Visit the world’s largest, in Paris.
The city plays host to Les Marches aux Puce and it is absolutely massive, huge, plus grand! Across 6 hectares or 6000 square meters, you can explore no less than 15 different markets (called marchés).
If you think you are ready for this expedition, make sure you are fully prepared, as a jaunt to this sales extravaganza is NOT for the faint-hearted.
Yes, it’s diverse, interesting, inspiring, eclectic, colourful, exotic and everything in between. However this ‘Pandora’s Box’ of delights can also be crazy busy, crowded, and intense. At times one can even feel a little intimidated and maybe even cheated, especially if you don’t speak French!
Don’t get us wrong, you gotta experience Les Marches aux Puce, but make sure you have your wits about you as well as an excellent pair of walking shoes!
We’ve taken the children once. A Sunday. Perhaps not the wisest choice but, we had visitors who really wanted to go so we took the plunge. When we alighted the Metro the crowd was already showing signs of swelling. As we hit the street the selling was in full flow with ominous looking ‘tat’ offered up for purchase.
Taking in the scenery, we were quickly reminded of the rough side of Paris. A little less kept and a lot less pretty, more of a concrete jungle but with beautiful buildings and iconic beauty blatantly absent.
Charging through the swarm of buyers and sellers we were relieved when we stumbled on the first market. It was open, vast, uncovered for the most part and we suddenly had room to breathe.
Paul Bert was the name of the market, selling traditional and contemporary furniture & accessories for the home. It was truly amazing! OMG if only we were millionaires, we would have bought most of it! Every piece of furniture told a story; and you couldn’t help but be pulled into the prose. But, we advise you to hold back and admire from a distance, or your moment of interior design indulgence will be cut short by the eager seller! Keen to charge you at least 5 times what you were thinking.
While you are there you could try and get a place for lunch at the Philippe Starck trendy food house Ma Cocotte. Book in advance – c’est trés necessaire! Or you’ll be turned away at the door but there are plenty of eateries nearby so don’t be too disappointed.
Our photographs paint the picture of the Paul Bert Marche; so you can get a feel of the spirit of the place – but remember – it is only one market – one of 15! We only managed to cover this one market in a day!
We intend to visit the other 14 and report back to you with our findings; but for now, we have covered Paul Bert and we cannot deny that despite the horrendous journey from metro to market – it was cool and there were varied prices across what we saw, so we didn’t leave empty handed.
The kids? They bought a few cars after engaging in some impressive negotiation banter, at aged 6, so they were happy too.
Just make sure you’re prepared. Remember, there are 70, 000 shoppers there very weekend.
Plan your route. Google places to eat. Keep your money safe and get your game face on!
Share your opinions with us and comment.
Les Marches aux Puce, Saint Ouen, Paris. Open Saturday to Monday.
The Flea Market of Paris – For more information click here