WHAT WE LOVE: The world’s largest flea market. Marche aux Puces is a wonderful destination and source of inspiration for a weekend browse of beautifully curated vintage and antiques.
WHERE: Saint-Ouen, on the outskirts of Paris and a short metro ride from the center. The markets are open on various days, mainly Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.
WHO: 1,700 speciality merchants and dealers spread across 15 outdoor, indoor, and covered markets.
Marche aux Puces is a collection of 15 distinct markets each with its own specialities and unique character. Many stalls within these markets are beautifully merchandised with an inspiring point of view. These stalls, which are often open to the elements, offer exquisite vignettes masterfully staged by their knowledgable proprietors. The Marche aux Puces is a sprawling network of stalls, alleyways and markets where one could easily lose track of time. These are some of the highlights of our visit.
It was a dreary, rainy Saturday the day we visited the Marche aux Puces. We started at Marche Vernaison. Founded in 1920, this market has winding narrow alleyways lined with more than 300 stalls, many of which are covered and tented so the rain did not bother us.
At the Marche Vernaison we discovered wonderful vintage clothing and and textile merchants. Tombees du Camion had several shops featuring various collectibles from vintage lettering and lighting to indigo workwear featuring a collection of used paint cans. Always a fan of vintage linens, we fell in love with this beautifully displayed antique linen and textile collection.
These are just a few of the vintage clothing stalls at Marche Veranison offering a wide variety of men’s and women’s wear from various past eras. As well as clothing there is plenty of jewelry, accessories and shoes to peruse.
Vintage lighting, street signs, and printing press letters are all neatly organized and displayed at Tombees du Camion.
I am always drawn to shops that can make the mundane appear magical, and there were plenty of visual merchandising skills on display at the Marche aux Puces. There were specialty stalls that had collections of vintage toys and bead shops that had crates of beads sorted by every imaginable color.
Several antique furniture stalls used their finds to create room sets. Chandeliers hang from ceilings, antique carved doors create an entry way, and the tented canopies and ivy-covered structures create a romantic air of the semipermanent. Several stalls are draped with wisteria which must be a lovely time to visit the markets when they are in bloom.
Marche Paul Bert Serpette
The most popular market with designers, Marche Paul Bert Serpette known for its avant-garde and trend-setting vendors has a wonderful selection of mid-century and industrial goods. The stalls here are more structured and spacious with wider alleys hinting at the pricier wares in this market. Many of the stalls are so well staged they are like snapshots of beautifully designed homes.
A more recent addition to Marche aux Puces, Marche Dauphine was constructed in 1991. This covered market is home to 180 vendors. As well as antique and vintage furniture there is the Booksellers’ Square and a good selection of vintage records. Most notable is the Futuro House, the iconic prefabricated home produced in the 1970s, an orange spaceship parked in one of the squares.
Rue de Rosiers, St Ouen
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