Paris Antiques Diva Guides Share Their 1st Time at the Paris Flea Market

Tell Me About Your 1st Time Giveaway: 5 Chances to Win

5 Chances to Win: The Antiques Diva Tell Me About Your 1st Time at the Paris Flea Market GiveawayWe’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

Antiques Diva guide Danielle PelletierI 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.

Perfume bottles collected at the Paris Flea Market
perfume bottles collected at the Paris Flea Market

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

Antiques Diva guide Jennifer BalmadierMy 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.

boule d'escalier
boule d’escalier

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

Antiques Diva Guide Debbie Gabriel


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 faThe Paris Flea Market flagship market Paul Bert Serpettemiliar 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

Antiques Diva guide Katie PhillipsMy 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!

vintage fashion shopping at the Paris flea market
vintage fashion at the Paris flea market

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!


#TellMeAboutYourFirstTime To celebrate 17 years since my first visit to the Paris Flea Market, this September we are holding an Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market giveaway!!!


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


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

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Author: Toma Clark Haines

Toma Clark Haines is a Global Tastemaker, Speaker, Writer & Entrepreneur; and founder and CEO The Antiques Diva® & Co, Europe, Asia and America's largest Antiques Sourcing & Touring Company.

  • Ahhhhh, I remember my first time……totally underwhelmed. It was about 20 years ago. Hubby and I took the metro and as we walked through the flea market we looked at each other and said “is this it?”. We weaved our way through until we got to Rue des Rosiers. We walked up and down the street and again looked at each other and said….”is this it?”. We were completely oblivious to what lay in wait down the side streets. We truly needed a guide. Over the years I became much better acquainted with all the wonderful markets at Les Puces. Today, I eat my meals with the beautiful silverware I bought at Les Puces. When I powder my nose I enjoy the company of the vintage, framed Lanvin ads which I purchased at Les Puces. When I leave the house I check my reflection in the antique mirror purchased at Les Puces…..I could go on and on. What began as an underwhelming first impression became a love affair….Les Puces never disappoints!!!

    • Bonjour Franca,

      If you read through others’ first time experiences with the Paris Flea Market, you’ll see how many visitors were disappointed by their 1st impression of les Puces… and a few were so disappointed they turned and left before ever discovering the treasures beyond the les junque stalls!

      I love decorating my home with treasures from my travels, every turn is a new souvenir

      Thank you for sharing,
      bonne chance, et à bientôt!