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help me decide: les puces de saint-ouen OR les puces de la porte de vanves

help me decide: les puces de saint-ouen OR les puces de la porte de vanves

Apr 13th, 2009, 09:04 AM
  #1  
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help me decide: les puces de saint-ouen OR les puces de la porte de vanves

hello fodorites,

DH and i will be in paris this october (yay!!)...

we were recently checking out a home decor shop in our hometown (toronto) and were taken with some parisian-inspired wall decor - old signs, clocks, photos, etc. the prices were pretty outrageous (to us). i.e. there was one piece that had an old-style mini-metropolitain sign hanging over a supposedly working clock for $380!!!

anyway, we thought since we're heading to paris in the fall, we'd be better off looking through some of the flea markets for similar treasures.

we arrive on a thursday morning and depart the following friday morning ... this is our second trip to paris and we're not planning to do many of the traditional tourist attractions as we did that last time. we're staying in an apt. in the 6th. we are totally comfortable on the metro and speak decent-enough conversational french.

we do not DO antiquing. to be honest, that is a bit of a nightmare for both of us. but, we like picking up items that we can display in our home as a memory of our various trips. we don't buy traditional souvenirs (i.e. no fake license plates, snow-globes, t-shirts, glittering eiffel towers, etc. etc.) we are not looking for anything that cannot be packed in our bags (i.e. no furniture unless it's REALLY small). we're also not into jewellry or other kinds of dainty valuables like that. i hope i don't sound ignorant ... but like i said, we aren't into antiquing. and we can't tell authentic from knock-off (please, no flaming). basically, we're pretty simple ... when we see something we like, we buy it if the price is right.

last time, we picked up some paintings/posters from the bouquinistes and plan to stroll through them again. however, we thought maybe we could head over to saint ouen or vanves. but i'm having trouble deciding...

so, can you please tell me which of these markets would be better suited to us? or perhaps there are other options we should consider?

thanks so much for your help!

lilaki

p.s. when were in london a couple of years ago, our relatives insisted on taking us to the market on portobello road. we went on a saturday around midday (i know, disaster)!we found it insanely crowded and overly junky. will the paris puces be like that???
lilaki is offline  
Apr 13th, 2009, 09:18 AM
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I have only been to the Vanves market once, and I have been to the Saint Ouen market twice. They are very different. The Vanves market is more hit or miss. There are temporary vendors selling from tables set up along the street. If there are particular types of things you like, they may or may not have them. It is a much more relaxed experience than Saint Ouen, however.

At Saint Ouen, there are permanent sellers grouped in several markets. I was not looking for expensive antiques, and I found some affordable collectibles in the Marche Paul Bert and the Marche Vernaison. Different sellers have different types of items. For instance, there was one stall at the Marche Vernaison with nothing but key rings. There are no bargains, however. Things are likely to seem expensive to you at either place.

If you do go to Saint Ouen, make sure you get to the actual flea market. There are makeshift stands with people selling junky stuff between the metro and the market proper. After you exit the metro at Porte de Clignancourt, walk under the highway overpass, then turn left on rue des Rosiers. The Marche Vernaison will be on your right. The Marche Paul Bert will be straight ahead, then left on rue Paul Bert and right into the market. There is a map of the markets on the Paris Puces website: http://www.parispuces.com/en/Default.asp.
Nikki is offline  
Apr 13th, 2009, 09:27 AM
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I would say Vanves is more what you are seeking in terms of cheap junk, except I didn't find anything there I liked nor was I very impressed. I mean it is more of a cheap real flea market.

I don't like shopping, anyway, but Saint Ouen is just huge and just seemed like expensive antique shops to me, it isn't anything like what I would call a flea market as the term is used in the US. There is more there, though, so there is more to choose from.

I wouldn't get my hopes up like you are, thinking of finding treasures, etc. Just don't expect any bargains nor to find what you want, and if you do, you'll be pleasantly surprised. They have a website with map and descriptions of the stores, maybe check that out and see what you think. Here are a couple, don't know which is best

www.marchesauxpuces.fr

www.parispuces.com
Christina is online now  
Apr 13th, 2009, 09:31 AM
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St Ouen has several separate large indoor buildings each specializing in their own price levels and stuff. There are many British vans parked there for British buyers, etc. So in many ways it is also a commercial flea market

Like Christina and others say Vanves is more your regular flea market like in many French towns. A lot less 'good' stuff.

Warning in St Ouen 0 in one of the more prestigious market buildings we were by one lady's stall/shop and a small kid working with her actually put his hands in our pockets trying to pickpocket us - it is very crowded inside and out so protect your valuables.
Palenque is offline  
Apr 13th, 2009, 09:46 AM
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I've never been to Vanves, although would like to check it out someday just for fun, but have been to Saint Ouen and have to agree with Christina's description of it. You will see lots of t-shirt selling stalls and the like along the outer edges and very, very expensive antique shops in the interior. And hordes of people! When we left, it was so crowded that we were glad to be leaving, (I think it was a Sunday afternoon, so probably not a good time to go, crowd-wise.) We found an old washboard, (I have a handful of them on the wall near our washer & dryer), not in the greatest shape but not expensive, (this was years ago & I don't remember what the price was.) Also, bought an olive spoon - scoop shaped with holes in it - it was affordable. And the most "unique" purchase we made was a small tool used for stamping velvet "leaves" (for hats, I think). Certainly nothing I'll ever actually use, but unique & different.
brioche is offline  
Apr 13th, 2009, 10:17 AM
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I've been to both and I would say if you are planning to do only one on this trip, St, Ouen is better. It is MUCH larger than Vanves and has a huge variety of stuff, from old postcard and hotel silver to Deco leather club chairs and blocks of wood parquet. I found it much more interesting. I wrote a brief description of my morning there in this report, see below. Use the links in the report, or those above, to print out a map and plan a strategy. Go as early as possible to avoid crowds.



ekscrunchy on Nov 30, 06 at 12:39 PM
My first full day in Paris was a Sunday and the first destination on the agenda was the celebrated Marche aux Puces at St. Ouen on the northern edge of the city. From our hotel, we took the Metro from the Cite stop and soon arrived at the end of the line, Clignacourt. From the Metro stop, as has been written often here and elsewhere, one must walk along Avenue Michelet several blocks and under the highway overpass (follow the crowds). Once under the overpass, take a left at Rue Rosiers which bisects the market area.

The Marche aux Puces is actually comprised of more than a dozen individual markets: Paul Bert, Vernaisson, Cambo, Biron, and so on. Each market has its own personality and focus and it is impossible to even scratch the surface in one day, let alone one morning. After some research, we decided to confine our morning to the Marche Vernaisson , its twisiting lanes lined by stalls busting with temptations from Puiforcat sterling to posters to postcards to ormolu furniture to Sevres porcelain.. the list is too long to detail here.

Some of the vendors preside over actual stalls; some over warrens of rooms as elegant as in any center city antiquaire. I was tempted by a pair of Deco club chairs, (said by the leather-clad, Harley-loving dealer to have originated in the Cotton Club and to have been reupholstered by leather from the maker used by Hermes), by some bundles of hotel silver, by a mercury glass lamp base, by a pair of Neopolitan cameo earring wrought in lava. Prices are high but dealers will offer "discounts" and will help arrange shipping for large items.

In short, we really did not have the time to abandon ourselves to shopping for important items since we wanted to pay a visit to the Branly Museum that afternoon. So, with regret and longing, we left, emptyhanded and vowing to return on our next visit to Paris.
Although I brought along a print-out map of the market:


http://www.parispuces.com/FR/Default...e_environ.html

you can pick one up at any stall; many dealers use the maps as their business cards, simply stamping on their market and stall number on the back of the map folder.

So..I would give very high marks to St. Ouen from a sightseeing and browsing perspective. I was very sorry that we had so little time. From a shopper's perspective, you will see many many tempting and fabulous items in one place but do not expect any "bargains;" these vendors are not naive elderly folk selling off their prized possessions to keep themselves warm in winter, but savvy professionals who have a good idea of the price each item will fetch. If possible, do some reading (see the web site posted above) and decide which of the many markets you will visit..the Paris edition of the Born to Shop series has some useful information on this...
ekscrunchy is online now  
Apr 13th, 2009, 10:23 AM
  #7  
 
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I prefer Vanves to St Ouen though ususally go to both. St Ouen is more like an Antiques mall than a market. You can actually find quite good things at Vanves if you know what you are looking for among the junk!
avalon is offline  
Apr 13th, 2009, 11:31 AM
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hello everyone,

thanks so much for all of your advice.

keep it coming!

lilaki
lilaki is offline  
Apr 13th, 2009, 11:50 AM
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Do them both - it looks like metro ligne 13 goes directly between them both - probably in about 30 mins.
Palenque is offline  
Apr 13th, 2009, 11:59 AM
  #10  
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hi palenque,

thanks for the thought...however, i was hoping to hit a market in the morning and then go to vaux-le-vicomte in the afternoon.
lilaki is offline  
Apr 13th, 2009, 12:10 PM
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An interesting thing I just remembered from our experience at St Ouen was the amazing sight of neighboring antiques dealers gathered together having lunch, (complete with several wine bottles and real wine glasses!), at a beautiful antique table that I assume was for sale. The most civilized flea market I've ever been to! (Except for the exiting part through a sea of wall-to-wall people!)
brioche is offline  
Apr 14th, 2009, 06:21 AM
  #12  
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hi fodorites,

okay, i think we'll go to vanves. DH and i are not one to battle crazy crowds in search of antiques! we're just looking for some simple collecitbles. and if we don't find anything @ vanves, it sounds like it will be an interesting (early) morning activity on a saturday.

thanks so much!!!
lilaki is offline  
Apr 14th, 2009, 06:56 AM
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If you do go to Vanves there is a wonderful boulangerie /tea room nearby , Aux Delices du Palais,60, Boulevard Brune. Great pastries and baguettes
avalon is offline  
Apr 14th, 2009, 07:00 AM
  #14  
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hi avalon,

thanks for the reco!!
lilaki is offline  
Apr 14th, 2009, 11:11 AM
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I guess it depends on the time of year, but the two times I went to St. Ouen, in February and March, there were very few people there. In any event, have a great time.
Nikki is offline  
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