Everyone knows that Paris is a hub for designer fashion and cutting edge style. But besides haute couture and high-end boutiques, Paris is known for a much more unique way to shop… flea markets.
But we’re not talking your average junk sale here. I could spend all day (and I have!) picking through dozens of independently owned booths, hunting for treasures and people watching. The variety of characters you’ll find is a rich as the plethora of items for sale. Brimming with antique trinkets, books, original artwork and vintage clothing; the markets offer one-of-a-kind finds and once-in-a-lifetime deals. Don’t forget to haggle a bit, as vendors will always start high with an asking price. The more you buy from one seller, the more wiggle room you will have in terms of pricing. There are several locations to choose from, each with a different vibe and selection. Below is my recap of Paris’ 2 largest “Puces” or Flea Markets.
LES PUCES DE SAINT-OUEN at Porte de Clignancourt is the largest flea market, not only in Paris, but in the world! But the size and fame of this market also means higher prices, and more tourists (over 1 million visitors/year), so be forewarned. Located just outside of the périphérique (city border) it’s easy to get to by Metro, and lasts almost all day Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Boasting hundreds of booths and miles of flea market fun, expect to find anything from a 1930’s dressmaker’s bust or an authentic ivory cameo, to Eiffel tower trinket or cheap plastic furniture. But beyond house wares and collectables, lies a treasure trove of vintage designer clothes and accessories. There are numerous vendors hawking racks filled with frocks and furs. It’s entirely possible that a the holy grail aka an Hermes Birkin or Chanel pearls lie in wait, packed in amongst the 17 kilometers of goods. So keep hunting…
LA MARCHE AUX PUCES at La Porte Vanves is significantly smaller and easier to navigate than it’s uptown big sister. Located at the base of the city in the 14th arrondisment, Vanves is a favorite among locals, though you’ll find plenty of visitors here too. While it’s said to be open until 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays, shopkeepers often pack up early depending on their mood, so get there early for the best selection. This market is smaller, so the selection is too - and even the items for sale tend to be of a friendly size for travelers. A crystal ashtray from the 1920’s, an agate letter opener or a mother of pearl pillbox are just a few of the transportable treasures that you may find here. For watch collectors, vintage Rolexes and Longines are speckled throughout display cases of endless antique jewelry. Vintage Dior and Balenciaga sunglasses are sold alongside the occasional new Tom Ford frame, and a lizard belt or shagreen R&Y Augusti clutch can be yours if you take the time to look.
For a list of some of Paris’ other markets, click HERE.