Thursday, June 2, 2011

Where else to do in Paris for repeat visitor - Porte de Clignancourt antique flea market (Les Puces de Saint-Ouen)

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Think Paris and images of Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, The Lourve and Notre Dame come into mind. But if you are looking to bring a souvenir back home, you should probably be looking a bit further than that.

The antique market at Porte de Clignancourt, also known to the locals as Les Puces de Saint-Ouen sits at the northern end of Paris Metro Line 4. It isn't as far as it sounds; if you arrive in Paris via Eurostar at Gare Du Nord, the antique flea market would be just five stops from there.

How to get to Porte de Clignancourt antique flea market

Once you have reached Porte de Clignancourt metro station, head up north along Boulevard Omano and then Avenue Michelet together with the crowd. You would have to go under a giant flyover where there are people peddling dubious looking trinkets to reach the antique flea market. Just before the flyover, there would be a small clothing and jeans bazaar. Unless you are in need of those, give that a skip and head do the real deal further north. The stroll to the market shouldn't take you more than ten to fifteen minutes.

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Les Puces de Saint-Ouen (once again, that's the flea market's name) is housed in a neat triangular compound flanked by Avenue de la Porte de Clignancourt, Rue Voltaire and Rue des Rosiers. While the size of the antique flea market (17 acres) is smaller compared to Bangkok's Chatuchuk Market (35 acres), it is definitely less commercialized and you would be able more unique stalls within the compound. Just in case you are wondering, the public toilet is at the southern tip of the triangular compound.



Where else to go from there

Unless you are going through each stall, exploring the antique market shouldn't take you more than two to three hours. If you are feeling a bit peckish, Le Voltaire at Rue Voltaire and Rue des Rosiers has staff speaking excellent English and does a mean steak tartar. Else, a decent crepe 'complete' can be had for just 3.50 euros at the street market along Rue Marceau.

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Steak tartar at Le Voltaire

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One crepe complete coming right up

After you are recharged, venture to Alle des Rosiers, which is the building just opposite the antique market. You should be able to catch a glimpse of mannequins sporting vintages dresses on the first floor. This two storey building is a haven for collectors of old music records, photo equipment, books, maps, drawings and what not.

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A maritime theme stall at Alle des Rosiers

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Alle des Rosiers

After spending the better part of the day at Les Puces de Saint-Ouen and Alle des Rosiers, I'm sure you'll be able to pick up not only something for yourself but also a couple of souvenirs for the folks back home. It'll sure beat those Eiffel Tower trinklets.

Read also...
How to get from London to Paris the fuss free way
What to do in Paris for the repeat visitor - Versailles Palace

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