Last month, after three long years I was able to travel to Paris once again. Yay! We had about a day to enjoy Paris before we had to go on over to Belgium. My husband was on a work trip and I was his tag along. One of the things I’ve wanted to do for quite some time was to visit the famous flea markets in Paris. After doing some online research I knew I wanted to visit Marché Vernaison. Before I take you on a tour of this famous flea market let me tell you about the fiasco we dealt with first!
Disaster Strikes In Paris
We landed in Paris around 8am after flying overnight. We rented a car and drove over to the Air B&B near the Eiffel Tower my husband booked before we left. I was so excited!
I was like a little kid looking out the car window happily snapping photos on my phone. This was a cool little street vendor selling old books. Something I have seen many times on TV at home!
While driving through the city we turned a corner and were almost smacked in the face by the Eiffel Tower itself! There it was in all its glory, enormous and beautiful, right in front of us. WOW! It nearly took my breath away.
And that’s when the trouble started. We found our Air B&B apartment just a few blocks away. And there were NO available parking spots on the street. The further we drove the more stressed I became. I was not relishing the idea of dragging all our luggage down the sidewalks. We found a spot on another street and the price for the meter was around 42€ and I was not comfortable leaving the car on the street over night. Having our car towed would have been a nightmare!
The Stress of Parking In Paris
I pulled up Google Maps and found a nearby Parking Garage. We found our way there and it was CLOSED. FULL. UGH. By now my stress level is going through the roof. My husband called the owner of the Air B&B and he was no help at all. He had told my husband there would be plenty of parking around when we booked it and there was NOT. He also told my husband he didn’t drive so had no idea where to park. UGH!
We found another parking garage, pulled in and there were plenty of spots. However it was a private garage for residents and we would have been stuck in there all day if it wasn’t for a kind older French gentleman who used his code to let us out. Apparently the gate will not open with out the pass code. OMG This was a nightmare!
The Desperate Solution
I was severely over tired, stressed to the max and I finally gave up and told my husband “JUST PULL OVER SOMEWHERE SO I CAN FIND A HOTEL WITH A PARKING LOT OUTSIDE OF THE CITY.” I pulled up Expedia on my phone and was able to book a hotel about 40 minutes away. We headed over there. The staff was soooo nice and accommodating. Our room was not quite ready when we arrived so we actually took a nap in our car for an hour in the parking lot. I have never been so happy to see a bed than I was that night. The hotel turned out to be very close to Disneyland Paris. (More on Disneyland in a future post)
Ok, so what were the lessons learned during this fiasco? Do your homework. Do not rent a car and expect to park in a busy city, especially near a major attraction. The last time we went to Paris we stayed at a charming hotel in Montmartre and had no trouble getting a spot in a nearby parking garage. Maybe we just got lucky. I dunno.
Once we got back home to the States I started doing some research and found out apparently you have to MAKE A RESERVATION to park in a parking garage in Paris. Especially if you are near the Eiffel Tower. You can make a reservation right on the parking garage’s website. Or you can decide to NOT rent a car and take the train into the city right from the airport. I myself am not crazy about Air B&Bs and always prefer hotel rooms. Being that we always have to drive to Belgium when we go over there we have to rent a car.
Onward To The Famous Paris Flea Market… Marché Vernaison!
To say the least I was utterly disappointed. I lost a whole day of walking around Paris and exploring. My husband felt bad so he offered to take me back the next morning so I could at least go to the Paris flea market. So hope was not completely lost. All I can say is Thank Goodness for Google Maps! We got there pretty easily and actually found a parking garage right across the street. It took awhile to figure out the machine at the gate because it was all in French but we got it.
The Marché Vernaison is just one of 11 markets and “Flea Streets” that make up the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen (Flea Markets of Saint-Ouen) which sits on the northern edge of Paris. The Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen is the largest antiques and second hand market in the world! Each market has its own vibe and with a total of over 1700 vendors you can find just about anything your heart desires.
Knowing we only had a short amount of time I chose to visit the Marché Vernaison. This particular flea market is known to have everything you may expect at a typical American flea market. You can find furniture, post cards, magazines, knick knacks, linens, decor and so much more. Boasting over 250 stalls to wander through you are sure to find a treasure or two to bring home.
When I say you can find almost anything at the Marché Vernaison I mean it. You can find a variety of standard second hand finds as well as your share of quirky and odd items!
Would anyone like a creepy doll for their home????
I really love vintage Enamelware and these enamel coffee pots really tugged at my heartstrings. They seem to run anywhere from 45€ to 85€ and am now kicking myself for not buying one. Especially when I found out once I got home that similar ones are selling for $350 on Etsy!!!
There was so much to look at! I saw so many wonderful things. The prices were not bad either. Not “thrift store” cheap of course but if you are on a budget you can still bring some goodies home. I think those creepy dolls were 10€. I remember vintage French magazine pages were about 20€ and vintage postcards were 4.50€.
The one thing lacking in Marché Vernaison was food. There is one famous little café within the market but it was closed. So where did we end up?????
Yep! Mickey D’s! I know, here we are in PARIS and I am eating McDonald’s???? Well, when we left the flea market and headed back toward the parking garage it was the only thing I saw around and my blood sugar was on the low side. Before we started our 3 hour journey to Belgium I needed to eat!
My trip to the Paris flea markets was a dream come true and so enjoyable. I hope to return one day when I have more time to explore. And you can bet there will be an enamelware coffee pot in my suitcase on the return trip home! To learn more about the Marché Vernaison you can visit their website here. To learn more about Le Marché aux Puces of Paris Saint-Ouen and all the different flea markets there you can visit their website here. Want to get the best experience exploring the flea market? Expedia offers a Small Group Paris Saint Ouen Flea Market Walking Tour. If I had known about this before hand I may have booked one myself. Maybe next time! I do plan on going back again in the future.
Thank you so much for visiting today! To see more photos of my trip to the Paris flea market please checkout my YouTube video below. Please subscribe too!
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