|Louis Vuitton trunks for days! The average trunk price I saw was about 8,000 Euro.|
I saw a Travel Channel special on the flea markets of Paris once, and haven’t gotten it out of my head since. Visions of vintage Chanel jewelry, old issues of French Vogue, and bureaus and chairs costing more than my annual salary danced in my head every time I thought of Paris. Since I didn’t have enough time for a proper treasure hunt during my first trip to the city of light, this time I wasn’t going to miss it.
I set my sights on visiting the most famous market, Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, known to locals as Les Puces. To Americans, it’s simply, “the Paris Flea Market.”
Due to my non-existent grasp of the French language, I figured I needed a professional to help me navigate market's hundreds of stalls. I arranged a tour and looked forward to meeting “Louis,” our guide, who promised he’d be wearing a pink vest. Score!
On the day we were to visit Les Puces, it dumped rain like you’ve never seen, but nothing was stopping me. My husband and I took the metro out to Porte de Clignancourt, a place you probably don’t want to be at night, or alone in the daytime, to meet Louis. Turns out, we were the only fools who showed up to drown in the puddles of what was left of Les Puces. Our one guide turned into two and we were off for the ultimate private tour of Les Puces.
Let me tell you, no one was selling handmade yarn dolls at this show. I have NEVER seen more Hermes, Chanel, Christian Lacroix, Celine, Yves Saint Laurent or Louis Vuitton in my entire life. There were Birkin bags, Louis Vuitton trunks bigger than my apartment and furs that would make you weep, and not because you were a PETA member.
Well, our eager (and awesome) tourguides really wanted to "help" us buy something. But, there was one problem; I couldn't afford a candlestick at this market. So we went through the motions of pretending to be interested in purchasing something, while we wandered around in the downpour through miles of stalls. Through our rain-soaked journey, we learned about furniture styles, art, valuable farm antiques and how to tell a real Louis XVI desk from a fake. Very important stuff in my world.
Who shops here anyway? Madonna and Woody Allen were both recently sighted at the market. And, according to our tour guides, Russian billionaires are big shoppers at Les Puces. Apparently they're big fans of Napoleon era finery.
Anyway, pictures with descriptions below. Note: Most sellers weren't cool with photos, so I couldn't get half of the pictures I wanted. Enjoy!
|Bracelets like this were a dime a dozen. 1,500 Euro|
|Proof that creepy people like antiques too. I thought the bible was a nice touch.|
|Looks a little different than flea markets back home.|
|Here I am. This is right before I pretended to know some of Edith Piaf's most famous songs. Umm....|
|Unfortunately, the rain kept a lot of dealers away.|
|Best husband ever. Look, he actually seems like he enjoyed learning about furniture in the down-pouring rain.|
|Check out the pink vest!|
Want to learn more? Check out this piece from The New York Times.