From the outside, it looks like any other Parisian covered market. Wander through its romantic 19th century pavilions, however, and you’re transported to a hidden jungle within the Gothic heart of Paris. The sounds of traffic and crowds of tourists coming across the Pont des Arts are slowly drowned out by a piercing crescendo of birds calling from their cages: red and neon green parrots, lavender and turquoise parakeets, tangerine canaries, cooing doves, miniature cockatoos, and more.
The Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux is one of the oldest markets in Paris. Located at the Place Louis-Lépine, it dates back to 1808, when Napoleon Bonaparte ruled as Emperor of France and implemented a number of upgrades to the city, including several different food markets, la Colonne Vendôme, l’Eglise de la Madeleine, and rue de Rivoli.
On any given Sunday, the Marché aux Oiseaux is one of the busiest spots in the city. During my last visit, three cages passed before my eyes within five minutes, as overjoyed children tugged on their parents’ arms, pointing to their newfound feathered friends.
The surrounding flower stalls offer one of the city’s largest varieties of local and exotic blooms, from orchids to dahlias and hydrangea, as well as herbs and succulents. You can also stock up on pots, soil, and garden decorations with assistance from the helpful vendors.
Even if you’re not looking to take a new pet home, this unusual marché is worth a glimpse in springtime or summer, just for the spectacle of colors, sounds, and admiring onlookers. It’s a historic, offbeat Parisian treasure— a perfect outing for children and strolling couples alike.
Note: The Marché aux Fleurs is open every day from 8am to 7:30pm and offers only potted plants on Sundays. The Marché aux Oiseaux is open Sundays from 8am to 7pm.
Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux – Place Louis Lépine et Quai de la Corse, 75004 Paris. Metro Cité, Ligne 4.
- Discover the one of the other oldest markets in Paris: le marché des Enfants Rouges.
- Feeling a little lost in the markets? Check out our guide to Parisian market shopping.
- The best markets in Paris, according to Time Out Paris! Whether you’re looking for food, antiques, clothing – there’s something here for everyone.