Saturday, September 19th, 2015
Le Marché aux Puces de Vanves is an amazing brocante market that has been a regular event in Paris since the 1920s. And it’s an absolute must if you’re ever in Paris! The market is held in the 14th arrondissement, which was a little out of the way for me, but I was fortunate enough to be able to meet up with Debbie, who works for The Antiques Diva in Paris, and we toured the market together.
However, if you’re getting there by public transport – take the metro line 13 to Porte de Vanves. The market starts at Ave Marc Sangnier & Ave Georges Lafenstre. Don’t be afraid of using public transport, or walking from the metro to the market. It’s a short distance – 600m – and although it’s not the best area of Paris, just like in any city, keep your wits about you and you’ll be fine.
Puces de Vanves is open from 7am – 2pm on Saturday and Sundays. I recommend arriving just after sunrise. If you do have to wander around waiting for vendors to set up, that’s the perfect time to see what they’ll be offering that day.
I really can’t stress enough: wake early to ensure you arrive in time for the best brocante – and experience the sun rising over a part of Paris too! It’s worth the early start. After all, it’s not everyday you get to go to a market like this. (And if you get there early and find you’re hungry later, the market has a truck selling coffee, crepes and croissants.)
Puces de Vanves is a mix between good brocante and a flea market, so overall prices are still quite reasonable and there are bargains to be found.
I absolutely loved this market, much more so than Paris’ biggest and more famous market, St-Ouen. Your Euros go much further here than at St-Ouen, which I thought was very overpriced. I bought a lot of vintage at Puces de Vanves – everything from linen, oil paintings, kitchenware, preserving jars, champagne buckets, vintage tins and antique French books.
There’s also a lot of quirky and unique items here too. For example, there was a lady selling antique cast iron shooting targets with a wonderful aged patina over the metal. They were shaped as birds, rabbits, and deer. I bought a few but in hindsight, should have bought the lot!
Debbie from The Antiques Diva made the experience for me so much easier and time-efficient. Firstly due to her shared love of French vintage, she knew what I was on the look out for – so I had two pairs of eyes hunting instead of one!
Secondly, the language barrier. Whilst I did get by with my very limited French (and proficient use of iPhone calculator), the art of haggling is made much easier by speaking fluent French. There were times when I looked helplessly at Debbie, and she and the vendor would animately discuss prices!
Debbie checking out champagne buckets
Wonderful assortment of kitchenware and enamelware
Vintage French wines.. buy the wooden crates too
Quirky: these were pricey at 60 Euro a piece, but show you can find anything!
Fantastic vintage transportation sign that was originally on a bus. Loved this piece
Just a few Euros for a little piece of France’s past to take home!
Please put Puces de Vanves on your to-do list when in Paris. It has a wonderful lively atmosphere, and you’ll certainly find some treasures for home, to remind you of your Paris trip.
My Le Marché aux Puces de Vanves Tips:
* Arrive early – with the sun
* Take cash with you in various denominations
* Enjoy a (cheap but good) crepe and coffee at the market
* Stop to listen to the piano player while eating your crepe.. and soak up the market’s atmosphere!
* If you love something and it’s within your budget – buy it – mostly likely it won’t be there later!
* Haggle on every price. It’s expected.
* Use some French – polite greetings, and ‘Parlez vous Anglais?’ with a smile goes a long way. Most vendors speak some English. Use your fingers to show numbers, and your phone calculator!
* Book a half day or day tour of Paris markets with The Antiques Diva – ask for Debbie. If you’re a serious brocante shopper, it’s worth every cent having someone experienced by your side.