The St Ouen flea market is one of those places that makes Paris feel so unique – let’s put aside the fact that it’s not technically IN Paris -, yet I don’t go there often enough which I’m kind of ashamed of.
It’s because there’s a small catch to it, I actually know why I wasn’t going there that often until recently.
It’s by all means not your regular flea market, which means you can’t go there thinking “hey I’m gonna go and make a few good deals and come back home with a bunch of treasures”. For the simple reason that almost everything there is very expensive or at least really overpriced compared to say…Etsy. So the trick is to go there only to feast your eyes, take a few pictures and, who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky and find something to buy. If you’re not in that state of mind, it can get very frustrating, 600 euros-for-that-mid-century-vase frustrating.
Ok, now that we’ve set those guidelines, let’s talk about the place. The most surprising thing is actually the size of it, it’s like a small village with several markets, each with their own specialties. Then, I guess what’s really striking is the variety of periods displayed and the age of the objects: I’m talking 200 years-old stuff at every corner. Some stalls are one baroque mess while others are very carefully arranged, already looking like magazine spreads. There’s also the fascination that comes with ultra specialized sellers like this one who sells only Japanese etchings. I might add that it’s simply very nice to walk around there since, with barely no cars around, it’s a quiet enclave filled with more unique treasures than you could possibly imagine.
_______________ To go there you have to stop at the Porte de Clignancourt metro station, cross the périphérique and go through the “made in China” market to finally reach the rue des Rosiers where everything starts. There’s a lot of different markets, you have to explore! It’s supposed to be opened on week-ends and Mondays but sometimes the shop’s schedules get a little bit mysterious. There’s always some good stuff open though, so don’t worry. To get more details, the website. A brand new restaurant by Phillipe Starck has just opened in the neighbourhood, I’m not a big Stark fan, but I have to admit that the place is nice. You can get a glimpse of the decoration in one of the pictures above (with the striped chair). Here’s the address : Ma Cocotte, 106 rue des Rosiers.