I love going to the Marché aux Puces at St-Ouen (M° Clignancourt). Every time I’m there I find yet another stand to adore and obsess over.
On this latest visit I went to check out the Chantal Thomass stand, and yes, I’d live there, but there nothing strikingly original. I got a lot more excited about the adorable Nini Peau d’Chien in the Marché Vernaison.
There’s something in the repetitive mise-en-scène of the objects that’s so mesmerizing and attractive…even if I didn’t want anything in particular, I wanted the whole montage. The more kitsch objects came from another stand in the Vernaison called Tombées du Camion, which also has a new boutique in the Passage des Panoramas (this passage is getting way too trendy for its own good…I still can’t believe Stern Graveur moved out).
Over in the Marché Paul Bert, just past the Chantal Thomass stand (this is the last weekend it’s open), is a newly opened passage connecting the Impasse Simon to the Rue Jules Vallès. I do enjoy the Paul Bert, but it can be one of the snobbiest areas of the market (okay, I’m a bit biased because one of the stall owners yelled at me to keep my dogs away from her stand because she was worried they’d pee on it…if only I could make them do it on command).
I usually walk down Le Passage (aka Passage Lecuyer) off Rue Jules Vallès because I like the way it’s like a cemetery for old garden statues and a place for scrap metal and old bathroom fixtures. Except it’s not anymore. One side of the passage still has the rusting gates, stone sculptures and marble columns of the garden store…
But the other side is now full of vintage women’s clothing, as Chez Sarah expanded her collection…
It makes for somewhat odd bedfellows. The nice chap at the garden furniture side told me they were going to build actual walls with large windows to protect the clothing from the elements (update: yes, they did). It will certainly change the atmosphere of this once scruffy little corner of les Puces.
As an aside, I want to mention that my friends (who don’t even live in Paris, but know it better than I do) took me to an Italian restaurant at the market, Ristorante Napoli (136 Rue des Rosiers, St-Ouen, tel 01 40 11 15 00). I have passed by it many times and thought it was like any other horrible restaurant at the flea market, but from the moment you walk in and smell the food (and hear the staff actually speaking Italian), life is good. Authentic Italian pizzas, pastas, meat dishes and antipasti starters. You may have to wait for a table, but it’s worth it.