We advise setting a budget and brushing up on your French before hitting the stalls. Although bartering is not really done here, if you’re buying a lot from someone you can ask them what their best price is, but ask for no more than 10%off if you’re trying otherwise you may offend. Although most speak excellent english, try asking in French first – it’s less rude and they will find you charming if you ask incorrectly 🙂
Porte de Vanves flea market is much like a massive car boot sale and is definitely worth visiting. Hundreds of little stalls set up along the streets with a beautiful array of vintage clothing, jewelry and fabrics, as well as ornaments, toys and thousands of paper goods. In France these are extremely collectible and after a quick look through you will see why. Everything from old magazines and adverts to postcards, stamps and seed packets. It seems like they don’t get rid of anything and we wish the UK had done the same! It’s very easy to fall in love with what you see at these markets as the way the sellers present their items for sale is so enchanting. Thousands of buttons organized into boxes and trays full of different wooden and metal letterpress stamps; such history and stories collected! The sellers are all so knowledgeable about their items, so don’t shy away from asking what something is or where it’s from – they will be more than happy to share with you 🙂
Flea markets here run over the weekend and get extremely busy so we recommend that you go in early and expect to spend a few hours there if not the whole day. There are a few little cafes and food vans around for a little bite to eat and coffee whilst you’re there, but we like to bring snacks with us so we don’t have to take the time out. You wont want to leave once you start!
Another flea market or Marche aux Puces you need to go see on the outskirts of Paris at Saint- Ouen. Without a doubt this is the biggest market we’ve ever been lost in, if not the biggest flea market in the world! Unlike Porte de Vanves, this market has a couple of layers to it. When you first arrive you’ll come to a Camden like market with lots of modern clothes and shoes and plenty of sellers striving to get your attention. But if you hurry through them you will come to the most wonderful antiques market you will ever see!
Hundreds of little cubby holes as shops, brimming with vintage goodies and treasured collectables. These sellers are much more established here and their prices are higher, but the inspiration (and wish list) you will walk away with will be astounding. They are very happy for you to rummage through even if you’re not buying as long as you’re polite 🙂 Make sure to bring your camera if you go as you will get some stunning photographs as you explore here!
With so much to see and such little time, we’re planning a return visit to these wonderful places already! Next time we will be arming ourselves with extra baggage allowance for the trip home and a lot more film for our cameras. The pictures we have captured from our visit is provide much inspiration until then; a real makers dream!