Interested in shopping at flea markets in Paris and scooping up the bargain of a lifetime?
Perhaps a beautiful Limoges porcelain bowl for only a few Euros? Or a dust-covered Coco Chanel vintage perfume bottle that sets you back less than the cost of a baguette? Or maybe an old Moulin Rouge poster by Toulouse-Lautrec that you discover is an original, not a reproduction?
Want to Explore Paris's Biggest Flea Market?
Most popular guided tour to Les Puces, Paris's (& the world's) biggest flea market
- Les Puces Paris Flea Market Insider's Tour - Learn how to navigate around the enormous Les Puces Flea Market to find the types of items you want; small group tour
Another interesting tour in the Aligre market:
- Discover Paris Marché d'Aligre 2-Hour Market Tour - Explore the food markets next to the Aligre Flea Market
Although the famous Les Puces Paris Flea Market of Saint-Ouen contains plenty of drool-worthy treasures at all price ranges, savvy Parisian shoppers know most items at Les Puces are fairly priced by knowledgeable dealers.
When you want something specific or special - and don't have a lot of time to shop - Les Puces, as it is normally called, should be your #1 destination, as it is the world's biggest flea market. You may even find some bargains here, and it never hurts to negotiate, if you feel inclined.
But if you're addicted to the thrill of the hunt for something irresistible where you can score cheap deals, copy Parisian bargain hunters: visit the city's smaller flea markets (Montreuil, Vanves, Aligre), street markets, and even brocante sales of vintage and second-hand goods.
Paris offers many affordable opportunities where persistence, luck, and perhaps some amount of crawling around on your knees and poking through dusty boxes can reward you with brag-worthy finds.
This article contains a round-up of the 4 best flea markets in Paris, several top street markets and brocantes, a famous but easily accessible auction house, and even a historical antique "village."
We also include our 10 top well-tested tips about how to get the best deals.
This article runs a bit long, so here are links to the main content sections:
- Rue d'Aligre Flea Market
- Vanves Flea Market
- Montreuil Flea Market
- Les Puces Paris Flea Market
- Beyond Flea Markets - A Round-Up including an Antique & Vintage Book Market, Brocantes, A Paris Antique "Village," An Antique Fair, A Famous Auction House, & More!
- Tips for Getting the Best Deals
Top photo: Rue d'Aligre flea market, (c) Paris Discovery Guide
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1. Rue d'Aligre Flea Market
Rue d'Aligre Flea Market sprawls across one end of Place d'Aligre, vying for space with a huge open air street market selling mostly produce and the historic Marché d'Aligre covered market filled out gourmet cheeses, pates, meats, fish, and all kinds of specialty foods.
This is a true flea market, packed with a mish-mash of new and used clothing, shoes, household goods, old books, and household appliances, so you sometimes have to look hard to find the tables covered with brocantes and collectibles of various sorts. You never know what you'll discover from one day to the next.
Crowds can be overwhelming, especially on weekends, and you're competing with dealers looking for hidden treasures for their shops - so if you see something you like, grab it and don't put it down unless you know you absolutely do not want it.
Prices tend to be reasonable as items are usually priced to sell on the day they're displayed. See the trio of small blue and gold dishes near the bottom center of the photo? The whole set costs only 6 euros. Come early in the day for best selections, or late in the day if you want to negotiate for the lowest price.
Celebrate your purchases with lunch at any of many the small restaurants around the market area; couscous is always a great choice here - and then spend the afternoon exploring other parts of this large, sprawling market area and the many small specialty shops along this popular market street.
The Aligre Flea Market share space with two of Paris's other top markets: a large indoor covered market and an event larger outdoor market. If you want to explore them with an expert guide, join the Discover Paris Marché d'Alibre 2-Hour Market Tour.
Aligre Flea Market location: Place d'Aligre, Rue d'Aligre between Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine and Rue de Charenton, 12 arr
Open: Daily except for Mondays, 8am-1:30pm
2. Vanves Flea Market - Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves
Vanves Flea Market is the second largest Marché des Puces in Paris, after Les Puces at Saint-Ouen/Clignancourt. With almost 400 merchants and stalls stretching down the road further than you may expect at first, you'll find a lot on offer. And unlike Les Puces, lots of the items fall squarely into the affordable price range.
What will you find?
Look for silver, glassware, china, vintage jewelry, French cutlery, mirrors, vintage clothing (look for lacy lingerie) and newer designer fashions, vintage posters, coins and medals, stamps, African and Asian art, old postcards, antique books, vintage toys, old fashion magazines, picture frames, paintings, Art Deco vases, occasionally marionettes and mannequins, linens, copper pans . . . basically, everything you might imagine.
Vanves Tips: Lots of bargaining goes on here. Some items have prices on them, but many do not. If you don't speak French, don't worry - just say "Combien?" (co-bee-uh? - meaning, how much?), and the vendor will write the price on a piece of paper. Look at it and if you want to bargain, give a half-smile, half-frown and say politely but sadly, "Oh, trop cher!" (oh, tro share - tro should rhyme with crow - you've just said, Oh, too expensive!), and write your proposed price on the paper. Once you agree on a price, hand over your cash (almost no one here takes credit cards), and the prize is yours. Planning to check out the vintage fashions here? Know how French and European sizes translate to your size before you leave hom.
Vanves Flea Market location: Porte de Vanves, at the edge of the 14th arrondissement
Open: Saturday and Sunday, 7am-2pm, rain or shine
Metro: Porte de Vanves - follow the street signs (or the crowds) to the market about 2 blocks away
3. Montreuil Flea Market - Marché aux Puces de Montreuil
Montreuil Flea Market is the smallest of the three Paris Marché des Puces, and can be hit or miss if you're looking for something old, vintage, or possibly antique. But if you get excited about sifting through piles of dreck to maybe find something special for a cheap price (or if you need an inexpensive handbag for 10 Euros), this is the place to come.
If you're visiting Paris for only a short time, you'll probably have better success at either the huge Les Puces, the Vanves Flea Market, or even the Rue d'Aligre Market (see below).
But if you're in Paris for a longer period and have the time to spare, you should definitely try your luck here.
Things to look for: old silver, china, toys, vintage clothing (if you search very hard you can sometimes find French designers such as Givenchy and Chanel), picture frames, vintage leather jackets, car ornaments, household items, and occasionally copper pots.
Are they vintage or antique? Hard to say for sure, but if the price is cheap enough, you may not care.
Definitely negotiate here - the vendors expect it.
Montreuil Flea Market location: Avenue du Professeur André Lemierre, 20th arr (not far from Père Lachaise Cemetery)
Open: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, 7am-7:30pm
Stay nearby at the Nadaud Hotel, about a 15-minute walk from the market (find more hotels in Paris 20)
Metro: Porte de Montreuil; walk toward the Périphérique
4. Les Puces Paris Flea Market
With over 3,000 vendor boutiques, stalls, and showrooms along a maze of lanes and alleys plus cafes, bars, and sidewalk vendors, Les Puces is, not surprisingly, the world's largest flea market. If you're looking for unique, high-quality antiques as well as vintage items, this is where you should come too.
What can you find? Basically, everything from museum-quality 17th century furniture and 18th century crystal chandeliers and gilded mirrors to vintage Chanel shoes, from Hermès' Birkin bags and rare Patek Philippe gold pocket watches to Art Deco objects from the 1930s and American leather jackets from the 1960s.
And then there's the art, the statuary, vinyl records, pre-owned string instruments, vintage lamps, old fashion magazine covers, metal bird cages, quirky hat racks, designer hats, and everything else you can imagine.
Whether you're in search of bargains, treasures, or just a fascinating way to spend a weekend afternoon, consider making a visit to this fascinating Paris flea market.
Beyond Flea Markets - An Antique/Vintage Book Market, Brocantes, A Paris Antique "Village," An Antique Fair, A Famous Auction House, & More!
Parc Georges Brassens Weekly Book Market
As many as 100 sellers of used, old, and rare books gather under two semi-covered market pavilions in Parc Georges Brassens in the 15th arrondissement each Saturday and Sunday (9am-6pm) to offer everything from scholarly texts to comic books to vintage magazines, along with a smattering of prints, posters, and photographs.
You may even see boxes of old phonograph records. Prices range from downright cheap to what you might expect for rare antique books. While most are in French, you can usually find plenty in English and a smattering of other European and Asian languages.
While you're there, spend some time exploring this lovely and lesser-known park in this mostly residential part of Paris.
Look for the statue of a butcher carrying an animal carcass on his shoulder - a reminder that a slaughterhouse and horse auction facility once occupied this area - as well as beehives, a small vineyard, a puppet theater, numerous flowering gardens, a pond, and pony rides for children.
Where to Eat near the Parc Georges Brassens Weekly Book Market
Several small restaurants along Rue Brancion and Rue des Morillons offer tasty meal options, or head into Max Poilâne (87 Rue Brancion) bakery for sandwiches and pastries for a picnic in the park.
Georges Brassens Book Market location: Located in Parc Georges Brassens near Rue Brancion and Rue des Morillons intersection, 15 arr
Open: Saturdays and Sundays, 9am-6pm
Paris Brocantes - Pop-Ups
Walk around Paris, and at almost any time of the year except for January and February, you'll see signs announcing brocantes and vides greniers: pop-up sales of bric-brac and collectibles, old books, art, toys, cookware, furniture, used clothing, and almost everything else you can imagine.
Although some signs occasionally direct you to small second-hand shops, most will lead you to pop-up flea markets lasting from a few hours to several days and ranging from small and specialized to large and all-encompassing.
Think of brocantes and vides greniers as the Parisian version of yard sales, even though they typically take place along a street or paved plaza.
Although you really can't predict the schedules, spring and fall tend to be the best seasons for finding these ephemeral markets.
Some of the biggest take place outdoors, usually in areas with both a lot of foot traffic (such as near metro stations or regularly-scheduled open-air markets) and enough space to accommodate the vendors (wider streets rather than narrow lanes).
If you're a serious flea-market shopper and want to try your luck at finding bargains at the pop-up flea markets, know that you'll be competing head-on with pickers searching for low-priced treasures to resell at vintage shops or even bigger flea markets such as Les Puces at Saint-Ouen - so arrive early and if you spot something good, buy it quickly before someone else does.
Don't hesitate to bargain - but realistically, you'll typically get only a small (10-20%, maybe 25%) discount.
Halle des Blancs Manteaux (48 Rue Vieille du Temple, 4eme) and Carreau du Temple (4 Rue Eugène Spuller, 3rd arr) in the Marais neighborhood host pop-up brocantes relatively often, especially around holidays.
To find more pop-up brocantes, garage sales, and flea markets, check these two reliable sources:
- Vide-Greniers website - Choose Ile de France to see sales in Paris and nearby suburbs
- City of Paris website - List of sales by date and arrondissement
Brocantes and Garage Sale Tips: In general, vendors at brocante sales conducted indoor (inside Blancs Manteaux, for example) accept credit cards, but many of those held outdoor (including garage sales, which are usually hosted by groups of neighbors) may accept only cash.
Village Saint Paul - Antiques & More in the Marais
On occasion, the 80 or so galleries, antique shops, and artisans occupying the almost-hidden enclave Village Saint-Paul not far from the remains of a 12th century medieval wall host brocante sales along the sidewalks or in one of their tiny cobblestone courtyards.
If you're in the Marais neighborhood in the 4th arrondissement, look for "Brocantes" signs posted along Rue Saint-Paul and Rue de Rivoli giving times and dates for the pop-up brocantes.
Several Village Saint-Paul shops specialize in brocantes rather than pricier antiques, so stroll around and visit any place that catches your eye.
Where to find Village Saint-Paul: Rue Saint-Paul between Rue Charlemagne and Rue de l'Ave Maria (look for arched entrances leading inside the courtyards)
Open: Daily except for Tuesdays and August; 11am-7pm
Metro: Saint-Paul or Sully-Morland
Foire de Chatou - The Chatou Antiques Fair
Are you interested in discovering antiques and high-quality collectibles in a fairground-type setting that's quite a few steps up from a flea market?
Twice each year, in mid-March and late September, the oldest and largest antique fair in France takes place for 10 days at the Foire de Chatou. Although its location on a small island in the Seine River in the small village of Chatou is about 11 miles (18 km) from central Paris, you can easily get there on the RER A (or if you're feeling spendy, take an shared ride service such as Uber or a taxi).
The fair has been around since Medieval times, and probably even before, when it was held in central Paris and known as the Ham Fair because - maybe you guessed it - butchers converged from near and afar to sell hams and other special pork products.
Following the French Revolution, other dealers selling brocante, old clothing, and other discards at a Scrap Fair merged with the Ham Fair, where they soon outranked the charcuterie vendors in popularity. After outgrowing a number of different locations in Paris, the fair (now officially called the Foire Nationale aux Antiquités, a la Brocante et aux Jambons) moved to Chatou in 1970.
So what will you find at the Foire de Chatou? Basically, everything that might fall under the label of "antiques" and "collectibles" - fine art, furniture, decor, jewelry, tableware, chandeliers and other light fixtures, mirrors, and so much more.
All of the 300 dealers are vetted professionals who must guarantee a certain level of quality and authenticity. Appraisers are available onsite to certify items free of charge and give advice as needed. Shipping services are also available.
Dates: See our March and September events articles
Location: Ile des Impressionnistes (Isle of the Impressionists), Chatou, France
Directions: Take the RER A toward Saint-Germain-en-Laye from Paris. Get off at the Rueil-Malmaison station and take the free shuttle to the fair (you can also walk - it's about half a mile), or go one stop farther and get off at the Chatou Croissy station (try to exit at the end of the train) and walk across the footbridge over the Seine River to the fair. (The second option, Chatou Croissy, is usually faster overall.)
More information: Foire de Chatou website
Hôtel Drouot - Buy Your Treasures at Auction
Hotel Drouot is not a hotel at all, but instead is the largest auction house in Paris. For over four centuries, Drouot has sold everything from almost-priceless antiques and art to more affordable household furnishings and items to the highest bidders. Hôtel Drouot holds around 1,200 auctions each year at its two locations.
Best of all, attending an auction and even bidding here is surprisingly easy. The finest paintings by renowned artists and antique furniture and decorative items of course sell for a zillion euros, but other items are surprisingly affordable. We once saw a rather lovely medium-sized bowl by made by the French art glass company Lalique sell for well under €200.
At its historic site in the 9th arrondissement (9 Rue Drouot, 9th arr; Metro: Richelieu-Drouot), Hôtel Drouot sells primarily art and welcomes the public to view items from 11am-6pm on the day before the auction and between 11am and noon on the day of the auction.
Hôtel Drouot offers mainly furniture and everyday items at its Montmartre location in the 18th arr (21 Rue d'Oran; Metro: Château Rouge or Marcadet-Poissonniers), with public viewings from 8:30am-9am on the day of the auction.
Interested? You can find out more about how to bid (and deadlines for picking up your treasures) on the Hôtel Drouot website. Fortunately for non-local buyers, Drouot offers an excellent shipping service, where you can drop by and make delivery arrangements while you're there.
And if you go to the Rue Drout location in the 9th, allow some time (or perhaps, a lot of time) for browsing through all the nearby antique shops, vintage stores, and art galleries.
10 Tips for Finding Treasures & Negotiating Great Deals at Flea Markets in Paris
1. Unlike the much bigger and grander Les Puces Paris Flea Market at Saint-Ouen, these smaller Paris flea markets, street markets, and brocantes have a much lower treasures-to-junk ratio, so to find something you love enough to take home with you, arrive early. To get the best prices, shop an hour or two before the market closes on the last day it's open for the week.
2. As soon as you see an item you might covet, put your hand on it and don't let it go until after you've made a decision, agreed on a price with the vendor, and handed over your money. Otherwise, someone else may grab it out from under you.
3. Don't wear your best clothes - or anything else that screams "Tourist"!
4. Be willing to sort through boxes and get dusty and dirty, if necessary. Remember, the best items may be at the bottom of the pile.
5. Especially at these smaller markets, prices are negotiable. On the other hand, most prices are usually reasonable, so there's no shame in paying the marked price; do whatever fits your comfort level.
6. If you do decide to negotiate, do so in a low voice so that only the vendor can hear you. The vendor knows that if others hear you negotiating, they may negotiate for a discount too even if they'd planned to pay full price. You also don't want someone else who wants the same item to overhear your negotiations and start a bidding war.
7. If you're sure you only want the item at a reduced price, be prepared to walk away. On the other hand, if you think you've just discovered that Limoges porcelain bowl at a bargain price and don't want to lose it, this is NOT the time to test your negotiating skills.
8. Your chances of negotiating a good deal increase if you're buying more than one item.
9. Although vendors at indoor markets almost always accept credit cards and some outdoor vendors will as well, some will not. At any venue that gets super-crowded, as these smaller flea markets do by mid-afternoon, there is the possibility of pickpockets, especially dress in a way to look like a rich tourist. (See Tip 3.) Bring one credit card plus Euros in a variety of denominations, including plenty of 1€ and 2€ coins so that the vendor doesn't have to spend time giving you change. Leave your passport at home.
10. Be polite throughout your negotiations and/or transactions. Even if you can't speak any French, at least master Bonjour, Monsieur (or Madame) and Merci. S'il vous plais (ie, please) also will win you points.
Paris Shopping Tours & Excursions
These tours introduce you to more places to shop in Paris - and will give you great ideas about even more places to explore on your own:
More Paris Shopping Articles
- Guide to the Famous Marché des Puces - the Paris flea market at Saint-Ouen
- Paris Sales - 10 tips for scoring the best deals at the January and June sales
- Paris Christmas Markets - Where to find the biggest and best
- Best Areas in Paris for Shopping - From luxury designer showrooms to independent boutiques