Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, which is often abbreviated to be referred to as just St-Ouen is the largest flea market in the World and the best flea market in Paris!
The wonderful flea market consists of 14 markets; all carrying goods of varying time periods and styles, it is possible to find everything from dishes, to armchairs, to vintage clothing.
First off, don’t be fooled by the name ‘flea market’. This is Paris after all and vintage is around almost every corner! You only have to look at L’Objet qui Parle in the heart of Montmartre.
Otherwise, another great place to discover vintage in Paris is along the Passage des Panoramas, which is best-known as being a haven for stamp collectors and vintage postcard lovers.
Chic and vintage clothing is all the rage at the moment and recent increases in rent have forced many dealers to close their doors for the final time. Although bargains can be found, most items come at a price; dealers often know the true value of their stock.
A little History of the Flea Market in Paris
The market (or marché as it is so-called in French) started off in 1885 and has gradually grown into a sprawling mass of over 7 hectares and over 14000 antique dealers.
Although during the week, trade is only permitted between those in the know (fellow traders), up to 180,000 visitors flock to the site each and every weekend in search of treasure (or just a good fashioned old bargain).
This means that over 5,000,000 visitors descend on the market annually! In 2001, it was officially recognized as a “Zone for the Protection of Architectural, Urban, and Landscape Heritage (ZPPAUP)” due to its unique atmosphere. Pictured below was my favourite shop; how often do you see a shop with your name?!
Top Tips for visiting Visiting Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen
It’s worth noting that as a lot of Parisians go away during August and so there aren’t as many stalls open for the first fortnight in August. Seriously, should you visit Paris in August, you’ll find that only tourists are around and many businesses even close shop for the summer month!
Crowded areas are a pickpocket’s paradise. Watch your belongings and be sure to bring out a bag with proper zips. As with the rest of Paris, you may well encounter a number of Parisian scams while at the market. After all, where there are lots of tourists, you’ll find lots of pickpocketers.
Mondays are generally a quieter time to visit (and the best time to pick up a bargain)! And, if you’re looking for a souvenir to take home with you, then be sure to look out for smaller vintage trinkets and old postcards. While at the best flea market in Paris, I picked up a vintage postcard for as little as €1!
Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen Opening Times:
The markets are open:
Saturday: 9:00 – 18:00
Sunday: 10:00 – 18:00
Monday: 11:00 – 17:00
How to get to the Flea Market
The closest tube stop to the Saint Ouen Flea Market is Garibaldi on the end of metro line 13. To reach the flea market, take exit number 3 and then follow the signs on the opposite side of the road to ‘Marché aux Puces’. The best time to visit the market is in the European shoulder seasons (i.e. spring and autumn) when the crowds are at their fewest and everything remains open.
Other top tips would be to bring both cash (the local currency in Euro) as well as card. Many vendors have a minimum spend of five or ten euro and so you’ll want to have some change if you’re looking to purchase a smaller souvenir or gift to take home with you.
Last but not least, it’s well worth knowing that you don’t have to head out to the suburbs to find great flea markets and brocantes. Every weekend throughout the year, outdoor flea markets are held across the French capital and you can find details about them on SPAM.fr
On other occasions across the year, but most particularly during the late summer and autumn, many local mairies (town halls for the various districts of Paris) also organise their own outdoor flea market.
A particular favourite of mine is one found in Le Marais along rue de Bretagne. For even more brocante tips and tricks, check out our guide to everything you need to know about brocantes and flea markets in France.
France Travel Information
France uses the Euro (€)
The main language spoken in France is French. Though you can get by with English is more touristic places, it’s always a good idea to learn some of the local language. Bring along a simple phrasebook like this one to help make your travels easier.
The capital of France is Paris. For more information and inspiration, check out our best Paris travel tips.
France uses plug types, types C and E. As such, if you’re travelling from the UK, USA, Canada, and many other destinations, you’ll need to buy an adapter. I recommend buying a universal travel adapter that you can use for multiple destinations (rather than buying a new adaptor for each place you visit).
As one of the most popular destinations in the world, you should always consider booking your accommodation well ahead of time. Check out this website for price comparison details and detailed reviews.
Be careful with your belongings. I also highly advise to avoid wearing a backpack and to instead opt for a crossbody bag like these ones. I personally use a crossbody bag by this brand and love its shape, size, and versatility.
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