Part of the joy of traveling is bringing home a memory of the trip, usually in the form of a treasure or souvenir that can’t be found anywhere else. For many people, a trip to Paris isn’t complete without a visit to the Marché aux Puces St.-Ouen de Clignancourt, or the French version of a flea market. Commonly called “Les Puces” (or, “The Fleas”) by those in the know, the market is one of the oldest and largest in the world. It dates back to the late 19th century and covers more than 700 acres. Although you can find pretty much anything at Les Puces, it can be a particularly helpful resource if you are looking for a piece that will make your home feel more unique and authentic or if you are looking for a piece that can serve as the focal point of a room’s design.
Visiting the Market
St. Ouen is open on the weekends, which in Paris means Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Keep in mind that not every vendor opens on Mondays, so if you want the best selection, it helps to go on either a Saturday or a Sunday. The markets fill up as the day goes on. To give yourself the most time to browse and time to explore before the crowds get there, it’s a good idea to arrive just as the market opens, around 9 am on Saturday and 10 am on Sunday. The earlier you arrive, the more time you’ll have to hunt through the markets for the perfect treasure. The market closes at 6pm, giving you plenty of time to wander up and down the streets, looking at the different storefronts and vendors.
Find Something Special
Les Puces is actually divided into 14 different markets, and each market has a different theme. The Marche des Rues is typically full of vendors selling antiques while Marche Paul Bert Serpette features antiques, as well as newer pieces of furniture, lamps, and decorative objects. The Marche Dauphine also has a selection of antiques mixing with vendors selling new items.
It helps to visit Les Puces without a clear goal in mind. The vast selection of items available at the 14 different markets really means that you don’t know what you might find. You might stumble upon antique leather chairs or find a large antique mirror, either of which could serve as the focal point of a room you are decorating back home. You can use the general categories of each market to help give you an idea of what you might expect or to help you navigate Les Puces. For example, Marche Biron is known for its diverse selection of artwork, with pieces ranging from the 17th century through the Art Deco period. If you know that you enjoy Art Deco, it might be worth navigating your way towards Biron first and using what you see there as an inspiration for your home.
The beauty of Les Puces is that you might not only find something to take home with you and to use to decorate your home or as a central component in the redesign of a space, it’s that the items you find in the market can help you remember your trip to Paris. Every time you sit on an antique club chair or settee, you’ll be transported back to the day you spent combing the market, looking for the perfect piece. If you bring home a smaller item, such as an Art Deco vase, every time you look at it, you’ll be able to remember your trip. Bringing pieces from Les Puces into your home also means that you’ll be able to share your experiences in Paris with those who visit your home.
The designers at Michelle Wenitsky Interior Design have experience navigating the Marché aux Puces St.-Ouen de Clignancourt. Contact us for more details on finding inspirational pieces for your home’s design.