Nestled on the Île de la Cité, in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, the Marché aux fleurs is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque corners of the French capital!
Follow the guide!
💡 The Captain’s tip 💡
Want to find out more about the history of Paris? Captain Ulysses highly recommends this free guided tour of the capital. It’s up to you to choose how much you wish to tip the tour guide!
Brief history of the Paris Flower Market
The origins of the Marché aux Fleurs in Paris
The Marché aux Fleurs de Paris was founded in 1808. The city of Paris acquired a vacant lot on the Île de la Cité, on the banks of the Seine, and decided to transfer the market from its previous location on the other side of the river.
The Marché aux fleurs remained an open-air market until the 1870s. As part of the Haussmannian works, several streets in the vicinity were destroyed in order to enlarge the market, which was then equipped with metal pavilions rented to flower sellers.
The Paris Flower Market in the 20th century
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Marché aux fleurs was largely destroyed to allow for the construction of the Cité metro station (line 4), which was inaugurated in 1910.
The market isn’t rebuilt until the mid-1920’s. The market is made up of three rows of wrought iron pavilions with glass roofs, as well as two Wallace fountains, now classified as historical monuments.
A journalist of the time wrote: “Paris now has a pretty flower market […]. Large awnings that rise to the highest branches of the paulownias of the square cast a high and fresh shadow on the flowers […]. The flower market is a delightful place to visit in the summer”.
💦 What are Wallace fountains? 💦
Designed by the French sculptor Charles-Auguste Lebourg, the Wallace fountains are public cast iron fountains installed at the end of the 19th century in Paris (and in a few other cities around the world) at the initiative of English philanthropist Sir Richard Wallace. The Wallace fountains have become a symbol of the French capital.
The Marché aux fleurs Reine Elizabeth II
In June 2014, Queen Elizabeth II visited France for the commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
On this occasion, the Marché aux fleurs et aux oiseaux (Paris Flower and Bird Market) was officially renamed “Queen Elizabeth II Flower Market” in honor of the British monarch.
The Paris Flower Market gets a makeover
The Paris Flower Market has unsuprisingly lost some of its glory as it has not been renovated since the 1970s.
The Paris City Council therefore decided to have the historical market renovated. While there is much debate about the nature of the market’s rehabilitation (modernization or renovation of the existing pavilions as they were), the proponents of a “simple” restoration of the historic pavilions seem to be winning the day.
The area will also be made pedestrian-friendly and parking spaces will be replaced by vegetated patches.
Work will begin in 2023 and is expected to be completed in 2025. In the meantime, the merchants renting the pavilions will be relocated to a temporary hall where they will be able to continue to please botany lovers… as well as curious visitors!
Visiting the Marché aux Fleurs
The Flower Market
Attention, botany lovers! The Paris Flower Market is heaven on earth for gardening amateurs.
On the menu? Indoor plants, local and seasonal flowers and shrubs, exotic varieties… In short, something to satisfy all gardeners, beginners as well as experts!
And even if you don’t have a green thumb, the Marché aux fleurs is perfect for a quiet stroll far from the city’s hustle and bustle.
The Paris Flower Market is definitely one of the most picturesque spots in the capital… and truly one of Captain Ulysses’ favorites in Paris!
The Bird Market
Every Sunday, the Bird Market displays a wide variety of birds, both quite ordinary and much rarer. Bird owners can also shop for cages, seeds and accessories.
You will also find small pets such as rodents.
🦜 Bird Market scheduled to end in 2025 🦜
In February 2021, the Paris Council voted to end the sale of birds at the Marché aux fleurs in the name of animal welfare.
The Bird Market is scheduled to close down after the completion of rehabilitation work in 2025.
Getting to the Paris Flower Market
The Paris Flower Market is located on the Place Louis Lépine, in the heart of the Île de la Cité, a stone’s throw from the capital’s tourist sites and monuments (Notre-Dame-de-Paris, the Conciergerie, the Sainte-Chapelle, the Place Saint-Michel, Shakespeare and Company…)
The nearest metro station is Cité, on line 4. Numerous city buses lines 21, 38, 47, 75, 96 | stop Cité – Parvis Notre-Dame) as well as sightseeing tour buses also stop nearby.
The Paris Flower Market is open every day from 9:30 am to 7 pm. The Bird Market is only open on Sundays.
Admission to the Flower Market is free! 😊
👉 Skip the lines in Paris: book your tickets and tours in advance!
Looking for tips and recommendations? Here are all of Captain Ulysses’ suggestions!
🛏️ Accommodation: Looking for an accommodation in Paris? Good news: there are plenty of options in the French capital. To book your hotel in Paris, Captain Ulysses highly recommends the website Booking.com. From cheap hostels to luxury palaces, you’ll have plenty of options to chose from. As for the localisation, it depends both on your budget and on what you’re looking for. If you can’t afford staying in the most expensive areas of the capital, the Captain recommends that you look for a hotel in the 12th or 13th arrondissements: they’re not as central, but are very well connected to the centre of Paris. The Buttes au Cailles, which looks just like a small village, is one of the Captain’s favourite neighbourhoods in Paris. If you’d rather stay in a chic and sophisticated hotel, here are the best 3 options according to the Captain: the St. James , the Dokhan’s and the Metropolitan .
🎟️ Activities : in order to book skip-the-line tickets, tours and activities in Paris, Captain Ulysses highly recommends GetYourGuide and Civitatis. Guided tours, entrance tickets, cruises, unusual activities: there’s plenty to chose from. If you want to avoid queuing to get into museums and monuments, the Captain suggests opting for skip-the-line tickets.
⛵ City cruises: Can you really visit Paris without going on a cruise on the Seine? The Captain loves sailing on the river and admiring the emblematic monuments of the French capital, especially at nightfall. You will find a large selection of cruises in Paris here.
🎫 City cards : If you’re planning on staying in Paris for a few days, you should definitely consider investing in a city card giving access to the capital’s top museums and landmarks. which includes access to the most famous monuments in Paris.
🚐 Transfers: the Parisian airports are located outside the city and getting to the city centre can be quite expensive.
If your budget is tight, the Captain recommends the RATP shuttles that will drop you off at Opera if you’re coming from Roissy airport and at Denfert-Rochereau if you’re coming from Orly airport.
But for a few extra euros, you can book a transfer that will take you directly to your hotel.
If you are traveling in a group, this option is all the more interesting. Find out more here.
🚌 Transports: While you’ll be able to explore part of the city on foot, you will have to use the parisian public transports to explore some of the capital’s landmarks. In order to avoid accumulating (and losing) metro tickets, the Captain recommends opting for an unlimited transport pass. You can buy it directly at in any metro station.
Open tour buses (audioguides included) are also a good option.
If you’d rather explore Paris on a boat, you will love the batobus, a river shuttle on the Seine !
✈️ Flights, trains & buses : Good news: getting to Paris is quite easy! If you’re planning on flying to the capital, the Captain recommends Skyscanner, an online comparator which is perfect for finding the best deals. If your dates are flexible, you can even compare prices over several weeks. Paris is also easily accessible by train and bus. To book your tickets, the Captain highly recommends Omio, which integrates the offer of 207 train and bus companies in 44 countries.