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Paris Fleamarkets - an insider's guide

Welcome to Part 1 of my insider's guide to the Paris fleamarkets. This is all information I have leaned from shopping for my Quintessentially French collections available in my online brocante,

Thank you to everyone who has written to me to ask for this guide, I truly appreciate your feedback and enthusiasm.

A Paris boulevard with fleamarket stalls
A typical central Paris street fleamarket

Since moving to central Paris last year, I have spent a great deal of my time visiting the many fleamarkets in Paris, learning how they work and getting to know the regular vendors.

Many of these fleamarket tips would apply to any fleamarket, but, as someone who has visited fleamarkets around across Europe, there is something very special and different about the Paris fleamarkets.

A small word of caution, if you are looking for something in particular or hope to come and buy huge volumes, you may be lucky, but please don't be disappointed. Brocanteurs like me who have an array of delightful curated finds in their brocante boutiques visit many markets every week to find their treasures.

French ironstone cafe au lait bowls and plates on a Paris fleamarket stall
A typical professional specialis vendor's stall

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Locations of the Paris fleamarkets

The most asked question is, where are the fleamarkets?

"Paris is a moveable feast"

I love the 'Pop up' markets, the venues that change from week to week but of course this can be confusing! The local residents don't want closed roads and all the disruption of a fleamarket every week, so the fleamarkets move around the city.

An antique glass bottle in a Paris fleamarket
A Paris fleamarket in the 5th arrondissement

I post the Paris fleamarket locations the day before in my Instagram stories

This is incase anything is cancelled at the last moment and to avoid confusion as there's nothing so bad as arriving at a venue to find the fleamarket was yesterday.

The 'Pop Up' markets are sometimes a bit of a lottery, but even at the most unpromising venue I have sometimes found real treasure, and you only need one 'unicorn' find to make your weekend! The published number of stalls can be a little ambitious , as the numbers are provided by the organiser trying to attract more people to their market. But you only need a couple of vendors with your style to buy well.

Brocante treasures at a Paris fleamarket
A professional stall at a Paris fleamarket

Some are 'Vide Greniers' where local residents clear out their attics, closets and garages and sell their own things. These can be great for clothes and the occasional treasure turns up, but there will be a lot of toys, modern things etc to sort through to find the Unicorn. Prices can be cheaper, but not always, some people will overestimate the worth of their own belongings or heirlooms, and a lower offer can occasionally offend.

However, many Fleamarkets are for professional sellers who source their vintage and antiques from house clearances, auctions and trading with other sellers.

As a seller myself, I know they work hard behind the scenes to source their stock and have to pay what are, in France, really high levels of tax on every sale. Also, remember this is their job; they turn up before daylight in all weathers with their tables and boxes. They need to charge enough so they can put food on the table, but yes, somethimes they do maybe lean a little heavily on the price, but you can, politely, offer what you think is a fair amount. If you can't agree, that's ok, just thank them and wish them a good day and move on.

It's good to perhaps visit a fleamarket near you and maybe then travel to another arrondisement, or part of the city, to try a different market. Travelling across Paris is easy and safe by Metro.

Permanent Paris Fleamarkets

Puces d'Ouen

The biggest fleamarket in Paris is the Marché aux Puces de Saint Ouen. This takes place every Saturday and Sunday, with a few stalls open on Monday from about 11am to about 6pm.

It is a series of fleamarkets, each with their own character located just outside the city boundary.

I have written a separate blog giving information to visit Puces d'Ouen

Porte de Vanves

Situated in the 14th Arrondisement of Paris, on the edge of the city, Vanves is easy and safe to reach by Metro.

It takes place Saturday and Sunday morning along Avenue Marc Sanglier and Avenue Georges Lafenestre. There is a very good coffee shack on the corner of the two where the owner, a lovely lady, serves coffee, pastries, crêpes and the best French onion soup, well worth a refreshment break in between the antiquing.

It is smaller than the Puces d'Ouen and this can be an advantage as it doesn't take up your whole day, but there is less variety if you are looking for something in particular. Vendors change from Saturday to Sunday and week to week as the stalls are not permanent. Although there are regulars who come most weeks.

Porte de Montreuil

Situated on the edge of the 20th Arrondisement, this market takes place Saturday, Sunday and smaller on Mondays from 7am to 7pm.

It initially appears a mix of low end new and second hand clothes, great food stalls and all manner of discount home necessities. There is a vintage decor corner tucked away on the edge and I have bought some good things here.

It must be visited with sensible city precautions, the area is well patrolled by police, but it is busy with narrow aisles between stalls and lots of people. It doesn't have a good reputation and it's not a place I would be comfortable visiting alone.

Place d'Aligre

This is a small fleamarket that takes place in the 12th Arrondisement Tuesday to Sunday from 8 in the morning to about 1pm.

A Paris cafe and street
One of the cafes beside Place d'Aligre fleamarket

It is in a market place next to the provisions market at Place d'Aligre and this, along with the friendly cafés and good boulangeries in the area, makes for a pleasant experience. It's a mix from house clearance boxes and jumbled piles of clothes to actually some very good antiques - depending on what you're looking for and what's there on the day.

Quintessentialy Prisian Pieces

I hope this information is useful for you, I will add a further blog to address some other points that you may find useful when visiting the Paris fleamarkets, so do send me any questions you'd like me to answer.

You can of course browse my online Brocante 24/7 and I ship worldwide. click the link below to take you there