Puces de St-Ouen (Flea Market of St. Ouen)
Sun: 10 AM to 6 PM
Perhaps the most famous flea market in the world, the Puces de St-Ouen, a very large market with over 2,000 vendors, is made up of many smaller markets, of varying degrees of quality and price, and each with its own personality. Even if you are not in the market for antiques, vintage clothing or French “objets,” visiting the puces is a fun way to spend Sunday, when most other places in Paris are closed. Many American antique dealers make regular trips here, even though they might find equivalent pieces at lower prices elsewhere in France. The Paris puces have everything!
It is located in the north of Paris, just beyond the boulevard peripherique between the Porte de St. Ouen and the Porte de Clignancourt. Bus #95 is the easiest way to get there; get off at the end of the line (direction Porte de Montmartre); you will be at the entrance. You will first see lots of temporary market stalls, with loads of people looking and milling around. Be careful to hide your purse or wallet; leave your passport in your hotel!
Most of the markets are along the rue des Rosiers or the rue Paul Bert. The favorites for fine antiques are the Marché Biron, the Marché Serpette, and the Marché Paul Bert. There are markets specializing in what ever you want—antique furniture, silver, pottery, paintings, lamps, etc. This huge market can be confusing; be sure to look at the handy map on the market's website. There are shippers in the market if you find something you must take back home.
Feel free to wander around the stands, and acknowledge the owner with a “bonjour, monsieur/madame” or with a smile if he or she is present. An American antique dealer explains that bargaining is expected—everything is usually priced somewhat over what the vendor really expects. But don’t expect a huge reduction. And don’t feel obligated to buy if you really don’t want an item you have bargained for (and turning down an item is, in fact, the way to find out how much the dealer will really take!) It is difficult for the French dealers to find quality antiques to sell these days, but they might be enticed to give a nice reduction, especially with a weak world-wide economy.
There are many cafes and bistros in the area when you need some refreshment.
The puces are also open on Friday but only for professionals.
Bus: 60 Direction Porte de Montmartre;get off at porte de Montmartre
Bus 85: get off at porte de Clignancourt, or continue along the rue des Rosiers in St-Ouen.
Metro: take Line 4 (Porte de Clignancourt) north and get off at the end of the line, the Porte de Clignancourt stop.