No other city can match Paris when it comes to an enviable collection of flea markets, brocantes and antiques shops.
Diverse wares representing France’s rich heritage and history are plentiful. The brocante season kicks off in September, with special themed-events…
1. Marché aux Puces de Saint Ouen, Porte de Clignacourt
Marché Paul Bert is my preference for luxurious, one-of-a-kind items. Visit Laurence Lenglare at Stall 241. Her elegant taste is reflected in the beautiful treasures she brings from the Loire Valley. Laurence’s work has been featured in numerous design magazines.
Marché Vernaison is a good bet for reasonably-priced collectibles. While negotiating prices with dealers is expected, demanding low prices for rare items will insult dealers and get you nowhere.
Marché aux Puces is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Some stalls are open Mondays. Most dealers accept only cash for purchases less than 200 euros. Only two bank cash machines are available in the entire Marche aux Puces complex, usually with long lines of people waiting to use them. Best to dress down and carry your cash discreetly; leave the designer handbags and expensive shoes at home.
Take Metro Ligne 4 direction Porte de Clignacourt. Take the stairs to your left, then exit the metro. At the traffic light, cross the street and walk straight ahead past shops, stalls and panhandlers selling cheap knock-offs from Africa and China. Cross the street at the next traffic light and walk beneath the overpass. Turn left, again walking past a few stalls selling cheap goods. Take the first street to your right past these stands and you’ll see entrances to the antiquities market.
2. 83e Foire Nationale aux Antiquites a la Brocante et aux Jambons, Ile de la Chatou
September 23rd – October 2, 2011
“Chatou” as it is best known, is my favourite of the Paris-area brocantes. Dealers come from throughout France to offer a combination of high-end antiques and vintage collectibles. The selection of unique items truly is superb, with this fall’s theme “Tradition des Arts de la Table.” Delicious hams from France and Spain make lunch a delight.
The brocante and ham fair at Chatou begins at 10 a.m. and continues until 7 p.m. daily through October 2nd. Tickets are available at the gate.
Chatou is just north of the Western edge of Paris. Take the RER A to Rueil-Malmaison or Chatou-Croissy, then walk the short distance to Ile des Impressionnistes. Do not count on getting a taxi back to Paris, unless you have pre-booked.
3. Marché aux Puces de Vanves, Paris 14ème
This open-air brocante is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday morning, year-round. As antiques dealers have no overhead costs, prices at Vanves sometimes are lower than elsewhere in the city. Take an umbrella – just in case – and get there early for the best selection and to avoid the crowds. By 11 a.m., it can be difficult to move among the eager bargain-hunters.
Take Metro Ligne 13 to Porte de Vanves. Exit and cross the road at the traffic light. Walk two blocks to Avenue Marc Sangnier et Georges Lafenestre.
Want to win a trip to Paris? Like us on Facebook to enter our Love Paris giveaway (to September 30th 2011). The prize includes a Paris hotel stay and activity for two, plus £150/€170 travel vouchers to make the return journey.
About the author: Tara Bradford is a writer and photographer based in Amsterdam. During ten years in Paris, she started the blog Paris Parfait and bought too many French antiques and vintage collectibles.