St Ouen: Paris’s Grand Bazaar

Rich Pickings in the City of Love and Les Puces

With over 2,000 market stalls and shops stretching across 70,000 square meters, Paris's St Ouen district has become the largest antiques market in the world since its beginnings in 1885. Today, millions from around the globe visit its 17 specialized markets each year, following in the footsteps of personalities such as Coco Chanel (who enjoyed being spotted there but never admitted to buying anything) and Rudolph Nureyev (who, conversely, would spend hours haggling with stall holders to indulge his extravagant taste in antique furniture). Collectively called “les puces” (French for “flea”), the markets of St Ouen are still flush with period furniture, old military gear, artwork, garments and jewelry, functioning as a repository of history and culture, as well as a source of inspiration for enthusiasts and creatives alike. Today we premiere these images from Antiquaires: Paris Flea Markets, a new book that attempts to offer a visual and historical guide to St Ouen’s hugely diverse range of goods, from the classic, such as the 18th-century furnishings of Léon Benaïm at 97 Rue des Rosiers, to the curious, including skulls, taxidermy and armillary spheres at Pierre Bazalgues in the Paul Bert market. 

Antiquaries: Paris Flea Markets is available now from Assouline. But Paris isn't the only destination for enthusiastic rummagers, explains Park & Cube blogger Shini Park here.
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