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Plan of the Puces market

Overfly a market to see its detailed plan

History of the Flea Market

The first market was established in the fortifications of Saint-Ouen in 1870.

Around 1870, Parisian rag-and-bone men moved in Saint-Ouen on the Malassis area, a land of approximately 300 meters wide around the Paris fortifications, from the Poissonniers to Montmartre. The Gipsies who were already there for a long time saw new people coming including rag-and-bone men, second-hand clothes sellers, bargain-hunters who all became antique dealers afterwards. In French, they are called "biffins", "crocheteurs", "fripiers" and "chineurs".

They moved for three main reasons:
1) The decision taken by Eugène Poubelle (1884) the Préfet of Paris about the mandatory presence of dustbins in every building. This decision prevented the rag-and-bone men from earning their living in the gutters;
2) The nocturnal and noisy activity of the rag-and-bone men disturbing the cosy wellbeing of Parisians;
3) Malassis and its zero-rated lawless area, located beyond the Parisian toll-house.

Gazette