Why Is It Called Flea Market?

Have you ever heard of something called a flea market? Have you ever wondered why it’s called a flea market? Where did it get its name?

Well, you’re in for a treat, because in this article we’re going to explore the fascinating history of the flea market! So keep reading to find out why it’s called a flea market and why it remains an important part of so many cultures around the world today.

Why Is It Called Flea Market?

A flea market is a marketplace for used goods where many vendors gather to sell their goods to the public. Although flea markets have been around for centuries, the origins of the term “flea market” are not entirely clear.

What is certain, however, is that the term has been popularized around the world, to describe these vibrant and bustling marketplaces that attract storytellers, artisans, and bargain hunters alike.

Origin of the Term

The most widely accepted story explains that the term “flea market” comes from the Barbès-Rochechouart, an open-air market located in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, Europe.

The ceaseless trading of antiques, goods, and trinkets conducted at this particular area was compared to the behavior of fleas, which are known to jump over goods temporarily before landing somewhere else. Additionally, some claim that the flea market metaphor also arises from the resale of goods previously owned by someone else.

To take an item and to disguise its history is to give it a different identity and transform it into something new. This is perhaps the same idea behind a flea’s ability to jump and abide unexpectedly in different places.

A Marketplace to Explore

No matter the origin of the term, flea markets are a happening place to shop for unique items, explore local art and collectibles, and rub shoulders with people that come from all walks of life.

Here, shoppers will often find rare items from specific parts of the world, discover new design ideas, and sometimes, find a good bargain for used items. The culture surrounding the act of browsing the aisles is quite special, as the anticipation and excitement of discovering new finds is an adventure that extends beyond just shopping but affords a chance to speak to strangers and learn about different cultures.

With that said, it’s no wonder why flea markets are so popular in many parts of the world.


In conclusion, the term “flea market” has been around for centuries and is thought to come from the unique trading activity found during the 18th century at the Barbès-Rochechouart in Paris, Europe. To this day, many flea markets around the world offer unique goods and exciting finds, making it a popular place to shop and discover new items.

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