Are The Paris Flea Markets Worth A Visit?

Oui or non?


Paris is a city full of possibilities and the hotspot for all things fashion or mode, as the French call it. For the fashion capital of the Western world, you would expect great things regarding their vintage and resale markets; sadly, I didn’t find this to be the case on my latest visit to the French city of love.



Sunday is a day of rest in France, meaning many shops are closed, which is sad for the locals but perfect for tourists like me- it provides the prime opportunity to visit the Paris flea markets, a trip I have wanted to venture on for a long time.

After an early rise and a few metros later, I finally had it to Marché Vernaison in Saint-Ouen, aka the flea market goldmine!

With 300 stalls with items such as clothing, jewelry, shoes, a jumble of silverware, furniture, ceramics, old frames, scientific objects, old fans, beads, toys, school objects, glass, and table accessories. It had everything you can imagine, but let’s clarify: to find the good stuff, you had to channel your inner scavenger. There were many times I felt like a pigeon rummaging through a bin to find a piece of good food, but in my case, I was on the hunt for vintage clothing and old clip-on Chanel earrings. Let’s just say I wasn’t successful.



Maybe I had set my expectations too high, or I had just chosen a bad weekend to chance my luck. Although I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, I did find several incredible vintage sellers; however, they didn’t have the brands I was in search of, but they did stock fashion houses such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Miu Miu. But at a very costly price, of course.

One reason for being underwhelmed by my experience could have been that it was not as authentic as I thought it would have been. I imagined a car boot sale layout and the opportunity to bargain for what you want, yet with the flea markets, the sellers knew precisely what they were selling regarding their inventory. There was no opportunity to get lucky and find gold dust at a bargain price. Most of their designer items were at an extravagant price, and to be completely honest, I did my research afterward and found the same items online at a much lower cost than what they were selling, and they were the same vintage pieces.



Overall, I’d recommend still visiting as it’s a different experience than day-to-day shopping, especially if you seek funky home decorations or old-fashioned artifacts like old newspapers, etc. As for me, I think the next time I’m in Paris, I will try other markets that are pop-ups and ordinary people selling their old items instead of regular sellers. It may be a more budget-friendly alternative. It is all about trial and error when it comes to thrifting, but it is a challenge that comes with excellent outcomes when victorious. So, until next time, if you find yourself in the country, use the bric-a-brac website to find the nearest pop-up markets near you and indulge in what the stalls have to offer.