Top 10 Paris Markets

A veritable wonderland of unique curiosities, Parisian flea markets are a bargain-hunter’s dream. From original antiquities to out-of-print novels and second hand clothes for 50 cents a pop, shopping needs of even the most tightfisted traveller will be more than suitably sated.

Practically every arrondissement of Paris plays home to its own neighbourhood markets. Each one of these offers a distinctive atmosphere and assortment of food, furniture, fashion, chic antiques and kitsch bric-a-brac. Rain, hail or shine, the markets are open every day of the week on a rotating basis. After all, Parisians do love to shop…and considering we’re advocates of cultural immersion, we heartily encourage you to do the same!

To make things a little bit easier, we’ve put together a list of our Top 10 Paris markets…

1. Marché aux Puces

What? Clothes, antiques, vintage birdcages…just about everything!

The oldest and most famous flea market in Paris – and the largest in the world! – is Les Marché aux Puce (affectionately known as Les Puce). Going strong since the 1870s, this is a one-stop shop for just about everything, from fine china to musical instruments, renaissance furniture, vintage birdcages and soldier uniforms from the First World War. Unlike many other markets, you will find that the traders here are discreet, failing to provide the requisite gushing enthusiasm about their custom. Why? Because the products speak for themselves. They’re one-of-a-kind, authentic, and just darn good.

Opening hours: Saturday (9am-6pm), Sunday (10am-6pm), Monday (11am-6pm)

2. Marché Saxe-Breteuil

What? Food and clothing

Located in the fashionable 7th district right by the Eiffel Tower, Marché Saxe-Breteuil certainly has Parisian chic downpat. While there are clothes, cosmetics and furniture available here at knock-down prices, the main draw is the food – from meats, to cheeses, olives, spices, fruits and French breads, all freshly delivered from the countryside heart of Paris. Make sure you check out the farmer’s goats cheese and rare apple varieties. Bon appetite!

Opening hours: Thursday and Saturday (7am-2.30pm)

3. Marché de Montreuil

What? Clothes

A bargain-hunter’s dream, Marché de Montreuil is probably the least touristy of the Paris flea markets. With a little bit of patience and a lot of free time for rummaging, you can find everything from vintage Yves Saint Laurent stilettos to mounds of second-hand clothes for less than a euro. A great one for the hardened shopper!

Opening hours: Saturday, Sunday and Monday (7am-7.30pm)

4. Marché Saint-Pierre

What? Textiles

A paradise for young artists and designers, the Marché Saint-Pierre is primarily a textile market, selling everything from pre-made sheets to bed covers and rolls upon rolls of quality fabric. Here, you will be just as likely to bump into a well-known designer as a house owner in search of her new curtain pattern! For those who aren’t quite so expert with a sewing machine, there is a service on the fourth floor offering curtains, sheets and wall hangings made to measure.

Opening hours: Monday – Saturday (10am-6.30pm)

5. Marché Bastille

What? Food

Another one for the foodies, Marche Bastille is big, boisterous and bursting with flavour. Expect to find everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to aged wines, rich local cheeses and seafood at a very reasonable price. The markets open early on Thursday and Sunday mornings, and are almost instantly buzzing with locals doing their weekly shopping!

Opening hours: Thursday (7am-2.30pm), Sunday (7am-3pm)

6. Marché Monge

What? Food

Near the Rue Mouffetard in the scenic Place Monge, open-air market Marché Monge is becoming increasingly popular with tourists for its village atmosphere and delicious produce. A gourmet meal waiting to be assembled, expect to find all range of beautifully designed stalls selling the freshest food in Paris. Get here early and stop at the nearby Rue Mouffetard for a strong espresso and pain au chocolat.

Opening hours: Wednesdays and Fridays (7am-2.30pm), Sundays (7am-3pm)

7. Marché les Enfants Rouges

What? Food

Hidden away in a quiet corner of the Marais arrondissement, Enfants Rouge is the oldest covered food market in Paris. A quick piece of trivia: founded way back in 1628, Marché les Enfants Rouges was named after a nearby hospice for orphans who wore a red uniform! Today, this is a great place not only to shop for fresh produce, but also to indulge in some delicious cuisine – from fusion Japanese, to spicy African dishes and Arabian flat bread baked fresh in front of you.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday (8.30am-1pm and 4-7pm) and Sunday (8.30am-2pm)

8. Marché Biologique Raspail

What? Organics

The ultimate organic destination, Marché Biologique Raspail sells everything from trays of fresh wheatgrass to raw chocolate, organic fruit and veggies, health magazines and homeopathic health remedies. A place to see and be seen, you will be amazed at the number of Chanel sunglasses and Hermes scarves darting between vendors. Just be warned – as is often the case with organic produce, these prices are far from cheap.

Opening hours: Sunday (9am-2pm)

9. Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux

What? Flowers

Dedicated solely to Parisian flowers and birds, there’s nothing quite like the sweet smells and summertime sounds emanating from Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux. The market consists of two large buildings and additional stores packed to bursting with roses, orchids, lilies, tulips, bulbs, birdcages and books on gardening. While the market is open every day of the week, the bird traders only arrive on Sundays, bringing with them everything from doves to budgies and exotic macaws.

Opening hours: Daily

10. Marché d’Aligre

What? Food, clothes and antiques.

Lively, personable and typically Parisian, Marché d’Aligre is an experience in itself. The area is actually made up of two separate markets, both of which are proudly working class, crowded and cosmopolitan. First up, you will find an open-air market on the square d’Aligre, which is taken over by vendors selling clothing, furniture, antiques and general bric-a-brac. The real highlight, however, is Marché Beauveau – an exotic covered food market specialising in everything from fresh poultry and cheese to flavoured olive oils and North African harissa. While you’re here, don’t miss a stop at Le Baron Rouge, a working class bar with incredibly affordable wines served with saucisses or oysters.

Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday (8am-1pm and 4pm-7.30pm) and Sunday (8am-1pm)

Need a place to stay during your Parisian market adventure? Why not save your money for shopping and check in at one of the many cheap paris hotels or hostels lining romantically cobbled city streets. Oops ‘design hostel’ is our personal favourite, with its modern rooms, hairdryers, air-conditioning and Scandinavian furniture. Prices start from €31 a night for dorm rooms and €80 a night for private rooms.

There are plenty of markets around the country. Visit www.placesinfrance.com for more destinations

Thanks to MyTangerineDreams, natalialopes, Vero.b, Julie70, juanjosanchez, ayustety, blacktulip, u m a m i, yisris and jcalyst for the images off flickr.

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