TRAVEL | Paris Antique and Flea Market Insider Tips
Not far from the emblematic white Sacre Coeur basilica on the hill and the notorious Moulin Rouge in the northern district of Paris, lies a treasure trove of antiques and vintage finds. Les Marchés aux Puces de Saint-Ouen AKA Saint-Ouen Flea Markets just past the Porte de Clignancourt is one of the largest and best places in Europe to hunt for deals on antique and vintage items from all over the world.
Many will agree that the best gameplan for tackling the market at Saint-Ouen is to go there without a goal. As you walk around, take in the atmosphere while letting your eyes wander. Be inspired as you find treasures to decorate your home, jewels that you didn’t think you needed, or an original souvenir for that friend who has everything.
There are fifteen markets within the Marché aux Puces, and it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Depending on what you’re looking for, it might be helpful to know each market’s specialty. This guide has my insider-tips to getting the most out of a visit to the famous Paris flea market. You can follow along on the Google map with my favorite spots here.
Getting to the antique and flea markets
When exiting the metro stop at Porte de Clignancourt on line 4, keep walking past the markets of knock-off Nikes and Converse shoes, go under the overpass, and make your way to the main street rue des Rosiers.
Otherwise, you can take metro line 13 to the Garibaldi stop and walk to rue des Rosiers from the opposite side of the market.
Vernaison flea market
When you turn left onto rue des Rosiers, you’ll find the Vernaison flea market, which was part of the original market from the 1920s. This market is perhaps the most quintessential and the one you might picture when you think of Paris flea markets. There is something for every price range, as each stall showcases their specialized collections. Be on the lookout for vintage postcards or photos for a euro, art, antique toys and kitchenware, furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries, or textiles and fabrics that French designers seek out for inspiration.
Stop at the guinguette-bistrot (or old drinking-house) Chez Louisette at the end of Vernaison market for a time-hop to the 1950s and a bite to eat, all while listening to the live singer channeling Edith Piaf.
Make your way back to rue des Rosiers and cross the street to Dauphine Market. Although the newest market at Saint-Ouen, it’s also the largest with a wide array of antique dealers and bric à brac stands. Some of the jewelers here house collections known to be frequented by French stylists in search of accessories. On the first floor (second floor to us Americans), you’ll find book collections, vintage vinyl, postcards, photos, lithographs, and prints.
Back on rue des Rosiers, turn left, and head to Biron Market. This market is well-known among celebrities, as the 220 shops within it are filled with the chicest and most expensive treasures of the Saint-Ouen Flea Market. You’ll find an abundance of top-quality antique and art deco furniture, vintage Chanel and Louis Vuitton, fine jewelry and watches, paintings, mirrors (scoop up an authentic gilded French mirror that puts the Anthropologie imitation to shame!), and tableware. A catalog is available online for a preview, and check out their Instagram @marchebiron for some great inspiration.
Paul Bert Serpette Market
After you feed your eyes, you can make your way to Paul Bert Serpette Market, which has more than enough shabby-chic French country-style furniture and decor to make Rachel Ashwell swoon.
Jules Valles Market
Head over to Jules Valles market for a bargain on an original souvenir or gift that will fit in your suitcase. This market showcases unusual objects, vintage photos and posters, antique ceramics, and glassware.
Before leaving the Flea Market, make sure to stop at Malik Market. It’s like stepping back to hipster-loving Williamsburg, Brooklyn and is by far the place to go if you’re looking for second-hand and designer vintage clothing and accessory shops.
The market is open from Friday afternoon through Monday afternoon, the most crowded days being all-day Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Go early on Sunday morning to beat the crowds, then head to brunch at the La Recyclerie for typical healthy brunch fare at a trendy spot, the emblematic bistrot of the market, Ma Cocotte, or the historical Chez Louisette. Monday, while Parisians are back at work, is also a good day to go.
The Paris flea market’s official webpage has a list of merchants for each market, some of which also have links to their products online. You can also learn more about the market’s unique history here.
A word to the wise: just as with more crowded areas in any big city, take care to keep your wallet or purse tucked under your jacket or in your front pocket. The Flea Market, although safe, has its share of pickpockets who unfortunately show up here.
Are you an antique or vintage hunter? I’d love it if you’d share your favorite market and best tips in the comments below! Thank you for reading and sharing!