A favorite go-to stop for many of the vendors on Ruby Lane is the Paris flea market (Les Puces) Clingancourt also known as Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen. Located in the 18th arrondisement, it is a virtual treasure trove of antiques, collectibles and vintage clothing and as always, the thrill lies in the hunt. I caught up with my friend and antique shopping expert Toma Clark Haines a.k.a. “Antiques Diva” (who is based in Berlin with a staff of knowledgeable guides throughout Europe) on her thoughts on the grande dame of the fleas.
“There is no better place to antique than the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen. While this is considered one of the most touristed flea markets in the world, it is amazing how many people don’t ever actually arrive — they get off the Metro Line 4 and go to the “market before the market” which sells t shirts, stolen mobile phones, etc. The real flea market is found just past the perpherique along the Rue de Roisers. It is a well organized flea market with permanent structures housing millions of Euros of inventory — complete with more than 15 districts and more than 7 miles of antique-filled alleyways.
Positioning yourself with Rue de Rosiers as your central axis with Avenue Michelet to your back (where the roads intersect) walk up this road and find the ‘Paris Flea Markets within the main Paris Flea Market’ lining each side of the Rue de Rosier. The first market you come to on your right is the Marché Vernaisson — here you will find smalls, perfectly packables, lower priced items, jewelry, paintings, hotel silver, passementerie, etc.
My FAVORITE sections of the market (the sections I recommend you visit if you only have a short amount of time to shop) are Marché Paul Bert and Marché Serpette. Gorgeous French Finery and Frippery – from furniture to copper pots, arm chairs, armoires, paintings, industrial and urban chic to hard-core Louis XV antiques. This is the Paris Flea Market you always dreamed of seeing!
The further you go on the Rue de Rosier past Paul Bert the better the prices become – I like to call the last markets at the end of Rue de Rosiers – The Forgotten Markets –
L’Entrepot and L’Usine. These are less choreographed/decorated shopping experiences – they also get the least number of tourists and therefore have the best prices.”
Thank you Toma! This is valuable information (particularly for Ruby Lane shop owners) and I can’t wait to return next week. And make sure you watch your purse, wear comfortable shoes, pace yourself and above all, happy hunting!
Photo Credits: Featured image Tourisme93
All other images courtesy of José Manuel Alorda