths with fold-up tables, and then it’s all taken down at the end of the day. This Paris flea market is a whole other level. It’s a series of fifteen smaller markets over seven hectares with permanent stands, many branching off Rue des Rosiers. Each market has its own sort of vibe and type of merchandise. They are open on Saturday and Sunday, and I highly recommend going in the morning. (Some vendors also have Friday and Monday hours.)
One of my absolute favorite markets was Marche Vernaison, which is home to a wide variety of wares, from books and clothing to collectibles and jewelry. I scored a cool collar from the 18th level of Masons which now sits folded on a pewter tray in my living room.
I also fell in love with Eva and her mother in their antique jewelry stall (#153), which has been in operation for decades. Eva speaks fluent English and was so darn helpful. I could not resist a Victorian strand of faceted red coral and a hair comb once belonging to an aristocrat.
I truly enjoyed wandering around Marche Biron with its extravagant furniture and décor. One of my clients furnished her entire home from the Paris flea markets. She and her decorator flew out, they shopped together and had everything sent home in a big container. Her house is absolutely exquisite, and perhaps…one day…. #goals.
Though some may tell you to take the train there, I highly recommend taking Uber. I met quite a few people who were robbed on the train, surprisingly all by teen girls. Although many had warned me the flea markets are dangerous, I had zero problem. Granted, I dressed in a casual manner, I wasn’t wearing any flashy jewelry, and I walked with purpose, but those are reasonable precautions in many tourist situations.
There’s no need to bring your passport to the market, nor a lot of cash. There’s ATM’s available, and most dealers now take credit cards. What could be easier? Also, know that there are various restaurants scattered throughout the markets, so you can easily find sustenance between finding the perfect chair for your dressing room and a pair of vintage Chanel earrings.