With its detailed architecture and picture-perfect cafés, Paris has long been romanticized for its unique charms and oft-replicated style. It only makes sense that while there, you'd want to take home something that embodies your experience there-and not necessarily a paperweight replica of the Eiffel tower.
That’s why it’s a good thing that the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen has seen a resurgence in popularity over the last few years. Known simply as Les Puces, this flea market is a sprawling maze of potential treasures.
“All of the French flea markets are full of individual vendors selling what they specialize in, whether it be vintage artwork, crockery, clothing, or furniture,” notes Victoria Smith, publisher of SF Girl By Bay, and proprietor of Super Marché. “It's almost overwhelming, but take it slowly, and make a day of it.”
Smith's not kidding-Les Puces spans 17 acres on the northern outskirts of Paris, and it includes about 15 independent markets. To put it simply, it's a lot. But if you're short on time-or if you've been there countless times before-there are certain areas you shouldn't miss. Bookmark these ASAP.
“In my opinion, this is the best stop of all the markets,” says Ajiri Aki from Madame de la Maison, an online tabletop rental and antique shop. “It is so well organized and has experienced collectors, which means you won’t be sifting through junk or paying pennies for anything here. You can expect to find Art Deco furniture, mirrors, art, vintage fashion, giant shutters, and so on. Most stands will also help you organize international shipping, if necessary.”
Stands to Shop:
Maison Lefevre, Allée 2, Stand 101-103: “This is one of my favorite stands, because I can always find big items, like giant shutters, sideboards, and shelves, next to more accessible pieces, like mirrors and tabletop items,” Aki says.
Trésors Bruts, Allée 1, Stand 22: “This stand specializes in items from the 1950s through the 1970s, with lots of rattan and different types of wood furniture,” Aki adds.
Alain Lagrange, Allée 4, Stand 227: “Come to this stand for mirrors, chandeliers, and furniture,” Aki notes.
Marché Jules Vallès
“This [market], which is behind Paul Bert, feels more like sifting through hit-or-miss stalls, but the hits can be really good,” Aki adds. “You can expect to find ecclesiastical art, records, and antique instruments.”
“This is this windy market close to the entrance to Les Puces,” Aki notes. “It feels like a labyrinth of treasures. You can find textiles, paintings, and fixtures here. I love Vernaison because the price points are more approachable and it’s impossible to leave without buying a few things.”
Stands to Shop:
Janine Giovannoni, Angle Allées 3 and 7, Stand 141: “Janine Giovannoni has been at Vernaison for 30 years selling linen and laces,” Aki says. “I can trust her to have a nicely curated selection, and she is also incredibly knowledgeable about every single item in her shop.”
Danielle & Bertrand, Allée 1, Stand 16: “I love this stand when I’m looking for silver,” Aki adds. “Although it seems a bit unorganized at first, all of the silver has been cleaned. The prices are great as well.”
La Tablee d’Elo, Allée 6, stand 102: “I stop here when I’m looking to find lots of beautiful antique plates,” Aki says.
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