On a lazy ole Sunday in Paris we venture to the biggest flea and antique market you have ever seen. The most famous flea market in Paris is officially called Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, but is known to everyone as Les Puces (The Fleas). It covers seven hectares and is the largest antique market in the world, and receives between 120,000 to 180,000 visitors each weekend. We are just 2 of those people!
The flea market dates back two centuries, when men scoured through the garbage of Paris at night to find valuable junk to sell on.
They then gathered outside the walls of Paris and set up temporary stalls but eventually, they formed groups of stalls to attract more customers.
The more enterprising traders began to ‘trade up’ in terms of goods and eventually it became popular for Parisian collectors and antique dealers to shop there for bargains.
In 1885, authorities in the town of Saint Ouen made a significant move to pave the streets and clean up the area, marking the official starting year of Les Puces. Several areas were designated as official market areas and a fee had to be paid to set up a stall there.
Today there is an intriguing mix of 18th century antiques and pieces from 1950-1960s. An eclectic mix of clothing, furniture, paintings, kitchenware and records. Keep an eye on your valuables and keep your wallet safe from pickpockets who work in the crowds.
We’ve never seen so many antiques and bric-a-brac in one place. We’re mesmerised for about 2 hours – then the scale of it becomes quite tiring, and dare I add – boring? Besides, nothing can realistically be taken home to New Zealand in our suitcase anyway.
Definitely a unique experience not to be missed for if you have a spare Sunday morning in Paris and makes for many a great photo opportunity. Flea Markets are very fascinating places to poke around.