A much-loved weekend pastime for locals and travellers alike is a visit to the markets. Essential to kicking off every Parisian découverte is a warm buttery croissant (or two) accompanied by a piping hot strong café. Once you’re suitably primed for the day it’s off to the flea market (brocante or marché aux puces) in the hope of finding an irresistible treasure. Don’t forget to stop for lunch at a local creperie – you need to keep your energy levels up. And of course, reward yourself with a cheeky little wine at the end of a busy day of vintage-hunting!
Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, or Les Puces (the fleas) to locals, in Porte de Clignancourt is said to be the biggest flea market of its kind in Paris, nay the world, and has been around since the Middle Ages. Alleyway after alleyway of covered halls filled to the brim with everything from high-end antiques shops to dusty cluttered vintage booths. Well worth a visit, but make sure to wear a comfortable pair of shoes and brace yourself for your senses to be overwhelmed. Plan ahead as the market is only open Friday through to Monday and I wouldn’t want you to be disappointed. (Opening times below)
Here’s a tip learned the hard way: if you see something you simply must have then buy it, don’t wait! It’s a regret not worth risking to think you’ll circle back to the shop later. If your sense of direction is anything like mine you may never find that shop again! This grande dame (the market, not me) is so vast, 7 hectares in fact, that at the end of the day or when your feet are screaming ‘please stop’ you may not have covered the whole market let alone retraced your steps to find that must-have item.
How to get there:- we always use the metro as you simply can’t go wrong. But a word to the wise: watch your belongings like a hawk, there are some very clever pickpockets on the trains and at the entrance to the markets. Despite being a street-savvy born-and-raised Londoner, my other half learned just how slick these professionals are. But that’s a story for another time…
Metro: line 13(Garibaldi stops), line 4 (Porte de Clignancourt) &
line 14 (Saint-Ouen)
When we were there last 2018 the times were
Friday from 8am
to 12pm Saturday & Sunday
from 10am to 6pm Monday from 11am to 5pm