Located 6.6km outside Paris, the commune of Saint-Ouen is home to the one of the world’s best flea markets. In the nineteenth century, beggars would scavenge through people’s garbage to find things they could resell at the market. They were eventually expelled from Paris and relegated to the outskirts, where they continued and expanded their trade. In 1885, local authorities in Saint-Ouen decided to clean up the so called flea markets by charging a fee to sellers and creating more organization. By the beginning of the twentieth century, it became fashionable to head out to the flea market to find bargains. It has been a popular attraction ever since.
Today it’s the world’s largest antiques market. Up to 150,000 visitors from around the world come here on weekends to look for hidden treasures. There are more than 2,500 different stalls and food vendors. You can find some pretty cool stuff here, from Victorian-era clothing to swords to old furniture, oriental rugs, and antique vases.
It’s preferable to go on Saturday and especially Sunday, as many of the shops are closed Mondays. The market is accessible via the metro at the Porte de Clignancourt stop. This is definitely a must for any shopping or antique enthusiast; though watch out for pickpockets and scammers. It might be difficult to get a good deal unless you speak French or are knowledgeable about what you’re buying. But it is nonetheless worth a visit for the experience alone.
Metro: Garibaldi (13), Porte de Clignancourt (4)
Hours: Saturday 09:00-18:00; Sunday 10:00-18:00; Monday 11:00-17:00