7 juin 2023

Daily Impact European

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The Flea Festival: the largest antique market in the world

The largest antiques market in the world, the legendary Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen ignites the imaginations of the whole world.

The largest antiques market in the world, the legendary Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen ignites the imaginations of the whole world. From its beginnings as a flea market where “moonfishermen” hawked their wares outside the city limits, the Flea Market has become an internationally renowned destination for coveted antiques and vintage items. In fact, it is the 5th most visited site in France, with over five million visitors per year.

Many activities have taken place: decorations, exhibitions of contemporary art, music, and dancers, actors, musicians, singers, artists have been encountered during your walks in the markets. The objective of traders for several years is to dust off the image of chips.

In the sprawling maze, the Biron Market is a destination in itself. Home to 220 antique dealers and vendors, Biron is like a museum, a prestigious place with a family history and friendly atmosphere. What is exciting at Marché Biron is its variety of treasures. Walking here is like walking through centuries of art history. Think Louis XIV and Louis XV all the way through Napoleon III and Art Deco and Modernism. All presented by specialist sellers who are all passionate experts in their niche fields. It’s no wonder celebrities, models and Hollywood stars make Biron a must-see on their Paris itineraries.

In 2012 and in a non-exhaustive way, we met Georges Lucas, Woody Allen, Lenny Kravitz, Lionel Ritchie, Katherine Heigl, Mireille Darc, Pierce Brosnan, Julia Roberts, Madonna, Uma Thurman…

This year, Les Puces paid tribute to Brazil with music, dance and an exhibition that looks back on 100 years of Brazilian visual art and the links between France and Brazil. Carnival with percussion, roda de Samva or even Baile Funk, etc.

So for 4 years, traders have put in place a new strategy to dust off the image of the Puces in order to operate “a reconquest of the Parisian market, with in particular young people who are also returning”. Some like Jean-Paul Jourquet have already diversified their activity. This merchant, for example, exhibits artists’ photographs in the middle of the furniture he sells in his shop.

A little over 10 years ago, 80% of customers came from abroad, mainly from Russia or the United States, but with the attacks in 2015, this clientele shuns Paris and its region. Fleas also suffer. Hugues Cornière the president of the M.A.P. (for Marché aux Puces), the association of Flea traders, estimates that the drop in attendance by foreign customers is more than 40%.

The Flea night was only accessible by invitation, which was offered on the websites of the various markets. The rest of the weekend was open to the general public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with openings and various exhibitions.