Marche aux Puces Saint Ouen is the largest and most famous flea market in Paris. Located just outside the 18th arrondissement, Marche aux Puces St. Ouen is comprised of 14 markets serpentined together. Interior designers have flocked there for years and Woody Allen romanticized it in the movie Midnight in Paris (affiliate link). Today, it lands on the short list of “must see” for visitors to Paris. The official Marche aux Puces St.Ouen website lists it as the 4th largest landmark in France.
Almost everyone will tell you the way to get there is to take metro line 4 to the Porte de Clignancourt metro stop; however, Porte de Clignancourt is not the best area and to get to the flea market itself, you have to pass through what I call “the gauntlet.” Basically, an area of swap meets and aggressive street peddlers. Personally, I do not like it. (You’ll be surprised once you cross under the overpass and enter the Marche how the atmosphere changes.)
I find a much more pleasant way to get there is to take the bus. There are a number of bus lines that go there but it is likely, if you are coming from Paris center, it will be line 85 or 95. Be sure to check out the interactive bus map to see which bus line is best for you. It will definitely take longer due to city traffic but you’ll be able to see the streets of Paris, how the arrondissements change and most importantly, you’ll avoid “the gauntlet.”
The bus system in Paris runs like the metro system with the end stop denoting the direction. This will be displayed on the top front of the bus. Buses also use the T+ ticket like the metro. Just like metro stops, there will be map at the bus stop displaying the route as well as one on the bus. You’ll have to pay attention on the bus to when your stop comes up because it is not usually announced.
If taking the metro turns out to be your best option due to time or location, then when you get off at the Porte de Clignancourt metro stop, look for the sign pointing you to the Marche aux Puces so you exit the correct direction.
The best instructions to find Marche aux Puces from the Porte de Clignancourt stop are definitely from Oh Happy Day. The map she provides is very helpful. I’d advise studying the directions and map before hand and making a few notes in a notepad before leaving.
This is not really the place to flash “I’m a tourist and I don’t know where I’m going” so I’d leave my print outs at the hotel and not get out my cell phone. This is not meant to discourage you from going, being the largest flea market in Paris, lots of people go every weekend, but I do want you to be safe and enjoy your visit.
Marche aux Puces St. Ouen is open Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Is Marche aux Puces St. Ouen on your Paris itinerary?
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