1. Porte de Vanves Markets
An all time Paris favourite of mine, is spending a Saturday and/or Sunday morning at the Porte de Vanves Flea Markets in the South of Paris -the BEST locals market for antiques for the best 'local' prices. Leave thefamously overpriced Saint Ouen flea market in the North near Clignancourt (where I purchased a 2 cup/2 plate tea set for 200euro, uuugggh!!) and follow the Parisian collectors to Vanves. It's a huge strip of street-side dealers selling antiques, furniture, bric-a-brac and collectables. Anyone who has been there needs no further explanation. But for those who have not, and love pretty antiquities for la maison, put it on your 'to do' list immediately.
Start with a flaky croissant purchased from the Patisserie around the corner or sip on Vin Chaud (hot mulled wine) purchased at the Vin Chaud stand slowly sift through the mass of gorgeous items. While there are some exquisite pieces that are a tad expensive, such as chaise lounges and other decadent furniture, I've never spend more than say $40 Euro per visit and come away with some real world-class treasures. Linens, photo frames, candelabras, jewellery, curtains, books, rare toys etc..
These markets were started in the late 19th century and today you are likely to find anything from trinkets to treasures as well as vintage designer clothing, agate cigarette holders, swanky barware, ancient archaeological treasures, even the occasional world-class find - monet, cocteau paints and more.
Where is it? The market stretches for blocks along Avenue Marc Sangie and around the corner on Avenue Georges Lafenestre on the southern border of Paris. MAP
How to get there? Metro station Porte Vanves, line 13. Walking directions from station to markets HERE
Petite B&B Market tips:
1. ARRIVE EARLY - it opens at 7am and dealers start to pack up at noon. Closes by 1pm
2. Don't worry if a seller wont budge on price, more often than not they counter offered before I got too far. If they don't, go back at 1pm when they are packing up and try again.
3. Pace yourself.
4. Look for the bargain tables: Toute a 1E cette table - everythings 1 euro.
5. Bring a shopping bag. Vendors do not have any.
6. It's cash only. Try to have small notes and change.
Favourite purchases: Livre de Lettres d'Amour (a miniature volume of love letters in french from the 18thC - I cant understand it but it looks divine on my shelf - a perfect item for the knowledgeless fan of beautiful art and antique, stuff); a vintage Celine silk blue red and white polka dot silk shirt for 20Euro; and a 15Euro ring. It has a secret compartment which I will always remember the Parisian girl telling me in broken English "good to keep drugs to kill boyfriend"...