Sunday, July 14, 2013

Les Puces de Saint-Ouen in north Paris is considered one of largest flea markets in the world. After reading Jordan's instructions to actually get there, it landed on our to-do list. The apartment we rented is just a few Metro stops south, so our decision to go and wander just for an hour before lunch was easy. It wouldn't be a big commitment and taking a peek would be fun. Shopping isn't a high priority right now and I knew I'd see fifty beautiful chairs, vintage maps, and armfulls of knickknacks - If we're not careful, it's a slippery slope to filling a shipping container headed to Canada. (Somehow we escaped Istanbul without buying all of the kilims, a feat of self-control I didn't know I was capable of.) And so our plan to visit briefly would keep us clear-headed.

Because flea markets have an affect on me. I suddenly become the type who needs a seafoam tufted Louis-style headboard and an ivory-handled lobster fork. Oil paintings of strangers start to look more and more like people I've met and I begin to think seriously, "Well, it'll be too expensive to get that beautiful settee home, so it'll be more cost-effective to just start apartment hunting here..."

As we wandered through the market, a knapsack full of cheese and bread for the picnic we'd planned at Sacre Coeur, we heard raucous accordions. Soon we came upon Chez Louisette's, a vintage dancehall and brasserie tucked into the alleyways of the market. It looked like a tourist trap, but in a fun way. We told ourselves the cheese could wait and tucked-in at one of the tiny tables. A couple of boozy old broads with surprising pipes performed classics. And a half-bottle of Beaujolais, a roast chicken with frites, and a tasty beef bourguignon later, we were fully-charmed and back amongst worn leather punching bags and brass.

Sometime later, spellbound with dusty fingertips, we serendipitously stumbled on an American girl in Paris, and ended up a few blocks over in Le Cimetière de Saint-Ouen. Soon my backpack was a bottle of wine-lighter and the afternoon was well behind us. Our picnic lunch at Sacre Coeur became a picnic dinner with Maggie and we watched the skyline come alive with more than a dozen different fireworks displays across many miles. Today is Bastille Day so we're planning another picnic, this time at the Champs de Mars where we'll watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle.

I mean. What? This place is ridiculously easy to visit.

Les Puces de Saint-Ouen
Hours of operation: Saturdays 9am - 6pm, Sundays, 10am - 6pm, and Mondays 11am - 5pm.

• Avoid the streets on the outer edges of the market. (Rue de la Poisonniers) It's shady and aggressive and not great. On your way from the Metro, you'll pass by a rather large swap shop. I don't recommend cutting through it. It's not a charming place.
• It's not particularly cheap, this market. It didn't strike me as a bargain-shopper's paradise. There are lots of little things to buy that are affordable, if you're looking for mementos, but furniture, larger pieces, and vintage clothing all appeared to be quite pricey.
• There are lots of cafes and restaurants in and around, but no food market.

LOCATION: Paris, France
DATE AND TIME: Sunday, July 14, 2013 3:00PM Central European Time/Sunday, July 14, 2013 9:00AM EST


  1. I love the flea market! these photos are awesome!

  2. A great post without doubt. The images shared is of top quality which has to get appreciated at all levels. Well done keep up the good work.