The best flea markets in Paris

The most famous flea market in Paris — and the largest in the world — is Le Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen. It’s been going strong since the 1870s when rag merchants who were forced out of town started peddling their wares just outside the city walls.

Located on the outskirts of the city, Saint Ouen is a trek to reach and a big commitment. Take the Metro to Porte de Clignancourt and then take Avenue Michelet past the ring road.

It’s so vast — 17 acres — that it can easily take a full day to explore. On Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays, more than 150,000 bargain hunters, antique collectors, and curious travelers investigate the 2,500 vendors here looking for one-of-a-kind items. What you’ll find ranges from junk or brocante, as it’s known here, to world-class antiques. And the venues run the gamut too. Some dealers set up folding tables. Others sell their wares in delightfully stylish spaces.

You can get a map of the market online or pick up one when you arrive. It’s actually pretty well organized with more than a dozen markets, specializing in furniture, 18th- and 19th-century decorative items, engravings, military items, or the like. The main drag is Rue des rosiers, where the original four markets — Vernaison, Malik, Biron, and Jules Valles are located. Each has its own ambience, and some are quite picturesque with wisteria-draped patios, and charming old architecture. In fact, Saint-Ouen is a Protected Urban Area.

You won’t find many bargains here, but if you’re looking for something unusual, or you collect something, a day here could be very rewarding. There are several restaurants and a couple of always-busy ATMs. Wear comfortable shoes.

If you don’t have time for Saint-Ouen, Paris has other flea markets that are more manageable and more accessible.

Not far from the Hotel de Ville, the Village Saint-Paul isn’t exactly a flea market, but it does have more than 200 dealers selling antiques, brocantes, and old knick knacks in a series of connected courtyards. It’s a great place to look for original gifts or housewares from the 1930s to the 50s.

On the south side of Paris, the Marche aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves takes place every weekend. Like Saint-Ouen, it also has many dealers who specialize in books, prints, maps, and furniture. But prices here are a little better and the 300+ vendors expect to bargain. Many flea market fans think de Vanves is the best in Paris. Keep you eye out for Hermes scarves, vintage purses, and old perfume bottles.

Not far from Opera Bastille, there’s a covered and an open-air market at Place d’Aligre. In addition to antiques, vintage clothes, and junk, there’s also fresh produce and North African spices and crafts. So it’s a great destination for cooks as well as collectors. If you don’t pick up lunch at the market, there are lots of cafes in the neighborhood.

Read about the best consignment shops in Paris here.

1) Marche aux Puces des Saint-Ouen
2) Le Village Saint-Paul
3) Marche aux Puces Porte de Vanves
4) Place d’Aligre Market

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