Big or small, weekend or weekday, novice or serious antique dealer, you'll find treasures at the Parisian flea markets. The worlds largest antique market Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, commonly known as Les Puces (The Fleas), has fifteen markets offering everything from vintage and trendy clothing, to childrens toys, artistic works, and antiques. Stay on the Rue des Rosiers to stroll through the markets; perhaps an Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec print is waiting for you.
Metro line 4 will lead you to the seven acre Les Puces. Get off at Porte de Clignancourt and walk towards the large overpass. The Porte de Vanves metro stop will take you to the weekend flea market with extensive variety and more than 300 vendors. The Vanves flea market has highly collectible items such as art deco, militaria, vintage clothing, and out of print books. Prices and vendor setups range widely, so be prepared to spend a few hours shopping. Just remember: Vanves is open weekends, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Porte de Vanves is a metro hub for the 14th arrondissement region of Paris in lle-de-France. Once you have finished your shopping, enjoy the fresh and exotic Asian specialties at the Mandarin de Vanves, the colorful atmosphere and global food experience of Diet Ethnique, or the traditional French Bistro the Morgane, all within walking distance of the metro stop.
Jump off Metro line 9 at Porte de Monteuil, walk East toward the expressway and, from Saturday to Monday, a path of tents will welcome you to the Montreuil. Les Puces de Montreuil is a little younger than Saint-Ouen, but this 19th Century establishment is a haven for treasures and bargains. A bit off the traditional tourist track, Montreuil boasts beautiful furniture, lamps and light fittings from the 1940s and 50s, antique glassware, jewelry and designer seconds. You must be ready to haggle, and take the time to walk to the peripherique (the square) where the best dealers are.
Montreuil has an international community residing alongside the artisans and designers in the area. Grocery stores line the Rue de Paris, so a short walk can yield wonderful specialty seasonings and foodstuffs. Take a quick right turn onto Rue Robespierre and youll find the LAmourette on Place de la Republique. Homemade French classic foods in a beautiful relaxed atmosphere will tantalize your palette. Dont forget to try the fabulous rum baba before you leave.
Ready to ship your larger treasures home? Well the Clignancourt or Les Puces is set up to handle your needs on the spot. There is a shipping area on the premises. Ask your vendors first, but these professionals often ship to other countries. They may not be able to ship it for you, but they may have connections or information that can save you time and hassle. If you plan to shop for larger items, such as furniture, contact several shipping companies first. Most will provide you with tags for your items, collect them, handle the customs paperwork, pack and ship them for you without any hassle. While some may say its best to stay away from purchases that dont fit in your suitcase, exquisite decorating items, artwork or small electronics may simply call to you. There are also the use of airline cargo holds or shipping via boat as options. Consider the fragility and value of your items. Perhaps the more familiar (but much more expensive) DHL, FedEx or UPS are viable options.
There are smaller flea markets to explore in Paris and they should not be ignored if you have time. Consider the Marche aux Puces, Ile de Chatou, a wonderful open air county fair that runs in March and September. Youll find excellent prices and lots of selections from all over Europe such as Moroccan tiles and Spanish fabrics. Perhaps the neighborhood market of Place dAligre near the Viaduc des Arts could become your Sunday morning mining trip for cooking utensils, rugs, and accessories.
Before or just after a relaxing barge cruise in France, you can search the mines of the street for anything from authentic antiquities to contemporary jewelry replicas or the latest trends in fashion. It is a great way to find treasures you can bring home without spending a fortune.
This blog post was shared with you by the Barge Connection, specializing in barge vacations since 1998.