What is "Les Puces"?
Under the name of "Les Puces", the French refer to the various flea markets in Paris where merchants come to offer second-hand objects and furniture that they have found during the week.
What is the history of the Flea Markets?
The first flea markets appeared on the outskirts of Paris after the war between France and Prussia in 1870. Poor people roamed the streets of the capital in search of discarded objects that they collected and resold to other poor people a little richer than themselves. More and more organized, the merchants took on an official existence in 1885 and had to pay a fee to sell their objects in the streets of Saint-Ouen. The flea markets attracted more and more people and saw the appearance of cafés, restaurants and cabarets in the wake of a colourful crowd.
However, it was not until the end of the First World War that some rich owners provided permanent buildings to display their treasures. The first market to be built was the Vernaison market in Saint-Ouen.
What antiques can you buy at the flea market?
France is still the attic of Europe. You can find everything on the flea markets and for someone who knows how to see, there are always treasures to be found.
Each flea market has its own specificities and specialities. The Montreuil flea market for example has few antiques. Lovers of decoration and antiques will prefer the Saint-Ouen flea market, more structured than the Vanves flea market. The most important market in terms of surface area and number of dealers. You can find everything there, sometimes from the Haute Epoque to the furniture of the 60s and 70s, passing through fabrics, vintage fabrics, or even Empire or Napoleon III style furniture.
Where are the different flea markets in Paris?
We talk about the Paris flea markets but the flea markets are actually located at the edge of the Paris area. The most famous of them, the Saint-Ouen flea market, which the French sometimes call Saint-Ouen, groups together several small independent markets in the north of Paris: the Vernaison market, the Malassis market, the Dauphine market, the Antica market, the Cambo market, the Paul Bert Serpette market, the Jules Vallès market, etc. To the east of Paris, there is the Montreuil flea market and to the south the Porte de Vanves flea market. Each of these markets has its own speciality.
When are the flea markets open?
The flea markets are open mainly on Saturdays and Sundays, but sometimes extend to Fridays, especially for professionals, and to Mondays, the latter having been opened for merchants who are not available on Saturdays. To take full advantage of a flea market, we recommend that you go on Saturday or Sunday: you will then be sure that all stores are open.