See the trio of small blue and gold dishes near the bottom center of the photo? Come early in the day for best selections, or late in the day if you want to negotiate for the lowest price. You may even see boxes of old phonograph records. Prices range from downright cheap to what you might expect for rare antique books.
Flea Market Tour - PARISCityVISION
While you're there, spend some time exploring this lovely and lesser-known park in this mostly residential part of Paris. Look for the statue of a butcher carrying an animal carcass on his shoulder - a reminder that a slaughterhouse and horse auction facility once occupied this area - as well as beehives, a small vineyard, a puppet theater, numerous flowering gardens, a pond, and pony rides for children. Some signs are for small second-hand shops, but others are for pop-up markets lasting from a few hours to several days and ranging from small and specialized to large and all-encompassing.
To find more pop-up brocantes, garage sales, and flea markets, check these two reliable sources:. On occasion, the 80 or so galleries, antique shops, and artisans occupying the almost-hidden enclave Village Saint-Paul not far from the remains of a 12th century medieval wall host brocante sales along the sidewalks or in one of their tiny cobblestone courtyards.
If you're in the Marais neighborhood in the 4th arrondissement, look for "Brocantes" signs posted along Rue Saint-Paul and Rue de Rivoli giving times and dates for the pop-up brocantes. Several Village Saint-Paul shops specialize in brocantes rather than pricier antiques, so stroll around and visit any place that catches your eye.
Unlike the much bigger and grander Les Puces Paris Flea Market at Saint-Ouen, these smaller Paris flea markets, street markets, and brocantes have a much lower treasures-to-junk ratio, so to find something you love enough to take home with you, arrive early. To get the best prices, shop an hour or two before the market closes on the last day it's open for the week.
What to expect
As soon as you see an item you might covet, put your hand on it and don't let it go until after you've made a decision, agreed on a price with the vendor, and handed over your money. Otherwise, someone else may grab it out from under you. Remember, the best items may be at the bottom of the pile. Especially at these smaller markets, prices are negotiable.
On the other hand, most prices are usually reasonable, so there's no shame in paying the marked price.
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If you do decide to negotiate, do so in a low voice so that only the vendor can hear you. The vendor knows that if others hear you negotiating, they may negotiate for a discount too even if they'd planned to pay full price.
You also don't want someone else who wants the same item to overhear your negotiations and start a bidding war. If you're sure you only want the item at a reduced price, be prepared to walk away. Your chances of negotiating a good deal increase if you're buying more than one item. At any venue that gets super-crowded, as these smaller flea markets do by mid-afternoon, there is the possibility of pickpockets, especially dress in a way to look like a rich tourist.
See Tip 3. Leave your passport at home. Here's where you'll find the best The Grand Department Stores - Upscale Parisian shopping and gourmet food halls at their best! Top Events Each Month. January in Paris. February in Paris. March in Paris. April in Paris. May in Paris. June in Paris. July in Paris. August in Paris. She loved the idea and wanted to know more. Another is the Porte de Vanves flea market , in the 14th. A third is the flea market by Porte de Montreuil, located right over the border of the 20th arrondissement on the eastern edge of Paris.
Clignancourt is the grande dame. Some lament that it is no longer as ripe for the pickings as it once was. The items there range from the very large and expensive some stalls resemble high-end antique shops with prices to match to the tiny and cheap. The flea market at Porte de Vanves is smaller and, to my slow method of shopping, more manageable. You can easily cover it all in a couple hours. But some shoppers especially locals regularly seek out its inexpensive goods, more ethnically diverse clientele, and the feeling of adventure that comes with being on the fringe of Paris.
But as with any shopping purchase, caveat emptor. But be attuned to the cultural customs. Follow these guidelines for negotiating at French flea markets as a starting point. Clignancourt is well set up for this, with options for shipping right there on the premises. Otherwise you can send items through La Poste or make arrangements directly with shippers.
This is a lesson learned from some bad experiences having to do with a large broken vase from Vietnam. I advise going with one or two items in mind.
I once went to Porte de Vanves , for example, with a mission to buy a small pitcher to hold cream for my coffee. Thinking about pitchers helped me focus at the market and became a much-needed visual sifting process. I ended up buying two, only a couple euros each. Hmmm, maybe really good fresh food? But for that go to any of the ninety or so neighborhood food markets in Paris.
Some are near the flea markets!
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Several of my favorite purchases have been vintage glassware, silver serving pieces including a ladle I use whenever I serve soup , and a beautiful set of cheese knives with inlaid ebony. Go in the morning because they often become crowded and picked over by afternoon. The thrill is in the hunt. The inventory is always changing. If you have fun once, then go again on your next trip or another weekend. For anyone who enjoys shopping, going to flea markets is one of the most fun things to do in Paris.
There are also brocantes, which are temporary flea markets that pop up in neighborhoods on sporadic weekends. I read there are lots of holidays in May which is when I will be there.
Top 10: Best Markets in Paris
Do you think that will be an issue? There are vendors at both Clignancourt and Porte de Vanves flea markets who sell these items. Markets usually remain open, although fewer vendors turn up. There was a very large difficulty though — could not get past the first 3 or 4 vendors! Treasures included vintage items: religious medals, books, laces, buttons, fabrics, even a small medicine chest mirrored door which was successfully transported in my luggage!
Just admiring what could not travel with me brought such appreciation and joy…. Thanks for sharing that experience. A good reason to keep returning! Unfortunately, we will be arriving in Paris late on a Monday and leaving Friday afternoon.
Anyone know of markets open on Tuesdays or Wednesdays? Thanks for all your advice and tips!
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