Antiques Diva Podcast: From Poubelle to Puce: The Origins of the Paris Flea Market

to 10px; width: 186px; cursor: hand; height: 268px; text-align: center;” src=”” alt=” Eugène Poubelle: thanks to he and his amies efforts – “les puce de Paris”, the famed French flea markets, were born.” width=”186″ height=”268″ border=”0″ />Dear Diva Readers,

top: 2px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>In the annals of famous French men, Eugène Poubelle gets a seriously bum rap, having been all but forgotten by the sands of time. The innovative, forward-thinking of one man led to the clean-up of the city of light, and in today’s Antiques Diva Podcast I’ll tell you how inadvertently – thanks to he and his amies efforts – “les puce de Paris”, the famed French flea markets, were born.


Eugène Poubelle is the Poubelle of poubelle fame and trash containers wouldn’t be called poubelle in French if it weren’t for his contribution. This is the man who introduced the dust bin to Paris, and inadvertently, thanks to his efforts, les puces de Paris—the famed French flea markets—were born… the chiffoniers had began to see the benefit of the Parisians sorting their trash and instead of openly working during daylight hours they stole through the city by moonlight, picking the best of the bundles. The next day they would return to their post at the Porte de Clignancourt and the Porte de Vanves and Montreuil where they set up shop in makeshift shanty towns, selling the bric-a-brac they had found the night before.

While the goods for sale were intriguing, there was one flaw to the plan: often the goods for sale were infested with fleas, leading the Parisians to call an outing to the markets at the edge of town as going to “the fleas,” hence les puces de Paris.” Thanks to Monsieur Poubelle et ses amis the Marché aux Puces de Paris/St-Ouen flea market was born and today each weekend you still find flea markets at these same city gates. The rest is history. Rumor has it, the Paris Flea Market now boasts more visitors per year than the Eiffel Tower.

To read the entire article on the origins of the Paris Flea Market as published in the Bonjour Paris Newsletter, read tory/poubelle-puce-origins-paris-flea-market/”>“From Poubelle to Puce”.

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva™