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Paris Flea Market Faves 

I love going to the Marché aux Puces at St-Ouen (M° Clignancourt). Every time I'm there I find yet another stand to adore and obsess over. I actually went to check out the Chantal Thomass stand, and yes, I'd live there, but there nothing strikingly original. I got a lot more excited about the adorable Nini Peau d'Chien in the Marché Vernaison.

There's something in the repetitive mise-en-scène of the objects that's so mesmerizing and attractive...even if I didn't want anything in particular, I wanted the whole montage. The more kitsch objects came from another stand in the Vernaison called Tombées du Camion, which also has a new boutique in the Passage des Panoramas (this passage is getting way too trendy for its own good...I still can't believe Stern Graveur moved out).

Over in the Marché Paul Bert, just past the Chantal Thomass stand (this is the last weekend it's open), is a newly opened passage connecting the Impasse Simon to the Rue Jules Vallès. I do enjoy the Paul Bert, but it can be one of the snobbiest areas of the market (okay, I'm a bit biased because one of the stall owners yelled at me to keep my dogs away from her stand because she was worried they'd pee on it...if only I could make them do it on command).

I usually walk down Le Passage (aka Passage Lecuyer) off Rue Jules Vallès because I like the way it's like a cemetery for old garden statues and a place for scrap metal and old bathroom fixtures. Except it's not anymore. One side of the passage still has the rusting gates, stone sculptures and marble colums of the garden store...

But the other side is now full of vintage women's clothing, as Chez Sarah expanded her collection...

It makes for somewhat odd bedfellows. The nice chap at the garden furniture side told me they were going to build actual walls with large windows to protect the clothing from the elements. It will certainly change the atmosphere of this once scruffy little corner of les Puces.

As an aside, I want to mention that my friends (who don't even live in Paris, but know it better than I do) took me to an Italian restaurant at the market, Ristorante Napoli (136 Rue des Rosiers, St-Ouen,  tel 01 40 11 15 00). I have passed by it many times and thought it was like any other horrible restaurant at the flea market, but from the moment you walk in and smell the food (and hear the staff actually speaking Italian), life is good. Authentic Italian pizzas, pastas, meat dishes and antipasti starters. You may have to wait for a table, but it’s worth it.


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Reader Comments (9)

Hello Heather - I have enjoyed reading your blog - David Lebovitz mentioned it once. Thanks for the visit to the flea market - how fun!
April 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLynn
Is this the same restaurant that they show for about 3 seconds in "Ne le dis à personne?" I love that movie!
April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKate
I am an American expat living here and find your information SO helpful! When are these markets open? And where are the other markets located? I see you gave the metro stop for the first but I'm unsure of the other locations. I hope to visit these soon!
April 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelly
Thanks Kelly! The individual markets are all next to each other within the Marché aux Puces at St-Ouen, M° Porte de Clignancourt. Most of the stands are open by 10am, but there are always a handful open earlier and later than that, especially on Mondays or when the weather is very bad (and holidays). I have never stayed past about 5pm, but I would guess they stay open until the sun starts to go down (or the crowds thin out).
April 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall
This market is incredibly picturesque. However, I went there on a Monday and I had to weave through the "other" flea markets full of Hawkers, rip off designer items, drug paraphernalia and loud rap music..It felt like I wasn't even in Paris anymore..It reminded me of the nerve-racking flea markets in Jamaica, a third world country.

After I walked under the scary tunnel full of what looked like gang-bangers, I arrived at this cute little market noted in the photos. Are there any other ways to access this market? By the time I arrived at the cute antique flea market, I was relieved to feel safe again..But only to have to cross back under the bridge full of the same crowd to catch the metro.
June 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAyla
If you go on Saturday or Monday you could take the Bus 85 directly into the market from the Rue du Louvre in Paris.
June 30, 2010 | Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall
Hi, Heather, nice photos and a really interesting post :) I'm planning to go on a Monday this April...but am not sure what's the best time to be there... should I go around lunchtime or after 2pm? I read that some stalls are closed during lunch :o, so in that case, will I be better off going to Sacre Coeur first? What do you think? Thanks :)
January 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnna
Hi Anna,
I would personally go around 11am and have lunch there, because some stalls might only be open in the morning, and some only open in the afternoon. Most eat at their stand. Monday can be inconsistent. Sorry!
January 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall
Great! Thanks Heather! The French has an excellent ambassador in you, you'll be rewarded by the President.
February 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGunnar Edholm

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