Thursday 29 Nov, 2012

The World’s Best Bazaars

En français svp!

Visiting a bazaar is about more than just shopping – you get to experience the culture, customs, and traditions of a city while interacting with locals. Chances are, you’ll find something you have never seen before, something you won’t find at home. Even if you don’t buy anything, spending time at a market is worth it, even if just for the experience. Here are 6 bazaars that are worth the visit:

Panjiayuan Jiuhuo Shichang, Beijing

For a really authentic Chinese experience, visit Panjiayuan Jiuhuo Shichang, also known as the Dirt Market. Vendors set up their stalls every weekend, and there you’ll find antique furniture, amazing teapots, vintage Mao memorabilia, old instruments and much more. You have to visit this market bright and early, and be prepared to bargain for your items (for some tips on how to do this successfully, click here).

Brooklyn Flea, New York City

Brooklyn Flea opened in 2008 and is the best place to buy unique items from up-and-coming New Yorkers. The market is open on Saturdays and Sundays, and is home to vintage sellers, jewelry designers, furniture markers, artists, and food vendors. Many of these artists start very successful careers after selling their wares at the Brooklyn Flea, so it’s a great place to pick up an item that could become the next big thing.

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul has been around for six centuries and is absolutely enormous, with 4,000 stores and 65 streets. This is Europe’s most visited attraction, with around 15 million people visiting the Bazaar yearly. You could spend all day winding your way through the central streets of the Grand Bazaar searching for tea sets and rugs. Or, you could check out the outer streets that are frequented by the locals. There you’ll find gold bracelets, fabrics, and leather, among other things.

Le Marché Serpette, Paris

Le Marché Serpette is part of Les Puces de Saint-Ouen at Porte de Clignancourt, possibly one of the most famous flea markets in the world. This market dates back more than 200 years, when pêcheurs de lune or “fishermen of the moon” would search through garbage at night in the hopes of finding discarded valuables to sell. Today, the market has more than 2,500 vendors selling antique and vintage items. Le Marché Serpette is housed in a former garage and is full of high-end items like crystal chandeliers, furniture, paintings and vintage designer handbags.

If you’re looking for a market with more affordable items that fit in your luggage (unlike a crystal chandelier), Paris is full of them. It could take weeks to visit all of the markets in Paris. You can find almost anything – fruit, vegetables, bread, cheese, delicacies, clothing, antiques, art, and more. Provence and the surrounding areas also have great, postcard-perfect markets every Saturday.

Chatuchak Market, Bangkok

With 15,000 vendors spread over 35 acres, shopping at Chatuchak Market in Bangkok can be a little overwhelming. Luckily, the stalls are arranged in sections according to the theme of the vendor, making it easy for visitors to plan out what they want to see. The market is open on weekends, and you’ll find things like a plant section full of rare orchids, a pet area that’s home to lizards and snakes, antiques, vintage items for the home, art, and anything else in between.

Marrakech Souk, Morocco

Historically, the city of Marrakech was a desert trading post for caravans travelling to and from Timbuktu. Today, the market is a lot more modern (you’ll even find ATMs there), but you’ll still be able to find some incredible, unique items. Popular items include rugs, lanterns, musical instruments, and delicious food. If you keep wandering through the market, you’ll find vendors who are tanning their own leather, working with silver, and dying their own wool.


Flickr photos via ahenobarbus, dumbonycexfordy, ParisSharingicathing, dewet

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