What to Expect at the Famous Paris Flea Markets

September 24, 2019

What to Expect at the Famous Paris Flea Markets

Puces de Vanves Flea Market
If you love foraging for old stuff, then you will love a Paris Flea Market, and the French are well known for their Flea Markets known as Le Puces. The term Puces translates to the word Flea which was the name given to the markets as people were selling old flea infested clothing in the 1800’s when the markets were first created. Of course it is so different now, and the French Flea Markets are well known for finding unique, artisanal antiques and vintage wares that are pre-loved.
My favourite Flea Market in Paris is Puces Porte de Vanves in the 14th arrondissement. Easy to get to by train and then an easy 5 mins walk from the train station.  

How to shop at a Flea Market:

  • Get there early. The Puces Porte de Vanves starts at 7am and finishes at 2pm but some stall holders start to pack up around 12:30pm as they often go to another market in the afternoon. So get there early for the best choice of items.
  • Make eye contact with the stall owner. Always greet the stall holder with a smile and bonjour, you want to get on their good side.
  • It helps if you know French, but if you don't, that’s okay too as they get hundreds of thousands of international visitors per year. Grab a pen and notebook and write your price down if you are not confident bargaining in French.
  • You have a better chance of a good price if you group some items together instead of just buying one item.
  • Take a trolley bag or large bag with you as you will need it for storing your purchases
  • Keep your handbag closed at all times. There are many savvy pick-pockets, so be aware of your wallet and cash. Be discreet when paying, you don't want others to know how much cash you are carrying.
  • At the Vanves, they don't accept credit cards, only cash. There is an ATM near the station if you need more cash.
  • As there is so much to see, I usually focus on one side at a time, then turn around at the end and shop down the other side. 
  • The markets are outdoors, so pack an umbrella if the weather looks like rain, as there is no cover.  

Famous Paris Flea Markets

If you want to know about the largest and most famous Flea Market in Paris, Puces de Clignacourt or Puces de St Ouen, then read the article from ParisPerfect Rentasl. The Puces St Ouen is a mecca for antiques and many antique dealers shop there. The prices of course reflect that, so take your credit card (as you will need it).
There are many smaller markets all grouped together in one area, so allow yourself some time to meander through all the little streets filled with vendors. Lots of unique finds there too - just be aware that the prices are usually higher than Vanves, as it is a huge tourist attraction, but worth the visit.
Good luck and enjoy.

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