Shopping at flea markets is a Parisian thing. No matter how many stores, shops, and boutiques the city has, the flea markets are a huge part of the local lifestyle here. Whether you're looking for rare finds or great bargains, there's a lot to look forward to in Paris' flea markets. It'd be even better, however, if you were already an expert at it. Parisian markets are busy and crowded, so much so that it's easy to lose your way. But if you follow these helpful tips, not only will you remain fine, but you might even get a lot of great purchases too!
Go on a Free Day
Shopping takes time. Whether you're shopping at a designer outlet store
or a district lined with boutiques, you'll spend a lot of time browsing, checking out the items, and purchasing what you want. This rings true especially when it comes to flea markets. Even when you already have a certain item in mind, the beauty of Paris flea markets is that they're often filled with such fascinating goodies that you can't help but browse. Before you know it, you've already checked out a dozen stalls and examined a ton of items. In this regard, it's better to go to Paris flea markets when you have free time, be it on the weekends or on your day off.
Arrive as Early as You Can
Do note, however, that there are some Parisian flea and open markets that only stay open for half a day or even just in the mornings. For example, the Puces de Vanves
flea market in the 14th arrondissement
of Paris is only open on weekend mornings, specifically from 7:00 am to 13:00 (1:00) pm in the afternoon. Now, do you think you'll get to buy a lot if you came here around 10:00 am or 11:00 am? Probably not, right? So as much as you can, go to flea markets early even if you planned to spend the entire day shopping.
Try to Go With Other People
If you can, visit a flea market in Paris with some company. Firstly, it's a good way to socialize and get to know the other person/people. When you go to a flea market, look closely at what your company browses through and checks out. This is a good way to discern their interests, tastes, and what catches their eye. And what you pick up at flea markets makes for great conversation starters too. Secondly, more often than not, you might end up buying more items than you can carry. If you have someone else with you, they can help your carry your purchases along the way.
Wear Comfortable Shoes
As already mentioned, shopping in Paris' flea markets will likely take a lot of time. It's not even farfetched to say that it might even take up an entire day. And you'll want to remain comfortable all throughout, right? Well, that's only possible if you wear comfortable shoes to the market. Forego your designer heels and leather pairs and go for comfy and soft flats that your feet can handle for many hours. You can also expect that many of Paris’s famous flea markets, such as the Marché aux Puces de Paris Saint-Ouen
in the 18th arrondissement
, are set on cobblestone streets. You'll really need comfortable shoes to navigate them!
List What You Want/Need to Buy
A good rule of thumb when shopping at any flea market in Paris is to list down what you need to buy. Make a shopping list of what you absolutely need to buy and what you might want to purchase before heading off. For instance, if you plan to make a certain dish with the ingredients you buy from Avenue de Saxe market in the 7th arrondissement
, list them all down so you can prioritize them first. Once you've bought what you need, you can spend the rest of the day browsing and checking out goodies that spark your fancy.
Always Carry Cash
This should probably go without saying but you'll need cash if you want to shop at any flea market in Paris. Since these are mostly stalls and tables, you won't find any place in any market that accepts credit cards. Even if some items will go for hefty prices, you still won't be able to pay for them using a credit card or your phone for that matter. So before you head off to any Parisian flea market, go to the nearest local bank
and withdraw some cash. The more change, the better!
Bring Your Own Bag
Don't expect the flea market stalls and vendors to always provide paper bags and the like for your purchased items. Although most of them do, you never know when one stall or vendor doesn't. And what if the what you brought of them is difficult to carry without a paper bag and the like? What do you do then? To be on the safe side, bring your own bag when you go flea market shopping in Paris. The bigger and sturdier it is, the better. You'll want it to handle as many items and goodies as possible!
Focus on The Bargains
Why did you go shopping at a flea market in the first place? Because it's cheap! At least, that's the main reason for most. It's no secret that the costs in Paris
are quite high, which makes shopping in flea markets such an essential part of the Parisian lifestyle. So when you're shopping, focus on the bargains. Go to where the cheapest items are and spend as if you don't have a budget. If you can, try to haggle down the price too. It's a vital part of the whole Parisian flea market experience!
Trust that you won't want to miss out on shopping in any of Paris' flea markets. They have rare finds, amazing bargains, and more! And as long as you follow these helpful tips, you're sure to get the best out of them!
Of course, you'll need a luxury home
that's big enough to store all your great finds in Parisian flea markets!