Mauerpark flohmarkt Victoria Calligo

Flea Markets in Europe You MUST Visit in 2017 (Top 15 Flea Markets)

Vanves Flea Market - Paris, FRANCE

Whether you’re a passionate collector or merely a lover of whimsical trinkets, a wander through one of Paris’ brocantes (flea markets) will always seduce and enthral. The Paris flea markets originated in the 18th-century when chiffoniers or rag-and-bone men resold goods and clothing found in aristocrats’ rubbish bins, setting up just outside the gates of Paris to avoid fees and taxes incurred within city walls.

Consequently, the main flea markets sit on the rim of the city close to the Boulevard Peripherique (ring road).

Most visitors to the city make a beeline for Puces de St-Ouen (Clignancourt), the largest flea market in the capital. Yet the intricate labyrinth of 2500 stalls and 17 kilometres of alleyways spread over 6 hectares can be overwhelming, not to mention the task of navigating the 70,000 bargain hunters that visit every week.

Vanves flea market, France

A more relaxing alternative is to head straight to Porte de Vanves, the smallest and friendliest of the flea markets. Tucked in an out-of-the-way corner of the city, this weekend marché aux puces—which dates from the 1920s—is easily accessible by metro and still largely the haunt of locals.

Prices are reasonable, the atmosphere intimate and its manageable size (there are around 200 traders) makes for a stimulating morning outing, leaving the rest of the day free. Another advantage for travelers is that most wares of this brocante are small and decorative, fitting deftly into a suitcase. You’re more likely to find a fanciful figurine or delicate eau de cologne bottle than an 18th-century armoire and heavy Napoleon bust.

 

A trove of the unexpected, Vanves brocante is not a market for fine antiques but rather general collectibles, eccentric one-off pieces and curiosities. Read our full review of the Vanves Flea Market >

Where: Ave Marc Sangnier & Ave Georges Lafenstre, 14th Paris (Metro Porte de Vanves)
When: Open Saturday & Sunday 7am to 1pm

Bonus tips: Accommodations in Paris
Paris has the world’s widest choice of hotels with a full range of prices, offering something for everyone. Here you can find over 80,000 rooms in sumptuous sophistication, or cool and cosy spots. Expect a lovely experience in smaller, more personalized atmosphere hotels.

To keep you in the flea market & vintage spirit during your stay in Paris, how about spending a night or two in one of our favorite “retro design” hotels of the city? We have hand-picked for you, our favorite three vintage design hotels.

  • Fabric Hotel (Industrial Design): The Fabric Hotel in Paris draws decorative and ornamental inspiration from the industrial past of the Oberkampf district. The brick-built walls, plentiful space, unconcealed supporting structures and the immense windows admitting plenty of natural light effectively illustrate this approach. Occupying 4 floors, the Fabric Hotel boasts 33 ultra-comfortable rooms in a resolutely contemporary setting. Where: 31 rue de la Folie Méricourt, 11th arr., 75011 Paris, France
  • Best Western Premier 61 Paris Nation (“Back to the 1960s”): Close to the Gare de Lyon, the Best Western Premier 61 Paris Nation Hotel is located next to Nation and Porte de Vincennes in the 12th arrondissement in Paris. This 4-star establishment is a contemporary reflection of 1960s Paris. Behind its pretty brick façade at number 61 rue de la Voute, the hotel’s decoration and furniture evoke all the imagination of the early 1960s. Where: 61, rue de la Voute, 12th arr., 75012 Paris, France
  • Platine Hotel Paris (“The Madmen and the 1950s”): Vincent Bastié, the architect behind the design of the Platine Hotel, digged into the 1950s to create a decor which is both chic and recreational. The hotel’s decidedly glamorous atmosphere invites guests on a journey, both through time, at the heart of Hollywood’s golden era, as well as through space, with the discovery of the America of that decade with its diners, movie sets and modern buildings. Highlight: The hotel is located 1.5 miles from the Porte de Vanves flea market. It can be reached by car within 10 minutes (25 minutes in subway via Metro Line 10 + Metro Line 13). Where: 20 rue de l’Ingénieur Robert Keller, 15th arr., 75015 Paris, France

31 comments

  1. 18zero8

    Great post! Thanks so much. I’ve been to the Lille market a couple of years ago and its now defo in my list to do again in 2015. Happy hunting!

    • Thanks! We’re glad that you enjoyed the post (as well as the Lille Flea Market); If you enjoy this kind of “massive flea market”, we cannot but recommend Munich’s Giant Flea Market, which takes place once a year on the opening weekend of the Munich “Frühjahrsfest” (the first Saturday of the Spring Festival of Munich, in April). This truly gigantic flea market brings together every year around 3,000 exhibitors and above a million visitors from all over Europe! The next one will be Saturday 18th April, 2015 (more about Munich’s Giant Flea Market: https://www.fleamarketinsiders.com/top-15-mega-flea-markets-you-must-visit-in-2015/3/.

      Happy thrifting!

  2. Ali Dan

    I found this article a while ago and decided to go for the event in 2015 (a vintage fan). Booked tickets, hotel and arrived a day before. The market was really huge but I expected so much more from it indeed. The prices were high, no bargains unless it was real junk. I am not sure if sellers have been spoilt with tourist attention but in general the prices were higher then on auction sites, the choice was not as impressive as I would expect it to be for such a giant market. I did buy some pieces but travelling that far for this choice was not a brilliant idea, though for the experience it was useful. The cheapest buy there was a dress of 15 Euros, a decent bag would cost starting from a 100 Euros, vintage clothing was presented in very modest quantities, I found around 15 stalls selling vintage, only three of them were clothing, the rest was jewelry, hats, bags, most items were not in good condition, many had obvious flaws and the prices were higher then one would pay on *Bay for example. Some prices – Lego castle was 78 Euros there when I purchased one online for 40, used clothing (not vintage) was really-really-really used and was priced from 5 Euros when many second hand shops would offer the same for 1-3 Euros, vintage dresses from 30 Euros, some hats were 500 Euros (!), vintage bags in average condition started from 35 Euros. I usually do not haggle much if I see a good item but I found that most sellers that I spoke to were not prepared to consider lowering their prices, only a few dropped 10-25 Euros for purchases from 100 to 180 Euros. In terms of being well organised the market could improve a bit, most of the ground is not asphalted and the rain the day before turned the place into a mud paddle. A very few sellers were smart enough to put flat out carton boxes over the mud, but my black boots were half brown at the end of the walk. The toilets had long lines (all of them). The police and the medics presence was proper, there was a mobile cash machine and food kiosks (with long lines of people) as well. I am not sure if I go there again in the future as I also spent two days visiting vintage stores in Munich – all of them were small, had poor choice with overpriced items (dresses from 90-100 Euros and up to thousands). Maybe Berlin next time? :)

    • Hi Ali, I’m really sorry to hear that you did not have a great experience at Munich’s Riesenflohmarkt Frühlingsfest :( Since we were travelling in France last weekend, we did not have a chance to attend it this year. But every time we attended it in the past, we really enjoyed it! I guess we got lucky (and we did not have rain either)

      This flea market is so big, that the only trouble we had was to actually manage to go through each and every stall on display within a day! We found some very nice paintings, prints, design furniture & lamps, decor items, glassware, three vintage dress (two YSL and one Channel) and even one original Louis Vuitton bag. Btw, here is a useful guide to learn to spot a real designer bag from a fake (https://www.fleamarketinsiders.com/how-to-spot-a-real-designer-bag-from-a-fake/)

      All in all, since flea markets are raising an ever growing keen interest, this somehow makes sense that some people try to take profit from this trend by selling junk for gold or asking for unreasonable prices. And yes, Berlin would make for a great trip! You can trust us ;) https://www.fleamarketinsiders.com/best-flea-markets-in-germany/2/

      • Ali Dan

        I hope that Berlin will not be as dissapointing as Munich, though it would not be too hard to beat Munich vintage choice, I found hardly any there. So for vintage clothing lovers I would not recommend Munich at all, London & Paris (even Spain!) would certainly be better options if you know the places with reasonable prices, they seem to have gone up at flea markets lately and often buying online is cheaper + there is a chance to return the goods if they do not match the description. Off to booking Berlin tickets :)

    • Shaun

      I read this article whilst trying to find the lille braderie dates and decided on a whim to drive down to see if we could buy decent stock for our shop.

      Despite the 15 plus hour drive I have to say I thought it was really good.
      I started buying at 6am in darkness and was still buying at 4.30pm when I really had to go but I could have bought more.

      Admittedly there was some really expensive items which were over priced, I bought some absolute bargains!
      Totally worth the drive and I had a whole van full.

      The mud etc was a nightmare and if you were looking for clothes there wasn’t a great deal

      But in terms of furniture taxidermy skulls interesting items it was really cheap depending where you seed to buy.

      I would definatley go again and I’m planning on going again next year but selling also.

      We’re going to the amsterdam kings day flea market this coming Monday (selling and buying) after we’ve finished a big fair on Sunday

      Depending on what your looking for I wouldn’t be put off!

      • Hi Shaun, glad to hear that you had a fruitful trip to Munich! Funny enough, you story reminds me of our last shopping trip at Munich’s Riesenflohmarkt Frühlingsfest: we spent 10 hours rummaging the place (with only one hour break in one of the huge beer tents on the other end of the Theresienwiese), found a lot of great stuff (physician’s metal furniture from the 1950s, taxidermy, paintings, Wunderkammer decor, Scandinavian design, old photos from 1900s, WWI propaganda, vintage clothing…) and even got sunburns!

        Enjoy Koningsdag in Amsterdam, and if you want to retrospectively share your Munich/Amsterdam adventure(s), we’d be more than happy to publish it on this blog!

        Have a safe trip!

    • Odile van der Stap

      Hi Ali,

      I’m a bit confused about your two comments, was the munich fleamarket good or bad? About what market was your second comment?

      • I think Ali write that he did not have a great experience in Munich, from a vintage-clothing perspective. The last few times we attended Munich’s Giant flea market, we always had a great experience: lots of antiques, vintage furniture & decor, old paintings, and so on. A true paradise for antiques hunters. However, it is true that it’s not so much vintage clothing oriented anymore (there are however lots of booths selling second-hand clothe. But not really “vintage” like from the 1950s-1980s)

        • Odile van der Stap

          Thanks for your answer! I am not looking for vintage clothing, just vintage decor and curiosities. I guess it’s worth a visit then next year?

          • Absolutely! Munich’s Rotes Kreuz Flohmarkt Theresienwiese is our all time favorite with the Grande Braderie in Lille. It’s a must do, all the more so as if you live in Europe (and a no-brainer if you live in Germany…)

          • jump

            I don’t know how you can say that Lille is a good market it is overpriced and full of tourists you can buy things cheaper in London

      • Ali Dan

        Hi Odile,

        I have been to various flea markets but the Munich one was somewhat disappointing since very high prices (you can get the same for a third of their prices easily), hardly any vintage clothing (only a few stalls) and the other goods presented were not too impressive to me, maybe my expectations a bit high :( But this certainly does not mean that everyone else on this planet will have the same experience. If you decide to go there then I am sure you will find just what you are after. Have fun :)

  3. chi

    Hi, can I double with you that the flea market in Miropoix on 23-25 may 2015 is cancled or still going on? because I am planning to go to this flea market due to read your article, but now I notice that this date was removed. thanks for your reply.

  4. Leah Billas

    I’m looking to purchase vintage beads and jewelry components. I was told by a contact in the trade that the flea markets in Paris are a good place to shop. Do you know of any other flea markets in Europe that have a large selection of vintage beads?

    • Hi Leah! Well, Paris is indeed always a good place to start! For instance, Tombées du Camion (https://www.fleamarketinsiders.com/tombees-du-camion-vintage-shop-paris/) could be an interesting place to start with. Then, you could try your luck at the Vanves flea market. And if you don’t manage to find anything of your liking there, hear to St Ouen. You can find all our favorite addresses for vintage shopping in Paris, here: https://www.fleamarketinsiders.com/flea-markets-in-paris-10-shopping-tips-and-addresses/2/

      As per the rest of Europe, I’m not aware of a particular flea market dedicated to vintage beads. Most flea markets sell vintage jewelry. But you might very well find what you’re looking for by browsing this list: https://www.fleamarketinsiders.com/category/europe/

      We hope this helps! :)

        • Leah Billas

          Oh, also…is there as good a selection of vendors if I go in the Fall? I’m thinking of heading to Paris in October. Are the flea markets “bigger” in the Spring/Summer?

          • Paris’ major flea markets (St Ouen, Vanves, Montreuil) almost operate year round (with some exceptions around NYE and Christmas). So if you go in October, you’ll find them up & running :)

            in Spring/Summer, flea markets are not “bigger” per se: St Ouen has a fix size (many covered markets), Vanves & Montreuil almost always operate at full size every weekends, with the same vendors.

            However, there are indeed more street flea markets that pop up during Spring, in every “arrondissement” of the city. Days get warmer and last longer, so people spend more time out in the street vs. in Fall (which has more cold & rainy days).

            One tip: Between July 15th and August 15th, Paris is really empty: most Parisians are gone on holiday during this 30 days long period. Which is a dream come true if you wish to avoid traffic jams & long waiting lines ;) Flea markets continue to run as usual, though some merchants might also be on holiday.

            I hope this helps :)

    • Hi Odile, do you mean Munich’s Giant flea market? It will take place on Saturday 16th April 2016, from 06:00 am. However, mind to show up the day before (Friday) around 6pm as many vendors set up their booths and start (unofficially) selling their stuff. Two years ago we made 70% of our purchases the day before the flea market officially started. That’s a golden tip!

  5. Sylla McClellan

    Hello – headed to Paris and Amsterdam over the Christmas/New Years holidays. Where can I find out what markets (if any) will be operating? We are usually in Paris in the summer and hit up Vanves and then the country brocantes. I have never been during the holidays so am not sure what is open. Thanks!

  6. Corne

    Loved this post – thank you!I live in Cape Town, and we are visiting France in September 2016. Where would be the best towns, or markets to find antique crockery and cutlery? Looking for a lot of table top finds. I will be shopping with South African Rands :), so would want the cheapest possible finds. Do you have any ideas where would be best to go? Thanks in advance.

  7. Sally

    The Mauerpark-fleamarket was a total disappointing. Eight years ago it was a nice fleamarket, but when we went there last year, it was very, very disappointing.
    Far too many businesses with typhical tourist-shit (drawings, t-shirts (new), etc.) and far too little individuals who sell their stuff. And the prices were ridiculous!
    This was the last time I went there. This is no longer a fleamarket. This is tourist-cheating!!!

  8. wayde

    Hi
    Thinking of going to Lille Flea this year. Not sure whether to take a van but I understand parking is difficult. If I go by foot any ideas how I ship large items back to England?
    Many thanks

    • Hi Wayde, Indeed, the parking situation is difficult… Some of the vendors offer assistance with shipping. It also depends a lot on what you are planning to buy whether it is worth it for you to go by car. For general advice on how to ship flea market finds home, I can recommend this article which we published a while ago: https://www.fleamarketinsiders.com/flea-market-shipping/
      Hope this helps and it would be great if you could share your experience with us afterwards!

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