|The Paris flea markets are a rite of passage for any bargain hunter who wishes to take
advantage of the capital’s biggest markets. The puces sprung up at gateways to the
capital at the end of the 19th century and have retained the atmosphere of bygone
markets and the charm of communities of rag and bone men of the time, mixed with
open-air cafes and fairground stalls. Time has not changed in these historic parts of
Paris. The simply curious and collectors flock here to find a rare bargain. You can also
find everything in the way of food for a Parisian day out at the flea market.
- At the Puces de Saint-Ouen, the most prominent market in the north of Paris, at the
Porte de Clignancourt, markets are held all weekend and on Monday. The many
markets and streets offer old or designer furniture as well as ready-to-wear. Shoppers
stroll from street to street and from covered market stand to covered market stand.
- Likewise from Saturday to Monday, in the east of Paris, along the ring road, between
the Porte de Montreuil and avenue du Professeur-André-Lemière, is the Puces de
Montreuil, another paradise for bargain hunters. The story goes that an art enthusiast
bought a painting there attributed to Van Gogh for a ridiculously small sum. It is an ideal
place for picking up retro items of clothing or shoes, books or comic books out of stock
in bookshops, furniture, trinkets and other bizarre objects that are almost impossible to
find anywhere else.
- And in the South, in the 14th arrondissement, the flea market at the Porte de Vanves
takes place on Saturday and Sunday. More than 350 antique dealers sell objects some
of which may date from the 16th century, or be from the 1960s or 1980s, paintings,
glassware, tableware, postcards, jewellery and trinkets of all types. Sometimes
there are rare objects to be discovered much to the delight of bargain hunters and
visitors in search of something unusual.
It is also a friendly place for visitors to the capital to meet Parisians.
• PUCES DE SAINT-OUEN
porte de Clignancourt, Paris 18th
• PUCES DE MONTREUIL
av de la Porte-de-Montreuil, Paris 20th
• PUCES DE LA PORTE DE VANVES
av Georges-Lafenestre et av Marc-Sangnier, Paris 14th
Rare items at the bouquinistes
In Paris from the 16th century onwards, there were itinerant sellers of books and
almanacs. These travelling ookshops still exist in great numbers along the Seine. In
fact, they extended from the parapets of the quai Voltaire and as far as the pont Saint-
Michel from the time of the Empire when Napoléon had the quaysides built. These
historical treasures are more than ever a popular place to stroll in Paris.
A tradition that is unique in the world, the 250 or so green boxes (characteristic of the
Paris bouquinistes), lining the Seine quaysides in the heart of Paris are the ideal place
to find that much coveted issue of a certain magazine, an old postcard depicting Paris in
the 1920s or the much sought after collector’s 33 record. Open at least four days per
week, according to the weather, the famous bouquinistes also stock more specialist
objects, such as first editions, engravings and rare books.
From the pont Royal to the pont de Sully
Parisian second-hand shops
Paris has an amazing number of second-hand shops where hunting for a bargain is a
veritable art. Many secondhand shops are quite conventional and take the form of a
shop, like those in rue Neuve-Popincourt, in the Oberkampf district. There are no less
than seven permanent second-hand shops for people visiting this district of the 11th
arrondissement in search of the latest bargain. La Maison is the place to hunt out
objects from the sixties, La Garçonnière specializes in posters, At La Chose fans of
unusual objects are spoilt for choice, and the Trolls et Puces or the Belle Lurette offer
In another style, the antiques and second-hand trade show is held in place de la
Bastille in November and May. It features paintings and old engravings but you can also
pick up furniture and art objects and tableware.
To combine shopping and charity objects the place to go is the permanent shop of the
Fondation d’Auteuil (open during the week) in the 16th arrondissement, not far from
Porte d’Auteuil. An antique and second-hand book fair, second-hand toy sale, flea
markets for design ware, charity sales and entire streets given over to the art of getting a
For 20th-century design, there is the Puces du Design trade show, which takes place
twice a year in the pleasant district of the Parc de la Villette, along the quai de la Loire.
Finally, throughout the year, there is a whole calendar of second-hand markets on
various themes: rare books, toys, winter, retro-vintage, etc. Keep a look out for them in
the Pariscope agenda or as you are strolling around the city.
- Brocantes rue Neuve-Popincourt (second-hand shops)
rue Neuve-Popincourt, Paris 11th
- Salon antiquités brocante (antiques and second-hand trade show), from 7 au 17 May
place de la Bastille, Paris 12th
- Puces du design, from 5th to 7th June 2009
quai de la Loire, Paris 19th
Tel +33 (0)1 53 40 78 77
- FONDATION D’AUTEUIL
40 rue Jean-de-La-Fontaine, Paris 16th
Tel +33 (0)1 44 14 75 75
http://www.brocabrac.fr/ (for the calendar)
sources : Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau and Art Process