When do we go to Saint Ouen?
Visit the biggest flea market in the world
If you’re the vintage kind of person and if the look of an old pair of spectacles makes your heart beat faster, than you should by no means miss the trip to flea market of Saint Ouen, a northern suburb of Paris, just behind Porte de Clignancourt. Saint Ouen is not only the biggest flea market in the world, it’s also one of the most charming places in town (or just outside, to be precise).
Saint-Ouen is what you might call a treasure trove. You’ll find everything possible and imaginable here: from an old marble fireplace to a diamond necklace, from an elegant Napoleon III chair to a daybed by Le Corbusier, you’ll find photos, books, paintings, furniture, glassware, porcelain, statues, weapons, rocking horses, music boxes, you name it.
Patience and luck
Believe me, there is no wish that can’t be satisfied here. Of course, it’s all a matter of patience and luck. Bring a lot of time to stroll around almost 2000 stalls dispatched on 14 different markets. May be you won’t find what you’re looking for the first time, but you’ll definitely bring something home you’ve never thought you could be looking for (or even need).
I love this place, I really do. I love the atmosphere on a cold, but sunny winter morning, when the antiques dealers are having are having lunch in thick coats, sitting together around a table they might sell an hour later – always with a glass of wine in hand, if not a bottle.
But let’s be frank: Saint-Ouen is not the place where you’ll find the bargain of a life-time. The dealers here really know what they’re selling and they don’t consider it dirt-cheap, at all. Of course, an art deco piece of furniture will not be as expensive as in a boutique on rue de Seine. But they will sell it for its actual market value.
Fourteen markets, you might wonder? Right. Fourteen. But it’s quite easy to get through. Have a look on the map. The most interesting in my eyes are Paul Bert and Serpette. Paul Bert, because its eclecticism is just exiting. You’ll find a lamp from the Fifties beside a pair of candlesticks from 1800. There’s a lot of stuff from 20th century too.
Looking for Arne Jacobson?
Serpette is inside, which already tells you: more expensive, more exclusive. If you’re looking for art nouveau or Scandinavian furniture, this will be your place.
Puces de Saint Ouen – Flea Market
around rue des Rosiers
Tel +33 (0)1 40 11 54 14
Open Friday from 8h – 12h, Saturday from 9h – 18h, Sunday from 10h – 18h, Monday from 11h – 17h
Métro : Porte de Clignancourt (number 4) or Garibaldi (number 13)
Bus 85 : stop at Paul Bert
Photo: © MAP