I was also glad Deb gave me a reprieve on blog at the beginning of the week since it has given me the time to work a little each morning on this post. I have so many pictures of the Paris flea markets to share and you didn't need to see every one! So lets get on with it (and I will stop moping about the cost of the curtains and remember the beauty of France).
I went to two flea markets or Brocantes while I was in Paris. The first was the Port de Vanves that is open every weekend from 7am to 1pm.
The market is located in the 14th Arrondissement: avenue Marc Sangnier and avenue Georges Lafenestre. Metro Line 13, Porte de Vanves station
You can see in this map below the Metro stop (M with a circle around it) at the top left corner and the long Avenue Marc Sangnier just below. The Brocante starts right at the corner and follows Marc Sangnier. As you turn the corner to the right onto Georges Lafenestre, the wares become a bit more "eclectic" shall we say, but don't give up. As the vendors thin out, cross the street and walk back up towards Marc Sangnier. I found a couple good vendors on this side of the road that I purchased books and bolts vintage seam binding from. Glad we didn't turn back.
A few sets of these glass buttons came home with me and who knows where they will end up.
collection. I liked that it said, Le Souvenir on the spine. perfect.
The second Brocante we went to was the Grande Brocante. It was almost to the end of Metro 6 line (towards Nation) at the Daumesnil stop. I am not sure if this one is open every weekend since we only found it due to a flier that was left on a car windshield in our neighborhood then looked it up on line.
It opened at 7.
We got there at 8.
At 9, most were ready.
Lesson learned, 7 is just a suggestion.
Here everyone had a booth of sorts. More organized than Porte de Vanves.
You will see by the following pictures what an eclectic mix of items that were here. We walked around the loop a couple of times since the booths at the beginning were not even close to being open when we got there. The vendors were nice as well as the other shoppers. At least two or three times someone stepped forward to translate for us or tell us what a vendor said in English.
One memorable booth was this old guy that every time you asked the price it was 65 euros, didn't matter what it was...65 euros. After a while we were just asking to see what he would say. Sande did want a silver magnifying glass but she didn't want to pay 65 euros, so after caring it around for 5 minutes she gave it back to him which sent him into a tizzy of muttering under his breath, slamming things around and walking around his booth real fast. Before we got too far away he walked over and gave her a price of 30 euros and smiled.
She bought it.
Then there was the man with the big sheepdog. The dog would roll around on his back and the man would tell him, "stop acting like a cat". Sande played with the dog while I dug through a bucket of lace. I think she was missing her two little dogs at home.
Interesting old file boxes. Couldn't you just see these in an Anthropologie display.
I picked up these old menu cards for a couple bucks.
How many chandeliers do you think one can get into their suitcase?
Tips for the Brocante:
1. Bring cash, small bills if possible. Keep your money secure, even separating it into different purse pockets. I like to use my "high pocket" as one very Southern Lady taught me. What's a high pocket you ask? (your bra)
2. Always carry a small notebook and pen. If you don't speak French and the vendor does not speak English then the notebook can become the best tool in your purse. Numbers might sound different in anther language but write it on paper and everyone is on the same page.
3. Never pay the marked price. Most items at the brocante were not marked so you will have to ask (pull out your notebook if you can't understand the answer). If it's more than you want to pay, walk away. I had a guy lower the price of a book twice as I walked away.
4. If the sign says they open at 7, get there at 8:30 or 9. The start time is only a reference.
5. Bring at least one shopping bag. I like these from BB Begonia, they are not only cute but super lightweight and the straps are long enough to fit on your shoulder (and stay there). The best part is that they roll up very, very small to fit in a purse or jacket pocket. Perfect for travel.
6. Pack bubble wrap in your suitcase for your return trip. Dealers are not going to provide you with that and it's very helpful when you buy something breakable. I also always travel with a sturdy plastic bin in my suitcase. If I buy something breakable it usually has a better chance of making it home inside the bin rather than in the bubble wrap alone.
Something like this one from Sterilite that will not be crushed in a suitcase:
7. Dress in layers. You never know what the weather is going to be like at mid-day. If you know it's going to be cold an easy thing to pack are hand warmers. Buy them at a sporting goods store or Walmart for about a $1. Easy to pack, lightweight and wonderful in your coat pocket when it's cold outside.