Lamp Posts to Fatigues: Getting Lost in the Best Flea Market in Paris

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Wander for hours at the 10 miles of Saint Ouen Flea Market. (Source: Shutterstock / Stefano Ember)

Ah, Paris. A lovers’ paradise, the home of culture and art, a gustatory capital, a flea market heaven. Wait  ̶  what? It’s true; while many a tourist drools over Paris’s museums, restaurants, and magical Seine boat rides, they’re missing out on some of the best flea market action this side of the Atlantic.

It should be noted that there are several flea markets in Paris, but this one drew us in for its size, wide-ranging offerings, and quirky, alleyway appeal. Fortunately, it’s not hard to get to; the Puces de Saint Ouen metro station takes you right there. Step off the metro and you have some 10 miles of market to explore with over 2,000 shops. And these didn’t pop up yesterday  ̶  the Saint Ouen market has been around since the 19th century.

Stock your kitchen with antique plates from Paris's famous Saint Ouen flea market. (Source: Shutterstock / Stefano Ember)
Stock your kitchen with antique plates from Paris’s famous Saint Ouen flea market. (Source: Shutterstock / Stefano Ember)

While you can always wander aimlessly and take in whatever you happen to find, there are some stalls that quickly reeled us in. If you can, spend some time at these vendors:

  • Antica: Furniture from the 18th and 19th century is on offer here. You probably can’t take these treasures home, but they may inspire some furniture hunting when you’re back home. Pay special attention to furniture flourishes ̶  some quite impressive in their intricacy.
  • Malassis: Antiques from the 17th century steal the spotlight at Malassis. Rustic, but elegant, these pieces range from old-time jewelry to toys of (many) generations past.
  • Serpette: A unique indoor market in the heart of Saint Ouen flea market, this outlet features not only knickknack-y antiques of yesteryear, but weapons of history and curious international decorations.
  • Cambo: While largely a spot for 18th century furniture (seriously, this place is like a museum), Cambo also offers some Victorian ceramics and Art Deco decorations.
  • Le Passage: Not many people we know would shop fashion at antique or flea markets, but Saint Ouen has something for everyone, so drop by here for some vintage dress you likely won’t find anywhere else.
Sometimes creepy, sometimes cute, antique toys often pop up at Saint Ouen. (Source: Shutterstock / gabriel12)
Sometimes creepy, sometimes cute, antique toys often pop up at Saint Ouen. (Source: Shutterstock / gabriel12)

You can find a map of top stalls here, but be sure you make the adventure your own. Speaking of, you’re likely to get hungry/thirsty during your exploration, so consider the following nearby restaurants and bars for rounding out the day:

Boulangerie du Pont de Saint Ouen is just around the corner from the flea market on Rue Kléber and can supply ample carbs for fueling your antique hunting (read: croissants). A little bit further north, you’ll find La Bonne Table restaurant, where brilliant red wine partners with the likes of risotto, foie gras, and plentiful seafood. It’s a little pricier, but still not bad considering the quality of the offerings. Last but not least of our picks is La Péricole to the east, a very affordable French spot where croques monsieurs and other prized sammies always deliver.

Oh, and if you want to explore more of the flea market scene in Paris, take a gander at this piece from Flea Market Insiders.