All the Fun of the Flea Market in France

Written by on June 9, 2015 in Markets

flea-market-france

The big day has arrived. You’ve digested that article in your Sunday paper and you’re off, yes, yes, I am going to France to buy and sell vintage and make my fortune.  Shall you find apothecary bottles or old, vintage maps, furniture to be shabby chic’d? Does your list include Koestler’s lost novel or Duchamp’s urinal in a Bordeaux brocante?  Perhaps you’ll head for the Porte de Clignancourt  in the 18th arrondissement , Paris, where you’ll find the famous Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, the biggest Marches de Puce (the colour you’ll be when you see the inflated tourist prices).

Rule number 1 is to barter, haggle and know your market, because over at the Porte de Vanves they’ll be buying to sell later at Clignancourt for a hefty profit and Rule 2 is : never underestimate the forward thinking Frenchman. Just remember Monsieur Baillon who kept 60 vintage automobiles from the 20s-50s, rusting in sheds on the family’s farm in western France – they’re now worth more than £12 million! This little video of the Baillon Collection by the auctioneers shows just how incredible the discovery of these cars is:

Vintage is different to antique – vintage must be at least 25 years old but to be antique, it must have been around for more than 100 years.

If you want a more unpredictable vintage sale, try a local, every day brocante (street/boot sale) where you will find the French are often bemused at what we visitors buy!  The streets will be lined with stalls full of clothing, shoes, gothic church candlesticks, crucifixes and pews, a wealth of ancient farming equipment, gardening tools, wooden crates and barrels for halving and filling with flora and  French furniture and art deco delights for the whole shabby chic up-cycle thing that the British so love.  Well, let’s face it, the French are very happy to sell us these things and locals often open up the garage or attic (vide greniers) which is where you can pick up beautiful ‘bibelots’ – bits and pieces that are not furniture.

Look hard and you’ll sometimes find beautiful handmade vintage linens and more personal items. With so many French designers such as St Laurent, Chanel, Celine, Lanvin, Lacoste and the French woman’s love of fashion plus her diligence in storing things, you’ll often discover some wonderful bargains. At the moment French accessories beginning with S are all the rage – shoes, stockings, sunglasses and even slippers are much sought after.

perfect-paris-flea-market

The atmosphere at a brocante is a heady, happy one. The smell of street food cooking mingles with the scent of homemade donkey milk soaps or produce from the French kitchen gardens. Local bee keepers bring the elixir of youth, bee pollen, royal jelly and honey. Local artisans bring their work.

But… with so much on offer, from what will you make your fortune? This no true vintager will ever tell you, for that is your real mission and if nothing else, you’ll have great fun working it out with so much to choose from!

By Sandra Davis, a vintage nut with passion for French vintage clothing.

Tags: ,

Related Articles

Bastille Day Antiques Market in Montreuil-sur-Mer Hauts de France

If you happen to be in the little town of Montreuil-sur-Mer on July 14, the major French public holiday of Bastille Day, you’re in for a treat. Every year on this day, the town stages a spectacular antiques market that spreads across the whole upper town centre. Montreuil-sur-Mer is a very handsome French town that has become […]

Continue Reading

Discovering the Markets of Provence

Size isn’t everything as far as Provençal markets go. Large markets of Provence, such as les grands marchés in Arles and Aix-en-Provence, are extravaganzas that extend over multiple blocks with a couple hundred vendors selling almost every kind of good from soaps and handbags to fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish. To appreciate the range of […]

Continue Reading

5 Marvellous Markets Near Calais

The markets of France are known the world over for their fabulous, fresh produce and lively atmosphere. Buying your vegetables, fruit, cheese, bread and other food stuffs from a market adds another level to the whole shopping experience and is a great way to really feel the culture of France. French gastronomy is UNESCO listed […]

Continue Reading

Lille Braderie Europe’s Biggest Boot Fair!

The flea markets of France are well known, but the biggest and many say the best in Europe and one of the top flea markets in the world is the Braderie de Lille, northern France. This massive market takes place annually and lures crowds of treasure seekers and bargain hunters from around the globe. I […]

Continue Reading

Saint-Ouen Flea Market Paris

Saint-Ouen Flea Market Paris

Written by on April 19, 2016 in Funky, Markets, Paris, Quirky

Saint-Ouen market in Paris is said to be the biggest antiques market in the world! For lovers of vintage, Les Puces de Saint-Ouen as it is called, or rather just “Les Puces” by those in the know, in the northern suburbs of Paris, Saint-Denis, is a must. It’s a fun, fabulous shopping venue where you’ll discover […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top