Paris flea market

Old Jan 25th, 2000, 06:17 PM
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Paris flea market

A friend and I are taking a quick jaunt to Paris in April. Has anyone had experiences at the Paris flea market? Any hints or tips would be appreciated.
Old Jan 25th, 2000, 06:58 PM
Liz Renson
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Which flea market? I went last March and I believe there were two major markets. We went to St. Ouen in the north. It was easily accessible by Metro. Get directions from someone in the know on where to head after emerging from the Metro station. Mark your landmarks for finding the Metro station after a long grueling day of bargain hunting.

First, go on a full stomach. It is absolutely huge and overwhelming. It is very easy to wander aimlessly and get lost. There are maps available, I believe I found mine in the food court. You'll need it.

Second, beware of pickpockets. Seriously. The night before we went (two twenty-three year old girls), we were speaking to a Parisian guy who, upon hearing we were going, shot us a warning look and said Be Careful of Thieves and Pickpockets. What we did was put our pocketbooks under our coats and button the coats. Hey - when I was bargaining for some china, the flea market guy said he would give me a bargain "pour l'enfant". I thought: "he can't be saying "for the baby", can he?" But he was! He thought I was pregnant because my bag was so huge! Total embarrassment. But honestly, I'd rather be embarrassed than robbed...

Third, there were a lot of shady looking characters wandering around. Walk confidently and perhaps learn how to say "I am a professional kickboxer" in French. All kidding aside, we were accosted by two middle-aged characters who looked like outcasts from Revenge of the Nerds, leering copiously. Stay on the beaten track. There are a lot of corners and winding paths.

Fourth, carry an umbrella if it is at all rainy.

Fifth, there's a great Italian style restaurant in the food section that had SPECTACULAR pizza.

And above all - happy shopping! I hope you have a wonderful time in Paris and find tons of terrific bargains!

Feel free to contact me directly with further questions. Bon voyage!

Old Jan 26th, 2000, 06:20 AM
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Hi Jane,

There's a fabulous series of articles on Paris flea markets on It will answer all your questions and then some. Have fun!
Old Jan 26th, 2000, 06:31 AM
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Among our list of time-wasters, you will find the Paris flea markets. Heaps of junk, shady characters, jacked-up prices to Americans. If your time in Paris is limited, invest it somewhere else. If you are into antiques, prowl the many antique shops within the city. But if you simply want to get ripped off or want to experience the local color, sure, waste your time -- we did.
Old Jan 26th, 2000, 08:06 AM
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The flea markets are not what they used to be; no Vermeers under a paint-by-numbers or Sevres for 5ff. The Clignancourt/St Ouen version is mostly very high priced antiques (Louis XVI bombe chest for a mere $35,000) and very high priced customers.
I like the Vanves flea market - lots of good junk. I have found a Tante Marie for about $12, a French decorating book from the '50s for about $5, a vase for 10ff and several kitchen utensils (for decorative/novelty interest only, but they do work) for under $10.
I don't worry about pickpockets because I staple my money to my chest (actually, I wear a money pouch there, but the stapling thing is such an image); I know the value of things so I know where to start the bargaining (sometimes I don't bargain; if the item is fairly priced, I don't have the need to dicker to get a bargain); I examine the item carefully (if it's a mechanical item, I want it to work); before you buy, figure out if you can get the thing home in your luggage, or have a shipping/mailing solution lined up.
Old Mar 9th, 2001, 08:50 AM
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Top for Giovanna. (Giovanna, there were a couple more threads that gave more good info, but they didn't come up when I searched for Paris Flea Markets.)
Old Mar 11th, 2001, 03:01 AM
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We went to Vanves flea market in February: get there early, have cash in safe place, good selection and easy to bargain.
We bought some things: knives, fishing items, old flatware. Mostly for looking and meeting people and it snowed!!

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