On our first morning in Paris, we had already decided that we would re-visit one of the worlds largest flea markets, Les Puces (The Fleas) in Clignancourt. It had been many, many years since we were last there and the memories of it being vast and amazing were still fresh in our minds.
How things have changed! The journey to Clignancourt which is at the end of the metro line 4, took hardly any time at all, but when we emerged into the sunlight, the area we had left behind, was totally different to the area we found ourselves in. Clignancourt is the 18th arrondissement of Paris and is one of it’s poorest areas, with street hawkers and crowds of young men everywhere you look, selling dodgy copies of designer bags and sunglasses. The gangs of men, as you make the 10 minute walk to the flea market, are very intimidating and I think we were both wondering if we should just turn round and get back on the metro, but not wanting to miss out on a mornings salvage hunting, ploughed on. There’s dedication for you!
The markets are only open Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with Monday being the quietest day. If you do go on a Monday, as we did, get there in the morning, as many of the stallholders close after lunch and some don’t bother opening at all if they’ve had a successful weekend.
My advice would also be to hide any money you have on you somewhere safe, such as inside your shoe, don’t take any other valuables with you, such as passports and be careful where you use your phone. You can book a guided tour, I was told after, and if you are of a nervous disposition, I would ask at your hotel about this.
That said, there are still some amazing things there and if you can haggle, you can get some fair prices. We bought some vintage paper bags from a circus, that had been for storing popcorn and peanuts, which we are going to frame for our kitchen and there are lots of vintage clothes sellers and haberdashery stalls, which I love.
My favourite stall, selling old school books, globes & wooden rulers, shop signs etc