Yesterday, I had to go to the Tuileries (a big nice looking garden), a famous touristic spot in Paris, close to the Louvres, and I was amused to see a French ice cream vendor girl having a tough time communicating with a legion of foreign tourists. Aside the topic, the ice cream was the famous Italian ‘Amarino’ brand, which has ice creams shaped like flowers and taste so heavenly! She let out a ‘Bonjour’ to one of the tourists standing in the front, and this particular tourist (Italian I believe) was so delighted to be addressed, he took a while to reply, rolling out the bonjour from his mouth. The very French and perhaps new girl, must have hoped for the summer to pass quickly and for France to return to it’s normalcy with regular French people speaking French! 🙂
Keeping in mind the touristic season and the rush that tourists have to see everything that Paris has to offer before they rush off to the next country in their Euro-trip program, I have a place that is a treasure trove to offer. A delightful place called ‘Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen’ or simple the Flea Market at Saint Ouen, definitely a popular must-see in Paris.
The first time I’d been there, I wasn’t sure what to expect, maybe old and not nice looking antiques, but by the end of three hours (my husband and I grabbed sandwiches for lunch so we wouldn’t waste any precious time), my head was swimming with the the lovely beautiful things I had seen. I was completely dazzled and taken to another era at the Saint Ouen.
Here is some history information on Saint Ouen:
It was set up sometime after 1870 by rag-and-bone men who had to be moved outside of the city limits for health reasons (but now, the Saint Ouen is very much a part of Paris). In 1908, this popular ‘Flea Fair’ became reachable by metro. After 1945, junk dealers and rag-and-bone men were replaced by brocanteurs ( second hand furniture dealers), antiques and clothes dealers. Since then many new markets have appeared, each with their own identity and style, from XVII furniture to art deco, including all kinds of trinkets.
Very important to know the Flea Market hours!! (not open during week days!)
Saturday from 10am to 6pm, same for Sunday. Monday from 11am to 5pm.
Here are some lovely antique furniture that I found in the flea markets. Most of them are pricey but there are, surprisingly, some that one can take home with. Below is a photo of a beautiful piece of furniture that has been designed with a special style called ‘marquetry’ meaning inlaid work made from small pieces of variously colored wood or other materials.
The furniture below has beautiful hand painted art work on it:
The antique typewriter below is hilarious because of the note stuck on the top of it saying ‘Compatible iPhone WiFi’
One of my favourite parts of Saint-Ouen was the vintage clothes, shoes and jewellery. They were mind-boggling. I couldn’t imagine that clothes had been kept so preciously over the ages, and in relatively good condition. And I would have never thought that vintage clothes could be so pricey! Such a pity photographs weren’t permitted inside such shops. One of my favourites was ‘Chez Sara’ that was selling clothes made by the big French couturiers since the early 1900’s (you can also see the sign for no photography).
I hope you’ve enjoyed the trip to Saint-Ouen with me! 🙂