Hello dear Sparkfriends,
I know, you might think I am pushing it a bit today... Is that walking? Is that shopping? Well, I’ll tell you what I did and you can decide! :)
If you want to come with me listening to the beautifully melancholic song by Barbara I listened to while writing this blog, you can find it here:
An English translation of the lyrics is available here:
“And together we'll smell fresh flowers in bloom,
As we stroll arm in arm down Paris streets soon...”
But back to our walk! The Saint-Ouen flea market, which first appeared around 1870 and is spread over 753,000 square feet, isn’t only the biggest flea market in Paris. It is also the biggest in Europe. I didn't see all the shops, and I walked for 4 hours and a half, only stopping for a 20-minute lunch and to take pictures. I didn’t buy anything!
– Ah yes, congratulations are gladly accepted...
So although it wasn’t a ‘proper walk’ at all (my heart rate only went up when I saw something that I
... it was a lot of walking!
There are actually 14 different ‘markets’ in the Saint-Ouen flea market (known as 'Les Puces' in French). I started with the Paul Bert market, as it is right next to the Tourism Office* where I got the flea market map.
Actually, speaking about shopping at the flea market, the prices are quite high. I don’t think it is really possible to go there for bargains nowadays. But if you are after beautiful things, you’ll see lots!!!
I was surprised it wasn’t more crowded. I had expected it to be painfully so. It might be because many Parisians are on vacation already! (Most of the shops and stalls are closed for the first couple of weeks in August, by the way...)
The weekly assignment for the Shutterbugs Team was to take pictures ‘from the hip’. Well, I wasn’t inspired!!! I did try, but the results weren’t convincing (I guess I need to see what I am photographing!). These two were the least bad:
What I did learn from it though was that you can take pictures which go much further than what you seem to be photographing, like this where I seemed to be taking a picture of the shoes, when I also wanted the lady with the funny hat to appear on the picture!
Speaking of ‘funny’, I loved this little piglet!
I think if I had had a garden, I might have bought it! It was about 90 centimeters / 3ft high, so I suspect it must have been very heavy.
I tried to spend most of the time walking around the open-air markets, as it was so sunny and yet not too hot.
But some alleys were a bit more protected, like this one with books, fabrics and buttons...
The Dauphine market is all covered. I visited it though, as I had been there a few years ago and really enjoyed it.
This is where I finally decided to have lunch, at ‘Les Gastropodes’! They had some beautiful salads...
... oh and nice desserts too! (This was tapioca pearls with mango pieces, mmmmm...)
I had kept the Vernaison market for the end. It is maybe the most charming and atmospheric.
I was glad the ‘Tombées du camion’ shop I had enjoyed last time was still there. There were two now actually, it is obviously successful!
Very few stalls are openly tourist-orientated (as in 'cheap souvenirs'). But it is still the 4th most visited site in Paris! So it is definitely very touristy (and to answer SHESMITH1's question here, it is indeed the flea market featured in the movie 'Midnight in Paris').
Many thanks for commenting on my blogs so faithfully! I am glad you enjoy them.
Here are some more flowers to thank you properly. :)
*P.S.: The Tourism Office has a good English website in case you would like to continue the visit: