One of largest and most varied antiques and flea markets in world, stretching over an incredible seven hectares, the Marché aux Puces de Saint Ouen (Saint Ouen Flea Market) is more than just a market: it’s a Parisian institution. Listed as a French urban heritage site, the weekend market encompasses up to 3,000 exhibitors and is split into fifteen separate sections, each with a unique atmosphere and array of goods.
With everything from antique furnishings retailing for tens of thousands of Euros to cheap and cheerful souvenirs for less than a Euro, the variety at the market is truly unbeatable. For antique and vintage pieces, the Marché Malassis and Marché Paul Bert areas are most popular, while eccentric treasures abound in the Marché Vernaison, where Moroccan rugs, Chanel perfume decanters, 19th-century ornaments and even French military wares are among the unique finds. Porte de Clignancourt houses the bulk of the bargain clothes stalls, but try Marché Dauphine or Marché Serpette for vintage clothing and jewelry, and for general bric-a-brac and clearance items the Marché Lecuyer has some great bargains.
The historic markets date back to 1885, when a jumble of stalls took over the plot on the city outskirts but today the stretch is more like a rambling village, where jovial banter and heated haggling offer a glimpse of traditional France at its most authentic. You’ll need to work hard for your bargains though -- with thousands of visitors attending each week, vendors save the best deals for those willing to attempt a bit of local lingo.