The first time I went to Paris, I had to visit the most famous Paris flea market – Puces Saint-Ouen at the Porte de Clignacort Metro station. That’s where flea markets in France originated. I spent the day and had a lovely time, but most of this area is filled with vendors that are set up like store fronts, the antiques are pristine and therefore come with a hefty price tag attached! Too rich for my blood.
This time, I wanted something with more of a neighborhood flea market feel. Not permanent fixtures, just real people coming to set up a table and sell. I am happy to report that I found it.
The Vanves flea market is accessible by Metro and is just a short walk from the Porte de Vanves station. It is located on Line 13, Southwest of the center of Paris. I rounded the corner and this is what I saw.
My heart skips a beat, for the thrill of uncovering a treasure is upon me. I look down the sidewalk and it appears endless. Joy. Rapture.
I found these lovely old letter stamps. I purchased different sizes and fonts of the letters M-E-L-A-N-G-E, the name of my travel business, and have them displayed in my home office. It serves as a nice reminder of my time at Vanves.
This cute little fabric elephant, seemingly tied to some wrought iron candlesticks, in case he was thinking of making a clean get-away.
Proof that you can find anything at a flea market. The butterflies were a maybe, but a definite NO on the bugs. Eewww.
I spent quite a bit of time at this booth. The vendors name is Julia and the name of her business is Missy.
She has lovely old French fabric and textiles. Check out that delicious red toile in the background.
And buttons galore! More buttons than the eyes can process at one time..
She also had lots of great old French containers. I love the color of these. I think they were used to hold bandages. What would you use them for? I’m thinking thumbtacks or paperclips.
Or what about these? If memory serves me correctly, these were little French compacts filled with powder. I love that French green and silver tag.
Honestly, I was stopped many times while trying to take pictures. There were many lovely things to take photos of, but some of the vendors were not happy with me or my camera. Julia on the other hand was quite gracious. She let me snap all the shots I wanted after I asked nicely. I also know that Catherine Deneuve comes to this flea market, so I inquired with Julia. She told me that she was in fact there a few weeks back, and that she was seen crying. Oh, how sad. Maybe we will have a happy sighting of the French beauty.
I know you have heard of Vichy before. Could this be an old lozenge tin?
This is my favorite shot. This is what a flea market means to me. It epitomizes everything I adore about flea markets. First, I love the van, pulled right up to the sidewalk, doors open, displaying its vendor’s wears. Ties, pictures, boxes of buried treasure. But my favorite item is of course, the chandelier. Isn’t it beautiful, shining brightly amongst all the clutter? Perfect for your Paris apartment. I would have gone home with it, provided it would’ve fit in my luggage. But alas, I left it hanging.
I happened to hear some American ladies in front of me, conversing with their American friend who now lives in Paris. She was offering a lesson about French flea markets. She told them, “While everything is lovely in Paris, you will not score any deals here. For that, you must go to the South of France.” I am not sure I agree but I am sure my friend Corey knows a thing or two about that!
- Porte de Vanves
Open Saturday & Sunday
avenue Marc Sangnier & avenue George Lafenestre
Metro: Porte de Vanves (line 13)
06 88 64 82 77
visit them at the Porte de Vanves or
06 81 56 51 46
03 25 40 43 15
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