Paris Flea Markets and Thrift Stores

Paris Flea Markets

When I lived in a small apartment, I had to dial down buying everything. As folks in Paris say: “Something in, something out” – meaning that if you brought something in, you had to get rid of something to make room for it. I lived ”smaller,” with fewer things, which was great because I pared down my collecting, and kept only what was essential.

Paris Flea Markets

What a difference a few years, and a few more square meters, make. And now that I’ve got some more space in my apartment after moving a couple of years ago, I’m hitting the vide-greniers and brocantes again, scooping up odds and ends. (And looking for places to put everything, all over again. *sigh*) When I put photos on my Instagram stream as I wandered the markets recently, the invariable question comes up: “Where are you?” So in response to folks that want to know where I shop, this listing is for you.

Paris Flea Markets

The bad news is that there are relatively few bargains in Paris. The good news is, that’s not exactly true. There’s plenty of stuff that people get rid of because it’s old-fashioned or not needed, so it is possible to pick up vintage cookware, linens, and other things that locals cast off. And I’m happy to buy them!

Paris Flea Markets

I’ve developed a bit of a “bottom feeder” mentality and avoid the traditional flea markets, the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen (usually referred to as the Marché Clignancourt), and the Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves, and stick to the brocantes that pop up in Paris during nice weather in the neighborhoods. Prices are much lower and it’s more fun to see what pops up as people are unloading their trucks. Below are tips on how to find them, as it’s not obvious to visitors (and some locals). Though I didn’t used to mind spending money on things, I am now more selective (and maybe more French?) and have become radin (cheap), focusing on things that are truly bargains.

Paris Flea Markets

It’s good to know the nomenclature. Flea markets (Marchés aux puces) refers to the larger, fixed-location markets in Paris, but it’s the brocantes and vide-greniers that I find the most interesting. Basically, a brocante is an open-air sale that includes professional dealers, but they’re lower priced than the fancy antiquaire markets and exhibitions. Most brocantes in Paris are a mix of dealers and particuliers, or individuals, who are non-professionals.

Paris Flea Markets

Garage sales and sidewalk sales aren’t permitted in France, so vide-greniers, or “empty the attic” sales, are the closest equivalent. These are collective sales held in various neighborhoods and folks in the quartier bring objects that they want to sell. These can be hit-or-miss. Sometimes it’s a lot of plastic children’s toys, other times, people are cleaning out their kitchens, and you can score. A braderie refers to a sale where things are marked down and there are rarely professionals, and a braderie often refers to a sale when things are sold rummage sale-style. (For the sake of discussion, I’m just going to refer to outdoor flea markets as brocantes, as they are referred to in Paris.)

Paris Flea Markets

At the brocantes, the best deals are in the boxes (and boxes) of stuff that people just bring out and let shoppers have a go at. You can find great stuff, from pâté molds and butcher knives, to well-loved tart pans, French cake molds, and colorful gratin dishes, often priced as low as fifty cents. In order to find the good stuff, you need to carefully pick through them – often on your hands and knees . . . and I have the bruised knees to prove it!

Paris Flea Markets

Each brocante in Paris has a different personality. At some, the dealers are brusque and expensive. Professionals might stock their stands with vintage linens and beautiful French dishtowels, while others might specialize in ‘60s to‘80s cookware, or French Bakelite household items. Then there are the people that just show up with a van and put everything out willy-nilly. Recently at a brocante on the Boulevard Beaumarchais, I found one fellow selling a bunch of French glassware, which I used to collect, and picked up when I came across them. Each glass was €20, and the guy wasn’t budging. He had about a dozen of them and I suppose if I took the whole lot, he may have dropped the price a tad. But even Romain, who can be very persuasive in that Parisian way, didn’t have any luck.

Other merchants were more buyer-friendly, and just trying to make a little money by selling stuff. So after moving past those fancy glasses, I picked through some boxes and brought home this sweet little collection of glassware for only €3.20. So there are bargains. You just have to find them. (And you often have to unearth them yourself as it took a bit of digging to find all four of those glasses.)

Paris Flea Markets

I’ve been having a good time lately exploring not just the brocantes, but the thrift stores, mostly the ones outside of Paris. (Same with dépôt-ventes, which are what we consider bric-a-brac stores, and you’ll find some in Paris but the better ones are outside of town.) You’ll need a car to get to them as they’re not located near public transit. But if you have the urge to go, you can rent a car and hit one (or all) of the three Emmaüs stores I give below.

Emmaüs is a benevolent organization that performs a number of services in France, including operate places where people donate items for sale. Proceeds from the items sold in their stores across France go to helping the less fortunate. In Paris, there are Emmaüs shops dotted throughout the city, selling everything from clothing to cookware. Because they’re in the city, bargains get snapped up quickly, although I scored a €5 cassole for making cassoulet at the one on Boulevard Beaumarchais (#22), right next to the trendy Marais. So it pays to stick your head in if you’re out sightseeing.

Paris Flea Markets

Even better are their massive stores outside of Paris; the best being Emmaüs Bougival, close to where many well-off people live, to the west of Paris. Also near Paris is the bi-annual Foire de Chatou, an open-air flea market and ham fair, that takes place in the fall and in the spring, and has a free shuttle from the RER A station.

Paris Flea Markets

There are a few other Emmaüs stores to the east of Paris, outside of the city, that I’ve been rummaging through as well. I always rifle through the silverware, looking for interesting things. (Although I’ve learned to use one of the spatulas on top to avoid being impaled during a dangerous game of pick-up-sticks.)

Paris Flea Markets

Plates are stacked and stacked on top of each other. Some are ugly and new, but digging through them, you can likely score – well, sometimes!

Paris Flea Markets

And sometimes they arrange things along a theme, like Provence.

Paris Flea Markets

I recently found a much-used butcher knife, that’s been pretty honed down to almost nothing over the years…and a glass to add to my cocktail glass collection (which they threw in my bag – for free!)…

Paris Flea Markets

My latest obsession is trying to find a cool salad serving set to replace the Danish modern utensils I have, that no one else can use without flinging salad all over the place. Until I find the perfect one, I’m collecting pieces one-by-one, hoping to find their mates. (If anyone finds the spoon part to that stainless-steel number, let me know.)

Paris Flea Markets

However, I did come upon a salad server set for just €3, which was a good value considering the size, which just I might have to use in the meantime. Well, after a good scrubbing.

Paris Flea Markets


Paris Flea Markets

There are two well-known flea markets in Paris; the massive Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, or Marché Clignancourt, which is open Saturday (9am-6pm), Sunday (10am-6pm), and Monday (11am-5pm). It’s said to be the largest flea market in the world, although it tends to feel (and be priced) more like a series of antique stores, rather than a flea market. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a real bargain here.

(Tip: Leave anything valuable at home. The flea market is located in what is not the best part of Paris and less-savory types tend to know that tourists with money and passports are coming to the area. And it’s no fun to discover that you’re passport was lifted while you were shopping.)

Paris Flea Markets

To get there, take the line 4 métro to Porte de Clignancourt. Upon leaving the métro station, there are a lot of stands selling clothing and cheap imported junk. That’s not the flea market. (There are excellent directions here.) The main markets are on the Rue des Rosier, the Marché Serpette and Marché Paul Bert, and the Marché Jules Vallée. The latter is more likely to have bargains.

(Tip: For those interested in culinary items, Bachelier Antiquités specializes in copper cookware, pottery, and culinary tools. You won’t find bargains but they stock some rather amazing items.)

The other weekly flea market is the Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves, which is a good jumble of things in many categories. It takes place Saturday and Sunday from 7am to 2pm. To get there take the métro to Porte de Vanves (line 13) and follow folks walking the couple of blocks to the flea market. For the best selection, arrive early in the morning. For better prices, go Sunday afternoon, as folks are closing up.

cake servers

There are two smaller flea markets that get less attention than the major ones. The first is in the center of the open air Marche d’Aligre, which takes place daily (except Monday), and also happens to be one of Paris’ best food markets. There is a lively mix of items from small-scale dealers, and particuliers, who haul out cases of various things set up on makeshift tables in the square, adjacent to where the market is held. Most are eager to sell, and you’ll often find me picking through the boxes on the ground for the best deals.

Another flea market, although less interesting, is the Porte de Montreuil, which takes place Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, from 7am to 7:30pm. I’ve not found this to be a great flea market, unless you’re looking for old tools, electrical extension cords, t-shirts, dicey designer knock-offs, and tube socks. But as they say…ya never know.


Brocantes, Vide-Greniers, and Braderies in Paris

These are roving flea markets and each one has its own personality, with items at various prices points. At most of them, you’ll find plenty of low-priced things as well as mid-range and up. They don’t have fixed weekly addresses but occur at various times throughout the year (except in the winter) and you’ll need to look them up. Sometimes signs are also posted in advance in the various neighborhoods, which you’ll see around town. Generally speaking if they list the sale as Antiquities (only), the flea market will be more established dealers. When they use (or add) the word Brocante, it’ll be a mix.

brocante sign

These sales are often listed on the Paris.fr website under Fairs & Trade Shows and some of the more upscale ones are listed at the website of Joël Garcia, an organization that sponsors large antique expositions in Paris. Dates are listed on their website, and their antique fairs feature middle- to high-end items, although they can be worth a look, especially the ones that take place in the Bastille. I scored a great old French metal pastry shop sign at one for €100 a while back, which wasn’t dirt-cheap, but there was no way I was leaving that behind.

The best way to find when the roving brocantes and vide-greniers take place is to check the listings at Vide-greniers.org, L’Agenda des Brocantes, SPAM, Points de Chine, and Brocabrac.

(Tip: Paris is in the Île-de-France region and départment 75 is Paris.)

Paris Flea Markets

In addition, Brocbrac has an app, as does Vide-Greniers.org. (Android only), to help find the brocantes on-the-go. And you can also set email or SMS alerts at L’Agenda des Brocantes and Brocabrac, to notify you of upcoming brocantes and flea markets.

(Tip: Particularly good is the biannual brocante that sprawls out in the streets around the Marie de 3ème, or City Hall in the 3rd, which takes place the first weekend in June and the last weekend in November.)

During the summer months, many towns and villages outside for Paris, on the Île-de-France (within a 1-2 hour radius of Paris), hold flea markets (which they will list as a braderie or brocante), and those are listed on the above websites. Many are very interesting and great places for unearthing treasures.


Thrift Stores

Paris is not a city teeming with thrift stores. True, there are plenty of antique stores and dépôt-ventes (stores where sometimes people drop things off on consignment – but are not always run that way anymore), but due to lack of space, there are not the giant warehouse-like thrift stores you’ll find in some cities elsewhere.

Paris Flea Markets

(Tip: There is an antique collective, Belle Lurette, located in what is called the “Village Popincourt” at 5 rue Marché Popincourt, in the 11th. In the Village Saint-Paul, in the 4th, there is a cluster of antique shops in the courtyard. Nearby is Au Petit Bonheur La Chance, which sells vintage housewares.)

Emmaüs has small stores scattered around various neighborhoods in Paris. (Yelp has a good listing of their addresses.) Because they are in the city, anything good gets snapped up quickly. Bargain hunters might want to rent a car and visit their large shops outside of the city. The best are:

-Neuilly-Plaisance (38, avenue Paul Doumer)

-Neuilly-sur-Marne (15, boulevard Louis Armand)

-Bougival (7, lieu dit Île de la loge)

The Emmaüs stores just outside of Paris span several buildings, each one featuring a different category, i.e.: housewares, hardware, kitchen supplies, children’s toys. In addition to regular housewares, they have a special section of “better quality” tableware and glassware, at higher prices than in the other areas of their stores, but you can score sets of very nice wine glasses, flatware, and dinnerware at still-reasonable prices.

(Tip: The Bougival Emmaüs is accessible by the RER A train, which stops 1km, or a half-mile, from the store. A map and directions are on their website.)

Two other benevolent organizations hold braderies and brocantes from time-to-time: Secours Populaire Française is one, and the other is the Armée du Salut (Salvation Army). Both sites require a bit of digging, so you might be better off typing the name of the organization and the word “braderie” or “brocante” into a search engine, along with “Île-de-France,” which includes Paris and the surrounding area. Almost all of them are outside of the city.


Additional Tips

flea market finds-2

– Although thrift stores take credit cards, outdoor brocante dealers only take cash.

– When searching for flea markets on websites, note that some specialize in single items: Fripperie and vente de vêtements or bourse aux vêtements means the sale is vintage and/or used clothing. Timbres are stamp (and often coin) dealers, cartes postales are postcard, livres ancien et d’occasion are used and rare books, and biffins are cast-offs, such as used electrical cords, sneakers, and other odds-and-ends that the sellers usually have picked up off the street. (Usually the items at these sales are not of interest to visitors.)

– Always bring small bills. No one ever has change, and if they do, it seems like a herculean effort to give any back to you. (I think because people like taking money, but not giving it back.) Plus, if you’re haggling over something, and whittling someone down in price to save a few euros – then hand them a €50 for a €3 purchase, it can be awkward – especially if you’ve gotten them to reduce the price by telling them you’re low on funds. I bring a lot of €2 coins, which make you a “golden” customer.

– Be aware that just because something in France looks old, it may not be. Many things, including café items (wine carafes, beverage glasses, water pitchers, jam jars, etc) that look retro, may have either been re-issued or have been in continuous production since the 50s or 60s. So some things that look “vintage” may be new. A reputable dealer will know the difference and let you know, but not everyone selling items does (or will tell you.) As always, it’s buyer beware.

– Bargaining is acceptable. At outdoor markets, you can sometimes negotiate a 10-30 percent discount. Chances of successful bargaining happen later in the day, before closing time…although don’t let something slip away from you over a few euros if you really want it. (Trust me.)

(I’ve never seen anyone bargain in the Emmaüs stores in Paris, but do see it at their larger stores outside of the city, where prices are more flexible. In fact, often things aren’t marked and you just gather what you want and bring them to the clerk, and who gives you a ticket with the total amount on it that you must bring to a central cashier, then return with the proof of payment they’ll give you to pick up your stuff.)

– It’s a good idea to carry a decent amount of l’argent liquide, or cash, in case you find something amazing that needs to be bought right on the spot – or their credit card machine, or the local ATM, is broken. (Which happens, and you don’t want to be stuck not being able to buy an extraordinary find.) For shopping at outdoor markets, hide large amount of cash and big bills somewhere that’s not your wallet or purse, since it’s not a good idea to flash a lot of cash around the flea markets and brocantes.

– Keep an eye out for pickpockets. It’s unfortunate, but some of the flea markets are known for them, especially the market at Clignancourt.

– Don’t carry a fancy handbag or dress too smartly. A Chanel bag or Patek Philippe watch reduces your bargaining leverage.

– Prices seem to go up when antique dealers hear an American or foreign accent. I will often mumble “Combien?” (“How much?”) rather than use a longer phrase, which will give me away. (Or I have my French partner ask.) An opposite strategy (heck, there’s no science to this) is to immediately greet the dealer with a polite “Bonjour monsieur” or “Bonjour madame” when entering their booth, which might give your provenance away, but you score points for politesse.

– Avoid picking something up and excitedly asking the dealer the price with a big grin. Instead, act nonchalant and a bit uninterested, and don’t smile when asking the price.

(Tip: No matter what the price, high or low, if you want to act like a local, always respond as if the price is ridiculously high – even if it isn’t. Stand there and consider their response before buying anything, especially if you want to buy other items from the same dealer. And yes, if you buy more things from one person, generally you can request a better price.)

– Never, ever put anything down if you actually want it – the moment you do, it’s considered fair game for someone else to grab it. People will want something just because you showed interest in it, like the massive, gorgeous vintage mortar and pestle that was just sitting there at the Marché d’Aligre last week. It had a few fissures and I was on my bike, so after going back-and-forth in my mind a bit, I put the hefty €20 fellow down. As soon as I did, a foreign dealer jabbering on his cell phone, who saw that I was interested in it, swooped in and grabbed it before I could change my mind. Merde!

– Restrooms are rare at outdoor markets, so you may need to use one in a café. Expect to have to buy a beverage to use the restroom.

– Bring a sturdy, large shopping bag when heading out on the hunt. Some dealers will have flimsy plastic bags, but they aren’t comfortable for long-term bargain hunting. And thrift stores outside of Paris expect you to bring your own. Most supermarkets in Paris sell large, reusable shopping bags suitable for the purpose. The best are at the large Leroy Merlin hardware shop, located at Beaubourg in Paris. Their bags have regular-sized handles, as well as shoulder straps, and are wide enough to hold large items (like a large mortar and pestle…), and sturdy and comfortable enough to carry heavy – or multiple – objects.

– Good luck!

And by the way, the salad set cleaned up nicely…don’t you think?

flea market finds



Related Links

VIntage Cookbooks in Paris

Paris Safety Tips

Cookware Shops in Paris

10 Things to Bring Back from Your Trip to Paris

73 comments

  • Great great post! Thanks so much for taking the time to write about this. I travel to Paris once or twice a year from London and struggled to find these places. Now I have the perfect guide :). If only someone could do it for London, that you be great. I’m always on the look out for nice props for the blog, but as you mentioned space is an issue here too so I can’t let myself get carried away.

  • David, thank you for this very timely and resource filled post! I just moved to Paris and am feverishly working on furnishing my apartment… and hoping to find flea market bargains for basic things I wish I had brought from the US, like basic glassware for example. Ohh and I’m swooning over all of those beautiful wooden spoons and old knives you photographed!

  • Wonderful post, David! Thanks for all the details and information. Reading your post and looking at your pix felt like I was there with you.

    We have hesitated going to the big weekend flea markets while in Paris, but we always stop at the brocantes when we are driving in rural France. I will keep my eye out for the neighbourhood brocantes that are scheduled in Paris.

    BTW – how big is the salad bowl that you use with that salad set? :-0 !

  • One of my favourite pastimes, living in Provence is going to the brocante. There is a really good one over the rhone in Beaucaire. You can get anything from an old sofa (now the dog sofa) to broken toys and second hand watches, amongst which treasures are to be found.. Also love going to Emauss outside Arles. Most of the furniture, kitchen utinsils and glassware etc. in my house comes from these two places.

  • Wow, what a comprehensive and fascinating post. Thanks David. I remember mooching round the stalls at Clignancourt as a teenager. How I wished I’d picked up some bargains back then. So many places in the UK now charge a premium for old tat, but a bit of vintage in a blog post really can lift an image.

  • Oh, this is a dangerous post. Forget fancy stores, I like the thrift ones.

    That is a huge set – I think a good carver could make it into two.

  • Oh one more thing David if I could… do you know whether (in general) the furniture dealers deliver furniture… just don’t want to have to rent a car or try to schlep a table or dresser on the bus ;)

    • I’ve never bought and shipped furniture but many folks that do, use Hedley’s Humpers. I think many dealers in Paris know them and work with them, although at the outdoor brocantes, often it’s cash-n-carry!

  • Thanks for all the tips David, I’ve always wondered how to find the flea markets in Paris. Love the glassware and the cool hand carved looking salad set!

  • Great useful and fun post, David. Even occasional visitors like me like to browse markets and thrift stores for inexpensive gadgets or home accessories that will keep our time in Paris fresh in our minds.

  • This post could not have come at a more opportune time for me! I’m a rabid flea market browser/buyer and will be in Paris for two weeks beginning May 3rd. I’ve been scouring the internet looking for these sites and here you put a large number of them in one place with appropriate commentary. Thank you!!

    ps, looking forward to seeing you at Central Market in Austin in late April.

  • Great info! On my one trip to Paris (so far) my only regret was not making it to the flea markets. I’ll be hanging on to this post for the next trip. Thanks!

  • David,
    This is an awesome post! We love going to the temporary markets like this when we are in Paris and use the Brocabrac app each time! I’ve reposted your article on my blog, “I’d Rather Be In Paris” because you have given much more detail and info than I did on my version. Thanks for that!!!

  • A hint that was given to me by a friend who lived in Paris in the 80’s: Bring a pair of cotton or surgical rubber gloves when you expect to go picking through all the boxes, clothes, hardware, etc. at the flea markets. Some of the stuff is really grungy. That salad set is HUGE!

  • Amazing! This blog post could not have been more timely! I never knew there was a website for Vide-grenier not to mention some of the other less obvious places to find treasures. Many thanks!

  • The salad set looks big in the picture where you are holding them, but not as big in the other picture where they are lying on the table — maybe that close-up shot is distorting them somewhat?

  • Well, fine. Just as I was congratulating myself that I’d tamped down my chronic yearning for Paris, here you come along and stoke the fire again. What a great and thorough litany of temptations! I am definitely bookmarking this post in case a miracle happens and I someday have enough money to 1) go back to Paris and 2) afford the flea markets and the shipping for my finds.

    *whimper*

    But seriously – thanks for this. It’s not only informative, it is entertaining!

  • You’ve done an excellent job of covering the spectrum of flea market & thrift opportunities in Paris. I’m glad you mentioned the little flea at Marché d’Aligre. Great tips too. Nice piece!

  • Aah, Terry, I am with you. Perhaps a valid reason to return to Paris – one more time. If I need amore than just the fact of Paris!

    We have a rather good simile of a marchés aux puces here called “Cookin”; much of which comes from France. Costly though. Still fun to rummage around.

    David, have you tried Chinese metal tongs for your salad. Maybe not so charming but they are efficient.

  • Thank you for this thorough post! My only problem over the years has been schlepping it all back to the states. One thing I’ve learned is to buy it if you like it because if you don’t you will regret it and be kicking yourself forever. My flea market finds have turned out to be my most treasured possessions.

  • Thank you for so much information and for noting that some places will be open in summer. Those salad servers cleaned up to a pretty color.

  • David,
    This is a wonderful post. There are few thing I love more than a trip to
    the Marche aux Puces at St Ouen. Half of my house as been furnished with finds from there. I am so glad to learn of some other places that I’ve never heard of.
    There are treasures everywhere in Paris. Thanks so much!

  • Loved the column as much as I love yard sales, thrift shops and flea markets and will save it to my travel folder. Never tried the French ones but have scored a few interesting items at Italian street markets. I look for kitchen stuff, especially wood and glass and I loved a couple of those knives in your photos. Loved the expensive glasses too but I hope you didn’t end up with the one that had the chip on the base, even though it adds character. Should have been a lot less than €20.

    • I didn’t buy any of them. The guy was pretty gruff & not so interested in selling anything, so I passed. Wonder if he sold ‘em?

  • Reads like preparing for a battle :) I do think the older the city where your flea market is the more interesting it gets.

  • there is a reason i steer clear of these places, the temptation !!!
    But can you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me, if the photo wasn’t taken too long ago and if you think there’s any point, where the fifth photo (after the knives) was taken? The blue pots are like what i’ve always wanted, didn’t think i would be seeing something i fantasized about for real!!!

    If I have time for just three places – minus Clignancourt and the St Paul area – which would you say are the best for kitchenware? Emmaus (which one?)

    thanks! and I hope those wooden spoons are yours, so beautiful!

    • That was taken on the Boulevard Beaumarchais, at a brocante that happens there infrequently. Can’t say for sure where is the best place to find used kitchenware – since you never know what’ll turn up at a flea market or bric-a-brac sale!

  • Great post! I love flea markets, yard sales and thrift stores–such fun and sometimes marvelous bargains. When traveling I’ll search out the local thrift stores for the glimpses they give of the local communities. Thanks for glimpses of Paris.

  • Fabulous resource David. Bookmarking this for the summer.

  • Absolutely fabulous! What a marvellous way to spend my time is reading your posts and seeing your pictures! I should come to Paris one day!

  • Thank you so much for this post, David. Last year we stayed in the Rue Cler area, which I’ve come to think of as the “Disney version” of a Parisian neighborhood – seemed like there were more English speakers than French speakers roaming about. But my stay was considerably brightened up by a flea market that popped up there during our visit – I’m hooked and am so glad to have the tips.

  • This was an incredibly comprehensive and well-done post. If it isn’t going to be a chapter or two in a book you are writing it should be. As a relatively new follower, I have been impressed by the quality of both your writing and your photography.

  • What a gigantic salad set! A sanding sponge (do they have those in Parisian hardware stores?!) and oil will smooth down that nick in the spoon, fyi…and get them super clean as well.

    Would love to see a photo of that metal patisserie shop sign!

  • Great post! I was wondering if there was such an app. How did you get the salad tongs looking Like new?
    Bon chiné!

  • That top photo. Those orange juice carafes. And the white mugs. Positively lovely and as always, a wonderful lesson and glimpse into life in Paris. Maybe someday I’ll be walking those same streets for longer than a vacation allows. :)

  • Neptune. Rue Paul Vaillant Couturier in Montreuil, metro, Mairie de Montreuil. There are two sections, with two different entrances, one bric à brac, the other furniture, but also books.

    I, basically, furnished my house there, and also bought a bunch of Le Creuset cookware, vases, plates, crystal, silver, a stroller, jewelery, a taxidermied crocodile….

  • How is it possible that even the rummage sales in Paris are more beautiful than the ones here?

    If you try to buy used kitchenware here, or at least in my town, it’s filthy and broken and not well taken care of…I look at the photos in this post and find myself yearning for a perfectly broken-in wooden spoon and a cocktail glass with character. Sigh.

    As always, thank you so much for sharing! I love traveling to France via your posts.

  • Just wondering if that salad set (wooden fork and spoon) comes in a larger size…

  • I love the Marché Aligre – I found some great men’s shirts there last spring – 3 for 8 euros! Great tips for my next visit to Paris.

  • Good piece. I am a flea market addict myself and have written three books on the subject, two about France– most recently The Flea Markets of France (2009)– and The Vintage and Antiques Fairs of England (2013). And I too love the brocante fairs that take place in many of the Paris arrondissements throughout the year. I have made some wonderful finds, at really excellent prices, at these local events. In addition to Emmaus, there are a few good charity shops not mentioned in the piece, but I agree that Paris is not the best city for thrift shops. That said, I have found some of my favourite treasures in them, for just a few euros. It is all very addictive and fun, not to mention a very inexpensive and ecologically-smart way to outfit your apartment or house, or augment your wardrobe. And outside Paris, across France, there are many fabulous markets as well! Happy hunting!!! @sandylprice

  • I love antiquing and am in Paris next week, this is soooooo wonderful! Thank you Thank you! I love your books and have already pre-ordered the next on Amazon, I can’t wait!

  • great post, david! hope there’ll be something left for us after this, yes? :)

    @sandy – i’m a huge fan! your brocante book is such a treat! i found it very useful and have a few gems picked up thanks to you

  • Great post! Love the Provence-themed shelf :)

  • Thanks for a very comprehensive post, Mr L!
    Loved it – it made such a wonderful lunch-time read……. and less likely to highlight my culinary sloth than a food related post!
    Last year I caught a wonderful brocante in Saint-Paul – my only regret was a lack of luggage space.
    I’m back for a month in June – so thanks for that timely heads-up on the 1st weekend in the 3eme. (packing light this year!)

    • I’ve taken to traveling with a folding “suitcase” in my suitcase, in case I end up buying things when I’m traveling. It’s a soft suitcase with handles and I can toss clothes and shoes in there, and not worry about them getting mangled by baggage handling. Then I can put anything fragile/valuable, in the hard-side luggage and carry-on. The airlines have really jacked up fees for additional luggage, but sometimes it might be worth paying an extra $100 to bring home a whole bunch of stuff you really love.

  • i hope you grabbed that gorgeous pale yellow retro le crueset casserole in picture 6. i have one, and a larger size in powder blue and they are fab.

    • His items were pretty high-priced (I already have a couple of those Raymond Loewy Le Creuset casseroles) – but there were a few items that I saw that I wanted. Although he refused to budge on price and I have a ton of stuff already, so only get things if they’re a bargain :)

  • This is an amazing post. Thank you for your thoroughness and links and directions. I’ll save all this info for when I visit, hopefully in the summer of 2015. It’s a long time to wait, but I’ll find sustenance through your posts!

  • Merci for a comprehensive and entertaining post. However, I can’t believe you missed the mid-JUNE week-end long HUGE yearly EMMAUS Foire des Antiquites (not sure of the name) at Porte de Versailles.
    Thank you for capturing so well the French culture in your writings.

    • It’s called the Salon Emmaüs and I haven’t been (because I’m not fond of crowds.) I tried to include/squeeze in as much information as I could in this post, with links to addresses, and some photos. But they don’t seem to have a fixed link to the event, or a dedicated page, and date changes annually. So there was nothing I could link to, unfortunately. In fact, I couldn’t even find the dates for this year’s Salon anywhere online.

      (Folks can check the Emmaüs website or type “Salon Emmaus Porte de Versailles” and the year, into a search engine, and perhaps the dates will come up.)

  • Loved your posting; brought back memories of my visit to Clignoncourt 20 years ago when I bought a gorgeous pair of soft, faded red vintage drapes from an elderly fellow – I spoke little French and he, no English, but we managed to come to an agreement on price and for $18.00 American I have those vintage window hangings that I use for the holidays. Grand posting, David – confirms my dearest wish to return for a long visit now that I’m retired.

    I am looking forward to your visit to the 92nd Street Y presentation in May – already have bought my tickets. Waiting for your newest book to be published, too.

    Thanks again for a wonderful posting – a terrific resource for all of us thrift shop, garage sale lovers. Most of my home has been furnished with those buys – can’t beat the quality and one of a kind design of older furniture, housewares, linens.

  • I am amazed that so many knives were available at the flea market. Get a nice electric sharpener and you will be able to salvage several of them and be able to use them.

  • Hi again, David. I just checked my book to get the names and addresses of two Paris thrift shops where I have found some wonderful (and inexpensive) vintage kitchenware over the years–I am also a serious addict. The best and the largest is called Le Radeau Neptune, at 32, boulevard Paul Vaillant Couturier, and it is very closed to the Mairie de Montreuil metro. I found some beautiful Villeroy and Bosch plates there with different fruit patterns on them, which I love, as well as some great white porcelain soup bowls. The other shop, which is more high-end, is called Les Orphelins Apprentis d’Auteuil, at 40 rue la Fontaine, close to Jasmin metro. There, among other things, I bought a wonderful green-speckled covered ceramic jar from Vallauris. I went back to both shops a few months ago and found that they were as good as ever. This all makes me want to head back to Paris right away!!…..Best, Sandy Price

  • Nice article. When I was in Paris with a group we wanted to go to a flea market but the German guide told us one time there was a big incident with the Police. Maybe one of these years. I like looking around sometimes. Thanks for the chance to review “My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories”. It is a great cookbook.

  • Too bad the Ashby BART Station flea market in Berkeley is no long the delirious mishmash of all kinds of stuff that it was for its first decade or so. The Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale continues to be astounding though, and I will have to make do with these poor substitutes for the thrill of actually junking in FRANCE! Thank you, David, for telling us where the really good stuff is!

  • Great post. Very go info. Definitely be hitting some of these spots next time I’m in Paris! Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. I love all your posts. Learn something new all the time! Can’t wait to get the new book as well.

  • I set my sport coat down while looking at football jerseys at a street market stall and when I turned around someone was trying it on. It didn’t fit the guy which made getting it back in my possession easier.

    There is a tremendous satisfaction in finding a gem while digging through what is mostly trash. Buying retail is for chumps.

  • I’m SO very jealous right now!! I lived in Nice, France for one year and London, England for two and was not “into” flea markets at the time…now I wish I could turn back time and go visit EVERY one possible!!! I get some comfort in visiting Sardinia Italy now every summer and going to the markets there, although they are mainly food-based, of course!

  • Très exhaustif merci! I never got myself to buy anything at Les Puces even though I’ve liked to hang around there since I was a teen, it really is just eye candy. Not far from there twice a year, the vide-greniers in rue Caulaincourt and in rue des Martyrs, and in les Batignolles are all excellent. There I bought pans and cutlery and dresses and paintings andmany of my favorite things. But I can’t go to these anymore as I am facing the “Something in, something out” conundrum you mentioned so I go to Les Puces and dream.

  • Yes, very timely, indeed–I’m heading out to Vavnes this Saturday morning. I’ve always felt a little awkward asking for a better price, so I’m glad to know it’s a common practice. BTW, I finally got to Larnicol tonight for some kouignettes–thanks for the tip on reheating them. I think I’ll have to take a stab at your recipe when I get home.

  • Love love love this post! In addition to hunting for vintage finds, I also enjoy buying unwanted clothing to upcycle into new wares. I’ll be in Paris in a few weeks… it looked like the Emmaüs stores have some clothing, do you think they would be my best bet or might you recommend a certain other brocante? Thanks so much!

  • Now that i live in New York i miss these brocantes so much. Enjoy France ! I just discovered and i can’t stop turning the pages.

  • Thanks, David, for great input for this estate sale junkie’s return to Paris in September. In 2012, I visited the Flea at Vanves, took at taxi there early in the morning, but within an hour or so it turned into a cold, rainy and dreary time and I gave up the ghost early on as by then I had found a few neat things to bring home. Do you think the Flea Market at Clignancourt is worth at least one visit? I will be hampered somewhat since I’m flying (although I do mail a few things back), but I do like to be able to take home whatever tickles my fancy. I will be staying close to the Marche d’Aligre and have heard good things about that market. Would love to find some of those good neighborhood sales you mentioned.

  • Hi David
    When I went to the Marché Clignancourt, I didn’t make my way back far enough and left rather quickly. You are right about all the cheap booths at the front and I didn’t feel safe there. Wish I had your notes and would have kept walking! I would love to see you post a photo of your vintage metal bakery sign!! Thanks for all this information!

  • Gorgeous items! I think I would be taking everything home…I especially loved the Provence themed items – lovely!

  • David, there is a slight contradiction in your informative post. Early on, you say one needs a car to get to Emmaus Bourgival, and later you provide métro directions. I don’t drive, and have found one can get to most places in Le Grand Paris by public transport, though it can be an adventure.

    As for rue Cler, I remember a visit there decades ago, pre Rick Steeves. It was a normal Parisian neighbourhood back then.

    Thanks for your careful eye. I had updated the post as the Emmaïs website noted that there is, indeed, an RER that will take you near their place, and I didn’t go back and edit that part. (Although I haven’t taken it, so can’t say how easy it is to get there via the RER.) So I deleted my earlier remark. -david

  • Oooh — I’m headed to Paris this summer, and I have to say that a few finds from the brocante sound like better souvenirs than “I Love Paris” caps and snow globes…

  • Wow! Those salad fork and spoon you were holding at the end of your post are HUGE! They sure would make a great conversation piece. Enjoy your treasures.

  • Hello David, when discussing this future post with you (at La Cuisine) I forgot to ask you if you were going to mention the Braderie de Lille. As an avid chineur all over the states and Europe, I can definitely say that the Braderie de Lille is the absolute Mecca of flea markets. First wknd of September. I went last year for the first time and I was not psychologically prepared for the experience….incredible. Great post.

  • Love your post and just returned from 10 days in Paris. I bought the most wonderful copper sauce pan for 10 Euros! at the Marché Clignancourt, unlike the big copper skillet for 130 Euros at E Dehillerin (I drug it through the Lenten service at Notre Dame!) Also great little paintings for 5 euros!. Packing all that and getting them back to Denver CO. was an experience!
    Thanks for this post, you help to make my Paris trip so enjoyable!

  • Great post with lots of interesting information which I will most certainly take into account on my next trip to Paris. Looks like you will need a pretty large salad for that wooden set.!

  • Dave, thank you for all the info you provide in your posts. I saved this as well as a number of your other posts and spent today reviewing them. I leave for two weeks in your lovely city this week and can’t wait to visit so many new places that I have learned about via YOU. Merci.