Paris Flea Markets: Two of the Best for Weekend Wandering
I love to walk through the Puces de Saint Ouen flea market at Clingnancourt in the north end of Paris. It’s worth a morning’s trip up to that neighborhood to see this charming venue.
While I have to weave my way through the cheap modern fashion sellers along the street to get there, I keep my eyes for doorways leading into the ‘enclosed’ flea market areas.
Once off the street, the pace slows down as I wander the narrow lanes with little stalls and shops on both sides. Most stalls are like open air rooms, with a small awning in front to protect them from the rain (which is most often). Generally, vendors will set out small items on tables along the lane, but it’s fun to go inside to see their better pieces. I try to go early to beat the late sleeping crowds and see this market early in the day while they are setting up.
I have noticed that the stock there has changed to less expensive, smaller items in recent years. Maybe it’s due to travelers like me who can’t haul the bigger items home or ship them to another country. Lately there is a lot of vintage apparel, magazines and other home goods. But even so, it’s great to be rewarded by a well stocked furniture shop, where unusual and gorgeous furnishings, paintings and other items are displayed.
Where: north Paris, 18E,
140 rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint Ouen, metro: Porte de Clignancourt
How:take the #4 metro north to the Clingnancourt stop at the end.
When you exit, follow the crowd as they cross the street, turn right and start walking towards the underpass and down the main street past storefronts and some street vendors. Look for signs and crowds.
Hours: Open Saturday, 9am to 6pm, Sunday 10am to 6pm, and Monday, 11am to 5pm.
Food: This section of Paris has a very random café and food selection. Bring your own snacks and plan to eat elsewhere.
Port de Vanves flea market
At the opposite end of Paris is another fun flea market that I enjoy. The Port de Vanves flea market is a great way to spend a Sunday morning in Paris when so many traditional venues are closed for the day. Walking outside, this open air market under the trees has a more simple and casual feel that the formalized flea markets at Puces de Saint Ouen. This one goes for several blocks along the sidewalk, under the shade of big trees in a residential neighborhood. Some of the vendors bring very random items, others have a narrow range of subjects, creating unexpected surprises.
Port de Vanves vendors set out their wares on tables, blankets or shelving laid out along both sides of the sidewalk. A few vendors have developed stall-like shops, but most of the sellers just pull up their car and set up along the sidewalk. The items here are more random and less edited, which means that there is a huge variety. I didn’t find many high value items or large pieces of furniture, but there could be more valuable items waiting to be found.
Where: Port de Vanves, 14E
Take the Port de Vanves station on Metro line #13 (light blue)
Exit station and follow crowd across the street.
Vendors are set up along Avenue Marc Sangnier and Av. Georges Lafenestre.
This is a neighborhood that is south of Boulevard Brune
When: Saturday and Sunday, 7:00am – 2:00pm
Food: across the street from the subway entrance are a few little cafes. I loved the couscous that I had at the ‘purple’ colored café there. Couscous is a warm and filling lunch that always seems to be the perfect meal when you are really hungry after wandering flea markets all morning.