Journey to the Center of a Flea Market

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Two weeks ago, we got an invitation to attend Sarah Rozenbaum’s open house at the Marché aux Puces – the famous flea market that lies in Saint-Ouen, just outside the Paris city limits to the north. She had opened a second vintage clothing store and was inviting us to come by and see the new shop. Having written about her shop back in January 2013, I was eager to return to see what she was up to. Also, I thought that it would be a good occasion to dine in one to the restaurants around the flea market after we had visited her boutique.

Sarah Rosenbaum

Sarah Rozenbaum, Proprietor of Chez Sarah
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We arrived on a Friday evening and saw that the open house was a special market-wide event. Called “Voyage au Centre des Puces,” it had been organized around the theme of travel and was open only to those who received an invitation. We didn’t linger in the other boutiques, though – we headed straight for Sarah’s.

Located in a covered passage, appropriately called “Le Passage,” Sarah’s vintage clothing store stretches along three-quarters of a city block. Back in 2013, I wrote that “mannequins dressed in 20th century garb display feathery hats, flappers’ skirts, elegant gowns, frilly dresses, colorful capes, and chic purses…it’s all there for the shopper who wants to dress in yesterday’s styles. Most of the selection is for women, but men’s clothes are displayed as well.” When we arrived at her shop on this recent Friday evening, we discovered that the newly opened second shop lay just across the alley from the first. It was just as long (three-quarters of a city block), but the major difference was that here she sells a wide selection of vintage men’s clothing as well as women’s clothing and fabrics.

We decided to concentrate our exploration on the men’s clothing, and we found lots of handsome attire to admire.

Men's Hats

Men’s Hats
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I could see myself sporting one of these top hats and strutting into Les Deux Magots to order a double bourbon.

Striped Trousers

Striped Trousers
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I’d need a pair of striped trousers, though, to do justice to the style of the hat.

Man's Jacket

Man’s Jacket
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This jacket looks as though it will go well with the trousers.

Men's Ties

Men’s Ties
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I neglected to look at shirts, but I saw that there was a wide selection of ties, priced at only 5€ each! I was sure to find one that complemented the top hat, jacket, and trousers. Perhaps a bow tie would better suit the style? I didn’t see any around.


Dressing Gown
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Back home, in the evening, I’d doff the top hat and wear this dressing gown.

Label of a House Robe

A. Sulka & Company Clothing Label
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An Amos Sulka & Company house robe, priced at “only” 400€, no less! Though likely a bargain (Sulka closed in 2001), I would have still have to think twice before putting out that much money.

Realizing that the cost of dressing like a dandy was beyond my means, I left the shop with my partner and headed for our next destination: a nearby restaurant called La Puce. Read our account of this fine eating establishment in this week’s Paris Insights restaurant review.

Chez Sarah
18, rue Jules Vallès or 27, rue Lécuyer
93400 Saint-Ouen
Metro: Porte de Clignancourt (Line 4)
Open all day Saturday, Sunday, and Monday and by appointment Wednesday through Friday.

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