Shopping

A Guide to Paris’ Flea Market

by Verity McRae

When most people hear the phrase”‘shopping in Paris,” their minds are likely to think of trendy hipster boutiques in Le Marais or super-chic shopping by Place Vendôme. However, in my opinion, the most authentic shopping experience you will find isn’t in the city’s heart but in the north of Paris, a few stops past the well-trodden streets of Montmartre. I’m referring to Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, the largest antique market in the world. Les Puces is made up of over 2,500 little shops spread across fifteen unique mini markets and absolutely filled to the brim with rare treasures.

The reality is you could spend a lifetime sifting through the 17 acres of flea market madness. To make things easier, I’ve created a short guide on my top three markets to visit and where you to grab a bite to eat in the environs.

Left: Stacks of brown Louis Vuitton trunks with the iconic logo at Les Puces. Right: A white room full of antiques including tables, raws, paintings, mirrors, chairs, dressers and lamps at Les Puces.
Top: Alina Kovalchuk
Left: @lemondeduvoyage / Right: @katherineafry

Marché Paul Bert Serpette 

There are many places you could start your market venture, but the swankest of them all is without a doubt Marché Paul Bert Serpette. So swanky that celebrities including Kanye West, Mick Jagger, and Sharon Stone have even stopped by. 

At Marché Paul Bert Serpette you will find a bit of everything, such as mid-century dining tables, elaborate jewelry and renaissance musical instruments, all waiting to be snatched up for a bargain. 

If you’re looking for a luxury steal, check out Le Monde du Voyage (Stand 15, Allée 3) where you will find one-of-a-kind Hermès scarfs, to-die-for Chanel bags and stacks of vintage Louis Vuitton trunks reaching the ceiling.

Left: Wooden boxes of vintage Elle magazines from the 1970's at Les Puces. Right: A photo of a corner of a flea market store that sells vinyls at Les Puces. Many can be seen in wooden stands in the photo
@marchedauphine

Marché Dauphine 

Marché Dauphine is the perfect market for 90s babies looking to find forgotten gems from their childhood. Under its glass-roofed ceiling, you’ll find a collection of 150 merchants selling everything from vintage video game sets, Brittney Spears vinyls, and even functioning Furbies. 

However, the most interesting sight for shoppers is the life-sized flying saucer plopped right in the middle of the 64,500 ft2 pavilion. You can gaze at this bad boy from either of Marché Dauphine’s two levels while chatting to the friendly vendors, or while on the hunt for a long-lost gem from your childhood that will spark a wave of nostalgia lasting days. 

Left: A photo of a taxidermied zebra hung on a wall that is beige in colour at Les Puces. Flowers and other ornaments surround the zebra. Right: A close up image of scrabble pieces and to the bottom, the pieces have been arranged to spell amour.
Left: @marat / Right: @clemence.gle

Marché Vernaison 

Perhaps the most authentic market at Les Puces is Marché Vernaison. Spend a few hours here weaving down its narrow alleys and into more than 200 stores selling anything and everything.

A few shops I recommend stopping by are Tenenbaum for rare high-end perfumes (Stand 144, Allée 3), The Duke Shop for American vintage (Stand 37, Allée 1), and Marie Kadrinoff for a collection of golden picture frames, old school lights, and more nestled under an ivy facade (Stand 175, Allée 8).

Left: A photo of many antiques at a shop in Les Puces, including chandeliers, glass ornaments, mirrors and more. Right: A photos of renaissance style paintings on a white wall in a shop at Les Puces.
Left: @li_and_the_world Right: @parisestgris

Time to Refuel 

When you’ve worked up an appetite and your hands can thrift no more, I recommend checking out these neat joints close by.

Chez Louisette

If you’re starved in the market itself, be sure to check out this petit bistrot hidden in Marché Vernaison for a truly chaotic French dining experience. Chez Louisette serves hearty French cuisine in a room jam packed with antique objects while playing old-timey French favorites.

Left: A black and white photo of a man drinking a bear at the bar stand in a bar while watching live music. Right: A photo of a flea market vendor at Les Puces standing outside his shop at night, with all the chandeliers on.
@nuocmamphotography

La Chope des Puces 

Just left of Marchée Dauphine you’ll find this well-known establishment, where renowned jazz musician Django Reinhart once played. It’s the perfect spot to sit down and listen to live jazz while indulging in some delicious food. 

Left: A close up image of a person holding a vegetarian burger at a bar on railway tracks - Le Hasard Ludique. Right: A photo of bar-goers drinking during the day at a bar on railway tracks - Le Hasard Ludique.
Left: @léon_pithaï / Right: @charlotte_béja

Le Hasard Ludique

A little beyond the market (but still close enough reach by foot) you will find one of the trendiest bohemian spots in Paris. Situated along abandoned railway tracks, Le Hasard Ludique is perfect for lounging out on beanbags with a drink or participating in a game of pétanque with other bar-goers. 

Getting to Les Puces 

Fridays 8pm – midnight, Saturdays and Sundays 10am – 6pm, Mondays 11am – 5pm.

  • Metro Line 4, stop Porte de Clignancourt 
  • Metro Line 13, stop Garibaldi
  • The 85 bus and arrive right on Les Puces’ doorstep. 
Left: A photo of a set of green dresser draws with a plant and a vase resting on top, at a shop in Les Puces. Above the draws on the wall is a Paris street sign and a collection of candles and bottles resting on shelves. Right: A photo of many antiques in a white room, including chairs, lamps, prints, vases, rugs and flowers.
Left: @lestoliers / Right: @katherineafry

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Written by Verity McRae for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person (when possible)? Check out new marketplace shop and experiences.

Written By

Verity McRae

Verity is a Kiwi expat and hobby writer currently living in Paris. Before moving to the other side of the world in 2020, she worked as a PR consultant at a corporate communications agency in New Zealand for three years. Later this year Verity will begin a masters degree in Paris in pursuit of an international career in communications. In her spare time, you can find Verity wandering in and out of Parisian bookshops, sat down with a coffee at her favourite cafe Loustic or going for scenic runs along the Seine. View Verity McRae's Website

One comment on “A Guide to Paris’ Flea Market

Oh, how I loved Le Marché aux Puces on my visits to Paris! I’d take friends there every time I was in the city. We’d stop at a nearby cafe for a croque before losing ourselves in the endless stalls. And I do rather wish I still had the Nehru jacket I bought there in the 90s.

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