Saturday, April 10, 2010

Porte de Vanves Markets

While I patiently wait for the finishing touches on the website - or rather not so patiently, hurry up already - I'd thought I'd share an all time favourite way to spend a Saturday (and/or Sunday) morning in Paris. Porte de Vanves Flea Markets.

Anyone who has been there needs no further explanation. But for those who have not, and love pretty antiquities for la maison, put it on your 'to do' list immediately.

Leave the famously overpriced flea market at Clignancourt (I purchased a 2 cup 2 plate tea set for 200euro, uugggh, granted I do love it but uuuggggh nevertheless) and follow the Parisian collectors to Vanves. It's a huge strip of street-side dealers selling antiques, furniture, bric-a-brac and collectables on Saturdays AND Sundays.

Starting with a flaky croissant purchased from the Patiserrie at the cafe around the corner or sipping on Vin Chaud I spend the entire morning slowly sifting through the masses of gorgeous items, haggling with the sellers; some extremely friendly and patient with my part french part english part sign language fiasco and willing to be be haggled - while some not quite so.

Its not always cheap but even looking is fun. I've never spend more than say $40 Euro per visit and come away with some real world-class treasures.

These markets were started in the late 19th century and today you are likely to find anything from trinkets to treasures as well as vintage designer clothing, agate cigarette holders, swanky barware, ancient archaeological treasures, even the occasional world-class find - monet,
cocteau paints and more.

Where is it? The market stretches for blocks along Avenue Marc Sangie and around the corner on Avenue Georges Lafenestre on the southern border of Paris.

How to get there? Metro station Porte Vanves, line 13.
My tips:
1. ARRIVE EARLY - it opens at 7am and dealers start to pack up at noon. Closes by 1pm
2. Don't worry if a seller wont budge on price, more often than not they counter offered before I got far.
3. Pace yourself.
4. Look for the bargain tables: Toute a 1E cette table - everythings 1 euro.
5. Bring a bag.

It's a good thing they close around midday and I'm forced to leave otherwise Id quite happily spend the entire day there and miss out of seeing the rest of Paris.

Favourite purchases: livre de lettres d'amour (a miniature volume of love letters in french from the 18thC - I cant understand it but one day I will and it looks divine on my shelf - a perfect item for the knowledgeless fan of beautiful art and antique ... stuff). My vintage Celine silk blue red and white polka dot shirt for 20Euro and my 15Euro ring which I wear eveyday, yet to be apprised. It has a secret compartment which I will always remember the girl telling me: 'good to keep drugs to kill your boyfriend'.

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