guided visit to the Paris Clignancourt Saint-Ouen Flea Market
NEW!! From now on I organize a guided tour of the flea market in English. Discover the treasures of the world’s biggest antique market!
Check this website for all the details (tour information, schedule, tickets etc.):
For private tours (from 8 people) contact me directly! Tours available all year round.
And if you want to visit by yourself here are some good tips…
So you want to take a walk in the Flea Market? To be honest nothing gives me greater pleasure than to share the secrets of this incredible area with you and I sincerely hope that your curiosity will be satisfied…
I have created a 2-hour walk (about 2.7 km) which can start at any given point of the route. Of course if you decide to stop for an ice cream or listen to some jazz you will need a complete afternoon.
1. The Beginning
I suggest you start the walk at the entrance of the PAUL BERT market rue Paul Bert. Not only can you have lunch at the very nice & good bistro on the corner, but it is also one of the two places where there is a cash machine. Better safe than sorry.
2. Paul Bert Market
I have to be honest. I have a soft spot for this market. It is the most “Fashionable“. Far from the grandmother wardrobes of Normandie here you will find lots of plastic (70’s from Knoll, Artemide Kartell) & metal (Furniture from Charlotte Perriand contemporary pieces such as sorting boxes from the Post Office, dentist tables and factory pieces etc.).
Taking the main alley the boutique next to the Bistro deserves a visit: All the objects are made from aeroplane wings, propellers & engines. Absolutely sublime.
And just after on the same side the “chefs” will be delighted with the “Bachelier”. Copper saucepans, butcher’s knives and cast iron ovens.
When you are in front of the clocks take the 1st alley on your left and carry on till the end. Take alley no 6 on your right and stop in front of “Marc Maison” an outstanding antique dealer. I have seen a crystal chandelier 5 metres high factory pieces & Greek columns there. An amazing spectacle. Carry on down alley no 6 and turn right in front of “Villa Simon”.
On your right you have the choice alley no 3, 4, or 5 at the end alley no 2 will take you back to the Bistro Paul Bert. Turn left into the rue Paul Bert direction Rue des Rosiers.
3. Rue Paul Bert
You will discover 2 adorable houses which have the peculiarity of being houses at the same time as being the Antique Dealers shops. I recommend you visit “La Petite Maison” at no 10 and “Colonial Concept” at no 8. The children will adore the stuffed animals: lions, zebras, antelopes etc. The amazing shop “My Discoveries” at no 3 must be seen. Continue down rue Paul Bert and turn right into Rue des Rosiers.
4. Rue des Rosiers
At 122 rue des Rosiers the Jazz Amateurs will be totally spoilt by the “Chope des Puces“, a mecca of Gypsy Jazz invented in the 1930’s by the chair-bottomer of the market. Every weekend from 14h -19h the spirit of Django Reinhardt reigns over this place and I strongly advise you with drink in hand to attend the free concerts which are organized (info: www.lachopedespuces.fr).
Pass in front of the tourist information and cross the street. My friend Priscillia has nice shop at 87 rue des Rosiers selling antique mirrors (“la Galerie des Glaces”).
Continue up to the Market Vernaison the entrance is at 99 rue des Rosiers.
5. Vernaison Market
This visit is absolutely necessary as it is the most authentic. Built in 1920 on plans which have surely never been validated this market resembles a labyrinth of small streets & cul–de-sacs. Here you will find many house decorations (ornaments, house linen & table art) in a “village“ atmosphere. As it is impossible to establish a plan I suggest either you lose yourself! Or follow a group of Russian tourists (and yes Japanese no longer come!).
Try to return to the beginning of the Rue Rosiers for the rest of the walk.
Small tip for the “Kitch” fans at the end of the market you will find “Chez Louisette”, a bistro “Guinguette” with accordion & after war songs. The change of scene is complete & the atmosphere amusing but don’t eat there. They even ruin the chips!!
6. Dauphine Market
7. RUE HENRI FABRE
8. Rue Jules Vallès
At the beginning of this street you can find old 45’s (you know those black vinyl things that go lalalal), military uniforms & African statues. Heterogeneous heterogeneous…. Just after the crossroads of the street Paul Bert The “Etablissements Mazeau (closed at the weekend but open on Mondays) where we can recuperate metal. If you are wearing old trousers you can look without risk & maybe find a cast iron bath, an old grill from an old branch of the Bank of France, or even a street lamp. Not advisable if you are returning home by plane… Rush to no.20 into a marvellous garden with bronze horses & Jesus in cast iron. Far from the sounds of the town a little oppressive maybe but some great pictures to be taken!
9. “Lecuyer – Vallès Passage”
Ahh Toilettes???? That’s a good idea. As like the cash distributers there are not many so it’s good to know where they are.
On your left is the Lecuyer Vallès Passage, a long walk as its name indicates…Here the prices are affordable & the goods in their “element”. Metal lockers, industrial shelving, cinema projectors, benches from the underground stations, everything one needs for one’s “loft”.
Don’t miss “Chez Sarah” the biggest “haute couture” vintage clothes shop that I know (Chanel, Armani, Lanvin, Dior…).
Take the street Lecuyer on the left.
10. Rue Lecuyer
A very popular street. The street sellers are not professionals but ordinary people who have discovered various different objects abandoned in the streets just before they are collected by the local town hall. They have also emptied their lofts & garages and are here selling them. You can see old shop Models, retro taps & bicycles from another era. A bit of everything at quite reasonable prices.
Now you have certainly asked yourself “Where is the oldest second hand bookshop in Paris hidden?“ Well the answer is at no 31. About 25 000 books and an owner who must eat fish every day! “Good Morning. I’m looking for “Huit Clos” by Sartre”. “Of course look in alley no 4 the red shelf in the middle. We have it in paper back or hard back.”
11. Rue Paul Bert and the end of the stroll
Come back to Rue Henri Fabre turn left at rue Paul Bert Bert & go back to the beginning.
A very surprising & enjoyable street: Chinese furniture at no 41, vintage sports clothes at no 36, ceiling lights at no 26, designs from the 70’s at no 23 & old watch repairs at no 17. And so it is already over!! Too short? Good… next time you come to Paris I will prepare a new voyage back in time. As everything that sells here is unique the stalls will be completely different. A continuous renewal that’s the magic of the Flea Market.
When is it open?
Saturday to Monday only including Bank Holidays from 11h – 17h.
Official web site: www.marcheauxpuces-saintouen.com
Can you bargain?
Not only a little but it is a necessity. Atmosphere souk… Especially as there are no marked prices. Frankly nothing is for nothing. Forget the argument “I saw it cheaper down the road” The items are unique and the sellers all know each other. However take it away immediately and pay cash usually helps!! Do you know what I mean?
Can we really get a good deal??
A question I am often asked… Honestly I have to say that the good deals are rarer that on e-bay. First of all because all the sellers are professional antique dealers who know what they are selling & secondly the “Crisis” has lost them good clients (ie: The Americans) so they are trying to make a living out of today’s clients with prices from 15 years ago.
Lastly the items on sale have often been sold amongst themselves thus the eventual high prices to the public. However on certain more popular goods (The Passage or rue Lecuyer) you can always get a “deal “especially in the morning when the goods are still in the lorry!
A FEW PICTURES…
Le 20 rue Jules Vallès
Le café restaurant “Le Paul Bert”
Arrivage matinal rue Lecuyer
“Le Passage Vallès – Lecuyer”
“Chez Louisette”, marché Vernaison