Last June, I had the glorious opportunity to go on an antiquing trip in my favorite place on earth, France. I partnered up with Toma Clark Haines of the Antiques Diva for a once in a lifetime antiquing experience, you might have read about it in the most recent issue of the Journal. In case you missed it, you can discover it here. Today we are sharing some of the best items spotted, which is hard to edit, because in short, if you are drawn to beautiful items with a story, then you will want to scoop up nearly everything that you come across.
It can be daunting when trying to devise an approach to the antiques market, a fun fact is that more people visit it than the Eiffel Towe each year, which is why it is very helpful to have a guide if you are looking to do some serious buying. The Antiques Diva is an invaulable source for all things antiquing, in France or in far flung places in Thailand. Toma and her team will not only make the process fun, but they will put you at ease with their savvy negotiating skills and relationships with many vendors. Here are some of the items that caught my eye, including so many gold mirrors that I am still thinking about to this day. You can book your experience with the Antiques Diva & Co here from a fashion focus to shopping tours of the Marais and Bastille.
Mirrors, furniture, plates, elaborate frames, if you are drawn to all things golden, the flea market in Paris will blow your mind.
A Guide to le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen
Open: Saturday, Sunday and Monday
Starting Times: On paper, they say 9 a.m., but in reality the show begins at 10 a.m. and lasts until 6 p.m. On Sundays, it opens slightly later, around 10:30 or 11 a.m.
Highlights: Paul Bert Serpette (paulbert-serpette.com), Marché de L’Entrepot, Vernaison (vernaison.com), Marché Jules Vallés; the shops on Rue des Rosiers.
Details: There are only two districts in the flea market that are reserved for professionals--L'Usine and Lecuyer. All others are open to the public.
Toma (left) marveling at a lamp and her colleague, Paris guide Danielle (right) catching up with a vendor.
A Go To Source for Framed Paintings
Portraits, still lifes or landscape paintings are all in abundance at the majority of the stalls and would be a wonderful inclusion into a dynamic gallery wall.
A Buyers Guide | Tips on Getting the Best Deal
Don't be afraid to try to negotiate a better price than the one you see on the tag. Chances are that the vendor bought the item at a great price and will be willing to make a deal. AD&CO. Paris guide Danielle suggests that when you are negotiating on your own, ask the vendor, "is this the best price?" And remember, the typical price range for a given item can vary from country to country.
Toma recommends that if you only have time to visit one district, head to Paul Bert Serpette. Not only is it the most picturesque district, with pastel facades and wisteria vines tumbling from its awnings, it also offers a well-rounded assortment of furniture, smaller items (also referred to as "smalls") and vintage fashion.
Vintage Fashion at the Paris Flea Market
The Paris flea market features many stalls that sell a range of collectible fashion pieces from the 1920s to the 1970s, some from even earlier periods. If you are looking for that special vintage clothing find, remember that sizing can be tricky. It might be wiser to stick with accessories like bags, hats, jewelry or shoes, according to a staffer at Les Merveilles de Babellou (lesmerveillesdebabellou.com), a popular destination at the market that stocks an extensive collection of French designer brands like Nina Ricci, Chanel and Christian Dior. Currently, the most in-demand items are Chanel costume jewelry, Yves Saint Laurent pieces from the 70s and anything from Christian Dior.
What You Can Discover: 1950s couture dresses, Chanel costume jewelry, designer bags from the 1920s and a range of hat styles from different eras.
Where to Stay at the Paris Flea Market | The Mob Hotel
Considering the market receives so much foot traffic, it's surprising that there is only one hotel located inside its parameters. Luckily, that lone hotel is a style-forward option created in collaboration with designer Philippe Stark. The Mob Hotel is a hip space with retro-inspired common areas and a rooftop garden that provides the vegetables for their in-house restaurant.