Oct 12th, 2015, 11:06 PM

The Marché Aux Puces is an Extraordinary Adventure

By Nutsa Melitauri
Vintage objects found in Marché aux Puces at St-Ouen
If you are looking for an usual experience in Paris, Marché aux Puces at St-Ouen is the place to go.

If you think the Marché aux Puces at St-Ouen is merely a bazaar at the edge of Paris where counterfeit clothes are sold, guess again. Far more than a simple bazaar, it's an extraordinary flea market, where you can buy antiquities that aren't available anywhere else. Covering seven hectares and comprising fourteen independent markets, Marché aux Puces  is a vast vintage market where huge variety of antiquities are sold. Here are some things about Marché aux Puces that makes this place absolutely worth visiting!

1.      The products sold are extremely diverse and unique.

One of the most significant qualities of Marché aux Puces is its diversity of antiquities. In fact, it almost feels like a museum that happens to be selling their pieces. You can find unique objects such as musical instruments from indigenous cultures, various types of tribal jewelry, old furniture belonging to traditional French bourgeoisie families, various kinds of weapons, Victorian china dolls, jewelry dating back to World War I and more. All these objects are on display in shops and many are at least worth seeing, even if you don't buy.

2.      Every shop is a unique experience.

Every shop at Marché aux Puces has its own atmosphere that absorbs you when you enter into it. For example, the African tribal shop is decorated in gloomy colors and the goods are all thematic: necklaces made of fangs, silver earrings, animals’ bone bracelets, traditional clothing, tribal weapons, and traditional African musical instruments. The music played in the shop is also traditional. The vendor of this shop is dressed in the African tribal clothes and greets clients using African dialects.


Image credit: Instagram/@quaintrellebyab

3.      Vendors are friendly.

You do not always find friendly vendors in Paris; however, Marché aux Puces is a place where every vendor is smiling and friendly. They are usually happy to talk to their clients and explain the significance of the objects on display, helping you learn new and interesting things.

4.      You can meet with artists and collectors in person.

Many artists either own these vintage shops or visit them frequently. The atmosphere inside the flea market is extremely artistic and you can always find painters sitting in front of the vintage shops, smoking cigarettes and chatting with tourists. These painters are often asked to make paintings for tourists and you can always find a tourist posing for a portrait.

5.      You feel like you've gone back in time.

The flea market includes a vintage café with an old-timey decor. Every detail, including the paintings on the walls, menus, posters, music, and furniture will take you back to the 1930s. When you enter this unique space you have a feeling that you're frozen in time. This is an unusual feeling that everyone going to Marché aux Puces should experience.


Image credit: Instagram/@tinishka

The experience of being at the Marché aux Puces is an adventure that you can't have in everyday Paris life. Yes, before getting to the actual flea market, you have to go through the outer layer of peddlars at the bazaar, which is unpleasant. However, the vintage market that you will discover afterwards is absolutely worth it!

Marche aux Puces de St-Ouen

Address: Avenue de la Court de Clignacourt, 18th Arrondisement, Paris
Hours: Monday, 11am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am to 6pm.