Best Flea Markets to Shop in Paris

Whether you are a tourist on a budget or a tourist with enough cash to spend for souvenirs and a little Parisian shopping, Paris’ flea markets should definitely be in your itinerary. Paris is not just about fancy dining and shopping; there are also flea markets, or les puces, located in the outskirts of Paris where you can find unique items and unusual merchandise at low prices.

Merchants from all over Europe set-up shop in these flea market locations right outside Paris to sell their unique items. The variety of items sold in these flea markets are very surprising since you could find antiques and vintage pieces sold for low prices. If you are a collector of fancy French china or perhaps, dolls and toys that are old, you should definitely start your search for more of these items in the les puces.

If you can’t find what you were looking for in one flea market, don’t fret– there are two other large flea markets for you to check out. These flea markets are also located on the outskirts of Paris.

The largest of these three flea markets can be found in Puces de Saint Ouen, a sprawling 7-hectare area full of merchants and wares. It is believed that over 3000 vendors are found in this flea market while over 180,000 visitors are known to visit it every weekend. Puces de Saint Ouen has also been recognized as the world’s largest antique market.

Puces de Saint Ouen is only open on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays of every month; however, minor sales may occur during the weekdays. To reach Puces de Saint Ouen, simply take the metro at Porte de Clignancourt, Line 4.

Another smaller yet popular flea market in Paris is the flea market in Porte de Vanves. Antiques are rarely sold here; however, if you are looking for unusual modern items like paintings, clocks, picture frames, lamps and everything else in between, Porte de Vanves is the place to be. Only 50 vendors are found in this area but the merchandise they sell are very unique and varied. You could chance upon art pieces and wood structures in this flea market, as well as other common items like mirrors and garden pieces.

To reach Porte de Vanves, simply take the Metro at Line 13. Make sure to schedule all your trips to this flea market on Saturday and Sunday mornings only since the area is a ghost town, especially in the evening.

Whether you’re a shopaholic or a mere collector of antiques and rare finds, the flea markets in Paris are the best places to find special souvenirs.


Best Clothes to Pack for your Trip this May

It’s spring in Paris once again and it is the best time to dress like a true fashionista!

April and May comprise the spring season in Paris and those who are visiting the City of Light in May should prepare for a real-life fashion showdown. The streets of Paris will not be a sea of black coats and black slacks this springtime, instead, colors and prints of different shades and textures will flood the districts.

Spring is the best time to experiment with clothes, colors and styles. Since it will neither be too cold nor too warm outside, it wouldn’t be a good idea to stick with your black coat, pants, and boots. Most Parisians, especially locals, will be in their best spring wear, as well. Colors like orange, brown, turquoise, red, green, khaki, white and several others will be “in” and darker hues will not be very common. If you want to know what most Parisians will be wearing so you can prepare before your trip, head down to the websites of popular fashion designers and see what’s in their spring wear gallery.

Ladies will find the season exciting since they will be able to exercise their fashion chops as they mix and match different springtime clothing. Men, on the other hand, will have to stick to the common casual wear. After all, there is not a lot of unusual variations for men’s fashion. A cool shirt, colored scarf, a beanie hat, and some light khaki pants may do for starters. You may also refer to fashion websites for more ideas.

During spring, skirts, scarves, and sleeveless tops tend to become very common. You might want to build your wardrobe with tops, skirts, pants and shorts with sophisticated floral designs, stripes, and perhaps, some repetitive shapes. Since vintage wear has become quite popular lately, clothes with bows and ruffles may become “in fashion” as well.

Although you are encouraged to experiment with different spring time styles, don’t forget to invest in some light rain coats or jackets as well. Springtime in Paris does not mean everything will be sunny and bright; some days will be rainy, cold, and gloomy and a colorful jacket or coat might come in handy.

Remember, being fashion forward does not mean having the latest designs in your closet, it means knowing what suits an occasion without spending so much on your wardrobe. Let your creativity run wild this spring!

Defying Distance: Adventures From New York to Paris

When you put New York and Paris in the same sentence, you would probably think of the international fashion week that opens in New York and ends in Paris, but not too long ago, New York and Paris were known far and wide as the routes of the first and longest non-stop single-engine flight undertaken by the American aviator named Charles Lindbergh. For this feat, Charles Lindbergh not only earned international fame, he also made it to the TIME’s front cover as the TIME Man of the Year.

At a time when aviation technology was at its crudest, Charles Lindbergh managed to cross 3,600 miles on a single-seat, single-engine monoplane from Garden City, New York to Le Bourget Field, Paris. This feat was considered very historic and Lindbergh was later awarded with the Medal of Honor.

Traveling that distance was deemed almost impossible by many “experts” at the time; not only was it considered difficult, it was almost deemed unsafe. No one knew how well monoplanes could hold up, especially when traveling 3,600 miles with a few stop-overs along the way. If anything, Lindbergh’s success proved that getting to Paris from New York will one day be just a half-day journey, or even less.

Prior to Lindbergh’s long-distance expeditions, several races have already been held to prove that intercontinental trips will one day connect two of the world’s most fashionable metropolitans to each other; one of which was the ‘1908 New York to Paris’ Race.

Needless to say, the ‘1908 New York to Paris’ Race was considered historical because the automobiles used by the participants in the race were not equipped with security features most race cars have, today. Just imagine a tin can with wheels and tires and packed with flammable gasoline making a thousand-mile trek from North America to the heart of Europe. The ‘1908 New York to Paris’ Race might seem more like long-distance death-defying stunt than an automobile race, but when it ended successfully, it defied the norms of travel and gave made the New York to Paris route more of a reality.

The routes from New York to Paris are more common today: if you want to go to Paris with New York as your starting point, all you have to do is to hop on a plane from the JFK airport and you’ll be in Charles de Gaulle before nightfall.

The Different Paris’s of the World

When we think of Paris, the first image that probably comes to mind is that special city in France where one may find the Arc d’Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower; however, there are actually several Paris’s on Earth, some of which are located in North America while another is in the Pacific Ocean.

It has often been said that the beauty of Paris has been used as the inspiration of other people, and from what we’ll discover later on, even governments. Shakespeare, for one, named the dashing antagonist of his play Romeo and Juliet as Paris. Michael Jackson and Richard Hilton of the Hilton Hotel fame, have also named their beautiful daughters after the city.

Another European country that boasts a town named Paris is Denmark; however, unlike France’s Paris which is a mega-city inhabited by millions of French and foreigners, Denmark’s Paris is a rural town with only 200 residents. Unlike the French Paris, the Danish Paris is a farming village and not exactly where you can find fashionable districts.

Canada, which has millions of French-speaking nationals, boasts two Paris’s: one in the Yukon region and another in Ontario. The United States of America; however, boasts not just one but twenty-six (26) Paris’s — that pretty much means half of the states of the USA has a county, town, or city named after the French ‘capital’.

The most unusual place to find another Paris is in the Pacific, specifically in the islands of Kiribati. Although Kiribati was discovered by French explorers, the archipelago was once a colony of the United Kingdom until they became independent in 1979. The Paris of Kiribati is much different than its North American and European counterparts since the commune itself has been abandoned for years now and is pretty much an empty lot.

Just when you thought that the unusual discoveries about Paris ends there, there’s actually more: the name ‘Paris’ has also been used to name a genus of flowers, a ship, an aircraft, a computer chip, and a type of plaster.

Surprisingly enough, the City of Paris which we all love and cherish is actually NOT France’s capital. According to historical documents, Paris is the de facto capital of France because it is the most popular city and the center of commerce, but the Congress of France is actually housed in Versailles.

Paris in the Springtime: Scenic Drives in Paris

With Spring right around the corner, the buzz for scenic drives and gardens in Paris have once again become popular. Within the city proper, gardens such as Tuileries, Champs-Elysees, Jardin du Luxembourg and parks like Buttes-Chaumont are often swarmed by tourists but if you want to keep away from the busy crowd, take the road less traveled and head down to these scenic drives and locations in the outskirts of Paris, instead. There are castles, fortresses, and palaces with lush gardens and stunning views you probably have not visited yet, so take the chance to see these tourist spots in person, this Spring.

Our journey begins in the northern outskirts of Paris, specifically in the town of Senlis and the chateau of Chantilly.

Château de Chantilly is a magnificent structure built during the late 1500’s to serve as one of the homes of the Montmercy family. It has undergone so many damages over the years but none of which were too serious to destroy the magical facade of the building. Today, the Chateau serves as a museum and a recreation center.

Places to visit: the chateau itself, its side gardens and the man-made fountain a few steps away from the chateau.

Not too far off from Chantilly is Senlis, a historic town that has become the subject for many films and TV shows. It is considered a jewel in this region of France because it is where you can find 16th century streets, courtyards, homes and structures. The town has technically maintained its 16th century look, making it one of the best towns to visit if you want to see France in the medieval era.

Places to visit: The entire estate of the Royal Abbey of Chaalis is a stunning location that includes gardens, fountains, and parks

The most beautiful towns of France are not only found in the northern region since the central area of the country boasts its own picturesque landmarks, as well. If you’re not too tired to go for a long drive, make sure your next destination would be the town of Moret-sur-Loing. Located south of Paris, this old commune has served as the inspiration for many of Monet’s and Renoir’s paintings. Even without an easel and a brush, it’s so easy to tell that Moret-sur-Loing is a masterpiece in itself.

Places to visit: Though privately owned, you should definitely try to drive by Château de Moret, a stunning home built in the 12th century.

Although Monet has used Moret-sur-Loing as the inspiration for most of his paintings, Monet never lived there and preferred to call Giverny his home, instead. Giverny is small commune west of Paris and it is where you can find three of the most intriguing gardens yet: gardens about hell, purgatory, and heaven. These gardens are found in Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny and may be visited from Mondays through Fridays.