How To Shop For Vintage & Antiques at French Flea Markets
Marché aux Puces and Brocantes
In France, flea markets are known as marché aux puces or simply, les puce, (the fleas). But googling “brocante” will take you off the beaten path to traveling flea markets that are only held a few weekends a year. They can be held anywhere from 1 day to a full 2 weeks. Bigger traveling flea markets in France will have billboards all over town advertising them – so when you see a sign stuck to a lamp post or a giant poster in the metro with the word brocante highlighted, get ready to shop! Brocantes attract vendors from all over France, selling everything from high-end antiques to vintage pieces and simply second-hand junk. Prices here are usually better and take you into neighborhoods you might never have reason to visit on your own. A great website for finding brocantes is www.brocabrac.fr. While the Paris Flea Market is a personal favorite and must-do (and The Antiques Diva & Co are the only official tour guides of Paul Bert Serpette at the Paris Flea Market), visiting other French flea markets in Paris and across France is ideal to shop for antiques and vintage pieces. Here are my top 3 brocantes in Paris – and my all-time favorite French flea market starts next week!!
tip: Check out our Antiques and Design Markets and Fairs 2017 Calendar for flea markets in France and across Europe!
While there is nothing more fabulous than getting lost in France and discovering some place (or something) magical, shoppers in the know research where to go before traveling overseas. We suggest you book an Antiques Diva tour so you can shop on the arm of a local who knows the area like the back of their hands – plus more importantly – has relationships with the vendors which allows you to get the best prices possible when negotiating. But if you decide to give it a go on your own, be prepared and do your research. Google the cities where you’re planning to antique, using keywords for the antiques and vintage pieces you want to buy.
On brocabrac.fr you will also find vide-greniers – essentially attic sales – set up in the center of town with anywhere from 50 to of 1000s of people participating. These aren’t professional vendors, but instead they private people wanting to sell their goods – think of it as a town-wide garage sale where anything and everything is for sale. While you’ll have to dig through second-hand clothes and used toys you can also find gorgeous antiques going for a song!
Salon des Antiquaires
If you’re looking for high-end antiques you want to go to a salon des antiquaires – a step up from a flea market or brocante – which can have second-hand and decorative objects. This will be more high brow and have higher quality pieces – but don’t let that phrase scare you – there are still bargains to be had. Remember French antiques are often 3 to 5 times less expensive in France than they are in America or Australia. Something selling for 2,000 Euro in the North of France might go for $6-10K in the USA. You have to spend money to save $$$!
Key French Shopping Phrases
Now that you know where to go whether it’s a puce, brocante, vide-grenier or salon des antiquaires you should know a few key phrases in French to get the ball rolling! Even if you don’t speak French, learning some basic vocabulary is worth it’s weight in golden Louis 15th antiques.
- Always start the conversation with a simple, Bonjour Madame or to catch the vendors attention try S’il vous plaît (SVP) Monsieur.
- Point then to the item you are interested in and ask how much it costs: C’est combien, SVP? or try Vous voulez combien?
- Ask how old it is? Quel âge a cette chaise? Ça date de quand? What wood it is? C’est quel type de bois? And where it comes from: Quelle est sa provenance?
- Don’t be shy – negotiation is expected. Ask for a good deal. Vous pouvez faire un meilleur prix? Will you make a better price? or C’est votre meilleur prix? or Vous pour faire mieux? Is that your best price? It’s best to ask the Vendor to tell you their best price BEFORE you offer a number – because sometimes they offer you more of a discount than you would have expected. If the piece is 100E and you ask for a best price, the vendor might come back and say 80E. You can then continue the negotiation – Will you take $70? Prenez Vous 70E? If said this way, the vendor might compromise on 75E. 25% is a reasonable amount to expect for a discount.
Be willing to walk away in order to get a discount. Leaving then returning to the piece helps with negotiation… but beware… you might just return and find your item SOLD to someone else!
- Verify they are giving you the export price – C’est le prix pour exportation? Is it too expensive? C’est trop cher! (said while batting your eyes!) A good deal? C’est bon marché – C’est un bon prix – C’est raisonnable. I’ll take it! Je le prends!
- And don’t forget to say Merci! Au Revoir!
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva
AD&CO Art Tours
The Antiques Diva™ & Co is proud to announce we are now offering art tours in select cities in Europe and Asia, launching with our Paris Art Gallery Tours. AD&CO CEO Toma Clark Haines explains:
Our philosophy at The Antiques Diva is ‘the design is in the mix.” In my own home, I display my global design viewpoint #MixAntiquesAndModern by integrating modern art with my Asian and European antiques, while in other rooms my antique art collection juxtaposes beautifully with my very modern furnishings and loft-style interior. Many of the interior designers and dealers we work with have long been requesting that we coordinate art gallery tours, both to add to their inventory and for design inspiration. I have waited until now to launch our very 1st curated art gallery tour in a city renown for its art, Paris!
Exclusive Galleries and Private Rooms
Our expert Guide meets you at your hotel and takes you to “behind-closed-doors” galleries. While some art galleries are open to the public or offer appointment-only access, our Guide has relationships that can gain you entry to exclusive galleries and in many cases, even to back rooms where works aren’t on display to the public. This tour specializes in modern and contemporary art galleries, mostly grouped in the Marais district and Belleville.
While each tour is customized for the client and based on what exhibitions are on at the time – often a mix of lesser known and established artists – there’s always the chance that the galleries can arrange private viewings of particular artists that they represent but don’t necessarily have on view. For the seasoned art buyer, our guide could arrange to take you to the suburbs where some galleries have larger spaces in which they show monumental works. To complement this tour, we can also finish the day with a museum tour.
Our Paris Art Gallery Tours are highly customizable based on the client’s interests but expect to see some of the biggest, museum-grade names in modern/contemporary art such as Rauschenberg, Kiefer, Cragg, Gormley, Cattelan, Murakami and JR as well as Picasso, Buffet, and more!
If you purchase artworks, The Antiques Diva offers our own in-house fine art and antiques shipping services, AD&CO Logistics.
Half Day or Full Day Tour, Available Saturdays
Our Paris Art Gallery Tours are available on Saturdays, for a full or half day, by appointment only. Custom curated art gallery tours will be launching soon in Venice, Bangkok and London.
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva
In September, The Antiques Diva & Co held our first giveaway, Tell Me About Your First Time at The Paris Flea Market. Our 1st Place Winner is Daphne Dunn, who won an Aidan Gray Paris Flea Market Candlestick.
I read Daphne’s story as quickly as I could to reach the climax: a Louis Seize salon chair! I also have a chair fetish, I love that it came home to London with Daphne on the Eurostar. One of my first Paris flea market purchases was a tea cart – with one sadly injured wheel – that I brought home on the metró, then had to carry up 6 flights of stairs to our apartment. AND IT WAS WORTH IT!
Meet Daphne Dunn, 1st Place Winner
KISMET: My 1ST TIME AT THE PARIS FLEA MARKET
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! My first time will forever be etched in my romantic dreams. I couldn’t sleep the night before as the anticipation was so intense. I wondered if it was going to be as good as I hoped, as good as I expected and as good as I wanted it to be. My expectations were high and the promises I had heard made me think it would be memorable. But I was not prepared for the overwhelming excitement and heady endless choices that awaited me, feeling the thrill down to the bottom of my toes. Les Puces de Clignancourt was everything I had hoped for and more, much much more. So with the clock ticking as my train back to reality was looming ever closer, I made the most of my affair with Les Puces…flirting and carousing, teasing and almost submitting, but then…… in the pale October sun right there in front of me – KISMET. I spotted the delight of my eye, the one I had been looking for all my life. My negotiation skills were undeniable that day, the day I met my destiny with Louis, charming, romantic Louis. I couldn’t leave him even if I thought perhaps he wouldn’t fit into my life back home. I stubbornly refused to take no for an answer. So I cajoled him into accompanying me on the Eurostar back to London. He even had his own seat on the train and attracted much attention. He still thrills me to this day and on his seat I feel forever young. A perfect gilded Louis Seize salon chair who gives me endless pleasure. We have just celebrated our 20th anniversary and the feelings are as high and mutual as on our first meeting that fateful autumn day at Clignancourt.
Kismet is the perfect word to describe what happens when our eye spots the perfect antique that our soul has been searching for. In fact, I call our role antiques matchmakers: We bring together antiques and the people who want to buy them!
Thank you, Daphne, for sharing your first time at the Paris Flea Market… I know more visits to les Puces are in your future!
Congratulations to our winning entries! And thank you so much to everyone who entered our giveaway!
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva
French Christmas Traditions
I love Christmas! It is the most wonderful time of the year! A magical time of twinkling lights and tinsel trees, lords a-leaping and ladies dancing. A time to splurge on fine wines and feasts with friends and family. It’s also a time of year steeped in traditions that have been passed down through the generations – holiday traditions that bring back childhood memories of popcorn strands, paper chains, colored lights and a shiny tin foil star atop the tree; of eight tiny reindeer and a song about dancing merrily.
My holiday traditions encompass much more now, however. Just as Santa takes on many shapes, many sizes, Christmas traditions do also, varying from family to family and country to country. You won’t find an “elf on the shelf” wreaking havoc on our household and our stockings are still hung by the fire, but with our own jolly French elf… uh, I mean cook… in the family, we do indulge in a little more food and fun. From foie gras and the Bûche de Noël to French santons and the nativity scene, this Southern family has added some à la française to our pa-rum pum-pum-pum.
In France, Advent is usually ushered in with the opening of the Christmas markets. French towns and villages light up, vin chaud flows freely and the merriment begins. Christmas in France is a grand and joyful time, with celebrations focused on the birth of Jesus, family, friends, and food, of course.
French culinary customs have a tendency to be over the top, and Christmas is no exception. There’s nothing like celebrating with friends and family around the dinner table after the Christmas Eve service until the wee hours of the morning. With only five days until Christmas, I’m sharing five Gallic traditions that will have you and yours dreaming of a French Christmas. Try a few…
Postcards from Père Noël
Each year in late November, children around the world begin sending their Christmas wish lists to Père Noël by way of a postal office in the small French village of Libourne. About 60 volunteer La Poste “elves” sort through and reply to every letter – over 1 million from 140 different countries. Santa’s first official response was in 1962 when Le Sécretariat du Père Noël was started by the Ministère des Postes et des Télégraphes. For more than 50 years, letters addressed to “Père Noël, France” have been answered. Postal officials say this French station probably gets more letters than any other country because it’s the oldest of its kind. The operation costs an estimated $1.4 million each year.
Shoes by the Fire
French children don’t hang stockings by the fire on Christmas Eve. Instead, they leave their shoes or slippers by the fireplace, filled with hay and carrots for Père Noël’s donkey to eat. Père Noël takes the hay and carrots and refills the shoes with small presents, candies, fruits and nuts for children to find Christmas morning.
Three Kings Day
The people of France gather together on January 6th each year to celebrate the day the Three Wise Men or Magi visited baby Jesus in Bethlehem. They mark the end of the holiday season much like they do all celebrations – they chow down on food that’s fit for a king. A traditional galette des rois (Three Kings cake) is offered as a gift during the feast of the Epiphany, also known as La Fête des Rois or Three Kings Day. Inside the cake is a small object or bean, known as a féve. The person who discovers the hidden féve is declared King for a day and wears a gold paper crown.
Le Réveillon de Noël
Le Réveillon de Noël is the traditional late night feast held to réveiller or wake up again once families return from la Messe de Minuit (Midnight Mass) on Christmas Eve. While the menu varies from region to region, delicacies including oysters, lobster, foie gras, escargot and a turkey or goose stuffed with chestnuts are common. Dessert always includes la Bûche de Noël.
55 French Santons
La crèche de Noël (the nativity scene) is very popular in France. It’s usually displayed from the first Sunday of Advent until February 2nd, the date of the presentation of Jesus at the Temple, known as la Chandeleur (Crêpe Day). During the French Revolution, public nativity scenes were prohibited so small figurines called santons (little saints) were created in Provence for display in the home. The Provençal crèche includes the Holy Family, shepherds, animals, angels and Three Wise Men, as well as bouchers (butchers) boulangers (bakers) and various other village people – for a total of 55 characters – all waiting to welcome Baby Jesus, who isn’t added until midnight on Christmas Eve.
The countdown is on! As you finish decking the halls, wrapping the gifts and making the menu, there’s still time to add some French cheer to your home this year. You can read about more French Christmas traditions on our home page. Be sure to let us know if your holiday plans include any Francophile festivities. But wherever you are and however you’re celebrating….
Just east of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Saint-Emilion in France lies a beautiful home called Villa Le Priotlet. The family home, which has been lovingly restored and furnished, is owned by my friend, Doni Belau. Doni is the author of Girls’ Guide to Paris and is a fellow antique lover. One thing she’s done at the villa that I absolutely love is incorporate Asian antiques she purchased in Bali. Since we recently launched our Antiques Diva Asian Tours (including Bali), I thought it would be fun to show how Doni has used pieces she sourced in Asia to decorate her French villa!
This centuries old authentic stone villa is set dramatically on the banks of the Dordogne River in a region which has produced some of the world’s best wine since Roman times. The villa, which is available for rent, consists of 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, ideally set up for three couples or a small family. The perfect setting to relax and enjoy the peaceful views, the cosy villa has been thoughtfully decorated with a mix of modern pieces and antiques from Europe and Asia. It’s this mix of styles and time periods that I think is so smart and reflective of the way people live now.
Aside from statues and accessories, one piece that I particularly adore is a bed Doni purchased from Bali. Having just returned to Europe from Bali, I can tell you that Bali is the one place in the world that competes with the Paris Flea Market when it comes to offering the creme de la creme of antiquing! There is such a great diversity of inventory that you could buy containers of antiques and have them shipped home. I think Doni’s Indonesian bed is the perfect example of how to use statement pieces from exotic parts of the world in a more classic country setting. Can’t you just imagine sipping a glass of wine while lounging on that regal bed? And while Doni is at home in France… picture this by a pool in Florida or in lieu of a cabana in California.
If you would like more information on planning a custom one-on-one buying tour with The Antiques Diva in Asia, email us at email@example.com. We’d love to help make your antiquing dreams a reality!
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®
Our Grand Prize Winner
In September The Antiques Diva & Co held our very first giveaway, Tell Me About Your First Time at The Paris Flea Market. Our Grand Prize Winner My 1st Time at the Paris Flea Market is Bev Martinets, who won a VIP Antiques Diva Day Tour at the Paris Flea Market with one of our Paris Diva Guides including LUNCH at our favorite restaurant in Paul Bert Serpette and a Champagne Toast to finish the tour! Plus, Bev will receive an Antiques Diva tote bag to carry her purchases!
Bev’s story made me smile and made me sad! Here’s Bev’s story:
Meet Bev Martinets
Grand Prize Winner My 1st Time at the Paris Flea Market
Well, I suppose I’m can’t officially enter the contest because I haven’t actually made it to the Paris flea market(s), but I TRIED REALLY HARD!!! I worked for an airline a few years ago, I had a layover in Landstuhl, Germany. It was a risky feat to attempt a trip to Paris and back in the time we actually had, but what the heck, how often is a girl a few hours from Paris. My fellow FA and I happened upon a most charming consignment shop in the town owned by an even more charming lady by the name of Angelica and we told her of our deep desire to get to Paris. She was so kind and helpful, she closed her shop and took us to the train station and explained the “ticket machine” and off we went to Kaiserslautern (“K-town”) to purchase our tickets for the next day. We found some very helpful people at the ticket office, and the next thing we knew, we had booked a very expensive, first class ticket on the high-speed train to Paris for the next morning leaving at 6:00 a.m.
We were up at 3:00 a.m. and on our way to PARIS!!!! We dined in first class, watched in amazement as we flew through the beautiful countryside and were giddy with excitement for our first trip to Paris. We arrived at the Gare de l’Est and were off, spending the day navigating through the City. Through that process, we made 3 lifelong friends, one who became our personal guide in the Metro. We ate crepes, chocolate and drank wine. We ran and strolled through the streets, we laughed, we took photos, we shopped, bought our berets and Swarovski crystal charms….. but never found a single flea market of any kind though we searched, as work beckoned us away.
I’ve always wanted to take one of your tours as I was an antique dealer for a number of years and I’ve actually inquired about your tours in the past. I even applied for a job as one of your guides a number of years ago!! So this is my “hoping” that I could win and then in the future I would be able to #TellMeAboutYourFirstTime story at the #ParisFleaMarket. So fingers crossed!!!
It sounds like Bev’s time in Paris was wonderful and full of adventure, a lasting souvenir! I had to laugh out loud at Bev’s adventure: soooo many tourists search for the Paris Flea Market – le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen – and don’t find it! In fact, many get off the metró and are sure they are in the wrong spot, so they leave! Bev, you surely deserve an expert Diva Guide to make sure you arrive safely at the flea market, and then to introduce you the fabulous finds and treasures!
For directions, read our blog: How to Find the Paris Flea Market.
Congratulations to our winning stories!!! And thank you so much to everyone who entered!!!
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva
AD&CO Holiday Sales Event
This holiday give the gift of travel to someone you care about… or to yourself!
To quote Audrey Hepburn: Paris is always a good idea!
1 Week Only
+20% off our most popular Paris tour
The Antiques Diva & Co Paris Flea Market Tour
400 euros for 1 – 2 people
Use Code: ParisDivaStyle
Book by Tuesday, November 30, 2016, travel by November 30, 2017: Save $100-150 Euros!
The Original Paris Flea Market Full Day Tour
Available Saturday and Sunday 10am-6pm
Let our expert Antiques Guides pick you up at your hotel and take you to the famed Puce de Paris St Ouen (Paris Flea Market), complete with 15 districts, over 2,000 vendors and 7 miles of alleyways! It’s easy for one to get lost in the maze of alleys and streets, but our guides know the market like the back of their hand. We weave into nooks and crannies you’d never find on your own. We custom plan a route based on your style and budget, maximizing your time and money. Our Guides have relationships with many vendors and translate and negotiate on your behalf. Use our in-house AD&CO Logistics international shipping services to ship your purchases home; we can also liaise you with a preferred shipper to get your items home.
As the only official Exclusive Guide of the Paris Flea Markets Paul Bert Serpette, The Antiques Diva & Co has been chosen because of our long term relationships and close contacts with les Puces. The best way to get a bargain at the Paris Flea Market is to be a local… And it just so happens we are! We can typically save clients via negotiations on antiques what they pay for our tour. Plus we save you time in addition to money. We custom plan a tour for you, helping you navigate the many markets and thousands of vendors to find just what you’re looking for. You don’t waste time digging through things you’re not looking for, but rather maximize your shopping time (and dollar) on a pre-choreographed tour.
Our Paris Diva Guides … we’re just fun. Not only do we take the stress out of your day by translating and negotiating on your behalf but we tell you inside stories about living in Paris, our favorite haunts, secrets about Parisian life. But buyer beware… the very first Paris Guide hired was a client who was so obsessed with shopping les Puces I asked her, why don’t you come on staff and help lead these tours! You too might just fall in love with Paris and decide to move overseas!
Promotion begins November 23, 2016, and ends November 30, 2016. Full payment is due at time of booking and is non-refundable. Airfare and hotels not included. Contact AD&CO for details.
Where do you get your design inspiration?
Join us on a behind the scenes design inspiration tour of the Paris Flea Market Marché aux Puces with the teams from Currey & Co and Traditional Home Magazine.
What is a Design Inspiration Tour?
Interior designers, furniture manufacturers and showrooms, architects, landscapers, shelter magazines and design industry professionals stay ahead of trends in design, art, cuisine and fashion by traveling to locations that inspire and nurture their creativity and are an opportunity to see first-hand emerging trends in the design world.
Join our group of design industry professionals as we immerse ourselves in the past and present of the Paris Flea Market!
“Having been to the market more than 20 times on our own, they took us to the backside of the flea market where we’d never been before – and it was all NEW to us. We found lots of inspirations and a few concrete ideas on new furniture designs. The best part of the day (other than a superb lunch) was a tour of vintage clothing & fabric shops. We could have spent all day there! Toma and Danielle seemed to know just about every vendor at the flea market and were full of historical information on how Les Puce came to be.
All in all, it was a thoroughly entertaining day – oh, and did I mention champagne! Bubbly always makes an excursion more fun.”
Where do you get your design inspiration?
To book a design inspiration tour contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to today’s guest blogger Brendan Von Enck, manager, agent and consultant at Fashion+Decor, as he shares his 1st visit to the Paris Flea Market with Antiques Diva Guide Katie. Enter our giveaway and #TellMeAboutYourFirstTime by Oct 25!
My 1st Time at the Paris Flea Market
by Brendan Von Enck
I met Toma Clark Haines three years ago at the High Point Market Antique and Design Center. Through different interior design industry events I grew to be close friends with The Diva herself, and when I decided to take a vacation to Paris I knew the flea market had to be one of my first stops. Upon telling the Diva the dates I would be in Paris, purely in hopes she would be passing through at the same time, I was swiftly put in touch with my amazing guide, Katie.
Katie arrived at my AirBnB in the 13th district of Paris off the Michel Bizot metro stop promptly at 8:30am as arranged by the Barbara the amazing office manager of AD&CO. Katie, my friend and I jumped in the electric rental and took off for the flea market. Once we arrived, Katie directed us to a delightful breakfast at a restaurant right in the heart of the market where we strategized on how to make the most of our day. We started at the high-end booths that showcased gorgeous midcentury furnishings and Murano chandeliers.
Obviously, I had to make a stop at the fashion booth to visit an amazing dealer that The Diva had told me about several months before.
With my mind racing over the gorgeous inspirational mix of antiques and vintage items I had just seen, we walked into an open air part of the flea market. At this point, it was around 11am and Katie told us we were making great time through the market and all of the vendors in the area we were heading to should now be open!
It was in this area that I saw a pair of twin beds which took my breath away! This pair of 18th-century beds were hand carved and painted with gold flaked details and luxurious red velvet drapery.
After gazing at the beds for about an hour and trying to figure out if I could sell my car, belongings, move back into my mother’s home and fit these two beauties into my suitcase, Katie and I pushed on into the rest of this gorgeous booth and found another breathtaking twin bed frame and absolutely amazing mirrors!
Once we left another booth that made my heart swoon we walked through a wonderful area with tables and tables of beads, hardware and other wonderful grab-and-go items that made wonderful gifts for my friends back in the states!
As my first trip the Paris Flea Market wound down Katie took me into a storefront that has changed what my idea of #goals means! The wonderful Daisy, owner of Marc Mason, welcomed us into her store and made us feel as though we were family. Katie and she spoke in French, at best I could blurt out “Merci” when they would look to me which of course was met with a joyous laughter. The storefront was breathtaking but it was when we entered the basement that I was absolutely speechless, in both languages. These fireplace mantels changed the game!
Then I almost spit out my champagne when I saw the one that brought me to tears.
Once Katie pried me from the basement we did another sweep through some artist areas of the flea market. Of course, many of these artists wouldn’t let me take any photo’s for understandable reasons but I have to say that the volume of original art at this flea market was amazing!
At this point in the day Katie, my friend and I grabbed a drink before leaving, this is another point when I discovered an amazing drink, Aperol Spritz. I must say that my day at the Paris Flea Market will always be one for the record book! I look forward to my next trip to France and can only hope that I run into the Toma!
We’d love to take you antiques shopping at the Paris Flea Market!
Book a Tour With The Antiques Diva & Co
See you in Paris!
Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva
We’re holding a giveaway to commemorate my first visit to the Paris Flea Market 17 years ago. To enter, visit the blog: Tell Me About Your First Time Giveaway, and share your first visit to the Paris Flea Market in the comments section.
Below, 4 of our Paris Antiques Diva Guide share their first visit to les Puces… today they’re veterans and can expertly navigate the back alleys of Clingancourt and negotiate the best deals on antiques and special finds. But back then…
My 1st Time At The Paris Flea Market
by Danielle Pelletier, Paris Antiques Diva Guide
I can’t remember a time in my life when the Paris Flea Market wasn’t a regular part of my life, I remember going with my mother as a teenager, and with my now-grown children when they were infants. My children grew up at the Paris Flea Market and the vendors at les puce have been family friends for generations. I’ve bought virtually everything at the market… from the perfume bottles I collect to furniture and vintage fashion… I’ve even sold items to dealers.
Recently we had a client on tour buying in a vintage fashion shop and I realized that they were buying from my husband’s massive Hermes tie collection I’d sold to one of my favorite dealers. My mother’s photo hangs in my favorite restaurant on a back alley at the puce. Becoming a Diva Guide was a natural progression to my life… now I get to share my lifetime pursuit for fine antiques with our clients.
My 1st Time At The Paris Flea Market
by Jennifer Balmadier, Paris Antiques Diva Guide
My first time… it is a bit of a blur but for sure it was with my French boyfriend (now husband) on a trip from the US to visit him and Paris 20 years ago. I remember being terribly confused and in awe at the size of the place. We drove and I thought to myself “will our car still be there?” He knew his way around pretty well, otherwise I would have been completely lost. The place is huge and just finding it is a nightmare. Now that I know it better, I feel perfectly safe but am still amazed at the size. Had it not been for my own guide at the time I would have been at a total loss of how to navigate the many markets.
I don’t remember if we bought anything or not, but for sure we looked for a boule de rampe d’escalier as my father collects them and the best ones are French. I am guessing that in his quest to woo me, we had a lovely lunch with wine. But that could just be me romanticizing the story in my head :).
My 1st Time At The Paris Flea Market
by Debbie Gabriel, Paris Antiques Diva Guide
My first time… It was back in the late 80’s, I was in Paris for business and pleasure. My then French boyfriend (now husband) and I headed to the market to look for antique textiles as I was working in fashion design. Antique shopping was always a hobby and I was very familiar with NYC, Rhode Island and Maryland. I had no idea of what lay in store for me when I went to Clignancourt.
It was overwhelming! It seemed a giant maze and I had no idea of how to zero in on what I was looking for. I was so intimidated by the language and the idea of bargaining. I was lucky to have Alexandre with me to interpret. At the same time I loved it, the stalls, the food. I had seen an article by Ruth Riechel recommending Le Paul Bert, it is still one of my go to places 25 years later.
My 1st Time At The Paris Flea Market
by Katie Phillips, Paris Antiques Diva Guide
My first time at the market was 8 years ago, I’d heard all about it from the antiques dealer I was working for in London. It was very Parisian, I went with my French boyfriend of the time on a scooter and at first I was confused as to where he’d taken me as all I could see were knock off designer sunglasses and trainers!
We then met up with some friends and just wandered around in wonder – we looked at the vintage clothes in Dauphine ( I bought a couple of vintage dresses that I still wear) and the postcards and botanical etchings; we weaved through the alleys of Vernaison, picking through the more typical flea market fare.
Other than that it’s a blur but it gave me a taste and I started going back at least once every 2 months and was always amazed by the turnover and now it’s a completely different place!
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FIRST TIME
AT THE PARIS FLEA MARKET GIVEAWAY – Details
HOW TO ENTER:
To enter The Antiques Diva & Co Tell Me About Your First Time at the Paris Flea Market giveaway:
leave a comment on the giveaway blog and #TellMeAboutYourFirstTime at the #ParisFleaMarket
- open to Diva readers over age 18
THERE ARE 5 CHANCES TO WIN!
What the Winners Receive:
1 Grand Prize Winner: VIP Paris Flea Market Tour
The Grand Prize winner receives a Gift Certificate for a VIP Antiques Diva Day Tour at the Paris Flea Market with one of our Parisian Diva Guides including LUNCH at our favorite restaurant in Paul Bert Serpette and a Champagne Toast to finish the tour. You’ll also receive an Antiques Diva tote bag to carry your purchases!
1 First Place Winner will win a Paris Flea Market Candlestick by Aidan Gray
European candlestick inspired by Aidan Gray’s antique buying tours in France with AD&CO:
The candlestick is hand-carved and hand-finished, with a removable rusted metal drip plate and a heavily distressed finish.
3 1st Prizes: DesignHER
Not coming to Paris anytime soon… don’t worry… we’ve got three 1st prizes! Regular readers and social media fans might remember I was recently featured in a fabulous new book on women entrepreneurs who are changing the world of interior design – DesignHER, featuring a chapter on me, Toma Clark Haines The Antiques Diva, and autographed by me and design darling and DesignHER author Julianne Taylor.
Winners of the Paris Flea Market First Time Story giveaway
will be judged by Julianne Taylor of Taylor Burke!
Prizes Awarded October 25, 2016
- Gift Certificate Redeemable until December 2018 and transferrable.
- DesignHER books to be delivered to winners via parcel post in November 2016.
Good Luck! #TellMeAboutYourFirstTime
Toma Clark Haines is The Antiques Diva