Paris has 3 flea-markets:
- one outside Paris East, Porte de Montreuil, mostly for (cheap) clothes,
- one outside Paris South, Porte de Vanves, which can be interesting if you have the time,
but the worldwide famous one is the one outside Paris North, Porte de Saint-Ouen.
Saint-Ouen is nothing less than the biggest flea-market in the world (17 acres, 2000 indoor or open-air stalls), divided in 14 distinct markets, some of them (the most recent ones) having been conveniently thought and conceived on a grid pattern plan (I’ll tell you which ones) but the most fun part is definitely where you find unchanged labyrinths dating back to the late 19th century. Be bold: get lost and just ask for the exit when you consider the job done. See where your footsteps bring you to. It is impossible for you not to be surprised in the end.
And, tell me, when was the last time you fell in love with a work of art from the past?
Something useless that you couldn’t live without anymore?
Now, to be honest, even though this place, like the Louvre, can be overwhelming on a first visit, once you know how it works, you don’t really need a guide to go there. And I would be expensive (but not useless) as a bodyguard/translator who can show you where to go (and where NOT TO GO) and help you to carry stuff if necessary. So if you want to go there by yourself, provided I see you before on some other tour, I’ll give you a special map and recommendations about where to go (depending if you look for a little antique item to put on your desk or a new chandelier for your living-room), how to get there and itinerary tips.
Whatever option you choose, you can only go there on a Saturday (9 am - 6 pm), Sunday (10 am - 6 pm) or a Monday (11 am - 5 pm). Be careful though:
- better in the morning because more choices and less crowded (the Flea Market attracts 5 million visitors a year and, get ready for this, mostly French !).
- some stands close at 5 pm because they got up early + they already had a good day.
- lot of stands are closed on Monday but it’s less crowded and you still have interesting places open.
- closed Tuesday to Friday.
And if you book me for the whole day, we can go there first thing in the morning, spend a couple hours there (or as long as you need) and then move to something else! Just saying…