Marche aux puces de St-Ouen (Day 2)
There are very few things in life that excite me more than the thrill of treasure hunting at a flea market. Although we have a few good markets and antique shops back home, Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris flea market scene sparked my obsession with visiting Paris' world famous Marche Aux Puces de St-Ouen. Known as the biggest flea market in the world, St-Ouen is basically an area (the size of a village) filled with antique furniture, vintage clothing and artisanal knick-knacks. (oh, and it's just a short metro ride from central Paris!)
Our first attempt at visiting this magical place was a couple of years ago but it was an absolute fail; wrong day, wrong place, wrong shoes. This time, we made sure to research everything; best days, best metro station, what to do and what not to do. Many websites and blogs warn visitors of the area and what surrounds the market. I must say that I agree. As you arrive in St-Ouen, your first impression may be an intimidating one; HUNDREDS of stalls selling fake designer goods and electronics (not to mention aggressive vendors and a sea of local shoppers looking for the a deal on a pair of “ Christine Loubouton” or “Gucchi” handbag!). Amongst it all, you have (like everywhere else in the world) scammers prey on clueless tourists so make sure to have all of your bags closed, your cameras and maps tucked in safely and walk like you are one of them (meaning without a care in the world, slightly pissed off and like you know where you are going)! Don’t be an easy target.
Like out of thin air, suddenly, behind a display of stolen Iphones, you read “Bienvenue a St-Ouen” and you start seeing dispersed antique shops and cafes. You have arrived to this magical place called Marche aux puces de St-Ouen…
St-Ouen basically consists of streets, alleys, warehouses, garages, shops, indoor and outdoor markets. Make sure to walk every street and don’t hesitate to walk into garages and warehouses… They all have something worth seeing.
There’s something for every budget; 3000€ paintings as well as 10€ vintage cotton blouses. And like most touristic hotspot, you will have overpriced items, at least try to bargain a little! Unless you plan on buying big and expensive pieces, make sure to have cash on you as the line for the ATM (called “distributrice”) is ridiculous.
Marche aux puces St-Ouen - Rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint Ouen, France