For the past week and a half, I’ve been busy covering the UN climate change conference in Paris. Though that left me very little time to see Paris itself, I did manage to visit the famous Paris flea market one Saturday evening.

The flea market is actually a collection of a bunch of different bazaars, each with it’s own unique ambiance. The place is vast. I didn’t have time to explore the entire thing (doubt anyone would during one visit), but it was a delightful feast for the senses.

It’s worth noting that things were winding down when I was there, and it was a cold day in December; crowds were virtually non-existent, and I never felt in danger of getting my pocket picked like this dour New York Times writer. Had I visited at a different time, I might have felt differently.

In any case, it was a great experience and I’d highly recommend it. Here’s what I saw:

A pod house:

I don’t know the history of this “house,” but it looks like one of those experiments in modular building they were doing in the 60s. The view on the right shows the interior as I could see it from the open door. (Click to enlarge.)

This Star Trek-themed pinball machine:


Curiously, while the characters on the machine are clearly from the original series, the uniforms do not appear to be from any iteration of Star Trek that I’m familiar with.

This trippy sculpture:

A life-size, bright red rhinoceros:


Also note the Cap’n Crunch-themed painting in the background.

This guy:


This very French looking cartoon guy was one of several charming “street” signs in one of the markets.

Bonus: Lots and lots of furniture:

This wasn’t so unexpected because furniture is one of the main things to see at the flea markets. But I wanted to include these images to give a sense of what much of the markets look like. It’s not all Star Trek pinball machines.

If you go: Take the metro Porte de Clignancourt on the north edge of the city. When you emerge, walk north. This blog post on Oh Happy Day includes very useful, step by step instructions on how to find it.

— Jim Dalrymple II


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.


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