Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen


We love to visit antique markets.  Even if we have no plans to make a purchase, we can spend hours looking though the antiques.  You could spend days browsing through  Marche aux Puces.  This is the largest antiques market we had ever been to and it is something that any antiques lover must see!

To get here we took the metro to an area at the northern tip of Paris.  While taking the metro in Paris, one can assess the safeness of a particular area by hair styles of the groups of teenagers that enter the train.  The closer we got to our stop, the more Mohawks and 80’s throwback mullets we saw.  When we got off the train, I expressed to Ryan in no uncertain terms that it was impossible that the antiques market we read about could be here.

Ryan found our bearing and pointed a gauch (left, learning more French, yay!).  We walked toward where the map said the market would be dodging street hawkers pushing knock-off sunglasses and handbags.  When walking through areas like this, we have a strict, unspoken protocol.  I walk very close to Ryan.  I do not dare let go of his hand.  I can’t because he is squeezing it so hard that I don’t have a choice.  We continued walking and I noticed a few other seemingly lost, obvious tourists.  We walked through a flee market with lots of stalls selling knock-off everything.

Suddenly, we noticed there were less street hawkers. We turned a gauch (left) and the street seemed relatively empty.  There were antique shops as far we could see.  We began window shopping and noticed a little alley on the right.  Ryan said that this seemed to be right so we walked under some ivy vines growing over the alley and saw a couple of little shops.  We thought this was cute.  Little permanent shops about 12’x12′ in dimension with tables and cases spilling out into the alley.  We spent a little time browsing around and as we rounded a corner, we realized that it just kept going. Alley after alley of shops of varying size and genre.

This place was an antique lovers dream! There was so much see. The pictures in this post do not do it justice.

There really is something here for everyone.  The prices were much higher than the markets in Belgium and the dealers were not thrilled about negotiating.  Regardless, it was fun to walk through the alleys and talk to some of the dealers about the beautiful items in their shop.

There was the “this is from the 18th century lady,”  Every time anyone showed interest in her items, she would say.  “this is a beautiful piece from the 18th century.  Isn’t it lovely.”  We heard her remark to one man that home is decorated much like the shop.  She was well dressed compared to the other dealers.  An adorable older French woman.  I could just see her sitting in her 18th century chair sipping tea from her 18th century cup and eating a baguette  with brie from her 18th century plates.  Her quintessential Paris-ness made us smile at each other.

In fact, to us, one of the things we liked about this market was the absolute Paris-ness of the antiques dealers.  Around lunch time some of the shop owners closed their doors or roped them off and ignored any passer-by who wanted to shop.  The other more social Parisian dealers brought out tables, complete with table cloths, real plates (probably from the 18th century) and silverware.  They enjoyed there lunch with fresh baguettes right there in the middle of the market without any regard for the shoppers who showed interest in their shop.  The picture below is three men enjoying there lunch while talking about how bad business is while paying no attention to my obvious interest in the beautiful 100 year-old perfume bottles.  It’s didn’t bother me a bit.  Maybe it was because the least expensive bottle was 100 Euro or maybe because I couldn’t help but laugh.

The image below is the Paris Life magazine from 1915 that caught my eye in the “library” section of the market.   The library area was indoors at a sort of antique mall near the maze of allies.  They had maps, old postcards, letters, posters and thousands of books.  We bought two magazines from 1915, which we plan to frame after we have had time to look through and appreciate the drawing by a “famous Parisian artist” according to the shop owner.  Because of the artwork inside the magazines, he simply could not negotiate so we paid the full price of 10 Euro each.  I still thought that was a great price.  We spent about 5 hours at the market and will probably visit again on our next trip to Paris.

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One Response to Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen

  1. Pingback: Cimetière du Père-Lachaise | Better Together

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