Marché aux puces de Saint-Ouen – the biggest flea market in Europe is an absolute must do on your to-do list when visiting Paris! The market holds about 2,000 to 3,000 booths on a 15km-long area that offers anything one could hope for. I enjoyed all the little alleys the most (the one you can see in the picture).
The area between Porte de Clignancourt and Porte de Saint-Ouen is a real paradise for bargain hunters, collectors of all kinds, and treasure hunters. In the beginning, do not get scared away by the many long booths that offer the usual clothing as seen on any other market.
First a little story about our visit there:
We finally got off the bus/train stop at Porte de Clignancourt and can you believe it? The barrel did not show on the map I had. To make sure we will not miss a thing and find everything alright, I always jot down all the details in my notebook. But that clearly did not work here because there was no flea market in sight. And so we were standing on the street a bit clueless on what to do when a friendly French woman came by and asked what we were looking for. With a few words in French and a whole lot of sign and body language, we explained to the lady where we wanted to go. Since she noticed that our French skills were not exactly great she answered the same way with full body usage. But we understood her very well. Before leaving, she told me I should put my expensive camera away because it would be too dangerous at the market. We were thankful for her help and I put my camera in my bag and instead took out my small, beloved Rollei Instamatic with which all pictures in this article were taken with that day.
First, we got to the part of the flea market that was a little disappointing to us because all the booths were selling different items like clothing, bags, shoes and so on that were brand new. After a while we reached the beautiful part of the flea market. And that is where we found the small alleys with cozy stores, old furniture, and much more.
I did not really buy anything at the flea market. Maybe I got there at the wrong time of the day. Whatever reason, it was simply beautiful to just stroll though the little streets and the market itself. Finding information about the market online after the visit, I am lucky that it was very empty when we were there.
Opening hours are: Saturday through Monday, 10am to 6.30pm. Please check the homepage before going to see if information is still current.