Paris abounds with antiques and vintage items. Serious buyers can easily spend days if not weeks hopping from one antiques shop to another and still not hit them all. But what if you are interested in scouting for antiques but don’t want to hike a great distance between shops?
Well, good news for you. Paris has several antiques markets where multiple dealers come together in one area. It’s a godsend of convenience for anyone who wants to check out the Paris antiques scene and still have time and energy to spare for the many other pleasures to be found. Here are some of my favorite antiques markets in Paris:
Le Village Saint-Paul (Saint-Paul Antiques Village)
This site was a royal residence in the 14th century, but today is a series of connecting courtyards with numerous antique shops selling furniture, silverware, and much more.
On the outer perimeter you’ll see signs announcing Village Saint-Paul and that’s your invitation to find your way to the inner courtyards. Open hours are sporadic mid-week, so I recommend going on weekends when more shops are reliably open.
Le Carré Rive Gauche (Left Bank Art and Antiques)
My heart begins to race each time I lay eyes on the Carré Rive Gauche signs in the 7th arrondissement. First one flag appears and then with quickening pace I spot one after another waving from shopfronts along this warren of streets.
Over 120 antiques and art shops form the association known as Carré Rive Gauche. You’ll find a range of styles and prices, but don’t expect any steals. The high-end inventory glitters through the windows and display cases.
This is a terrific part of Paris to wander around regardless of your interests, but if you’re scouting for antiques then you’ll have double the fun.
Le Village Suisse (Swiss Village Antiques)
I think of Le Village Suisse as an outdoor mall of antiques shops. Items date from BC to the 1970s, and especially heavy on 19th and 20th century furnishings of worldwide origins.
About 150 shops are clustered on the ground level of two apartment buildings. The name refers to the Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) of 1900 in Paris, when Switzerland exhibited cows and chocolates in this neighborhood. The 1960s-style architecture feels a little tired, but this antiques village is a pleasant stroll from the Eiffel Tower and it might have the perfect souvenir.
L’Hôtel Drouot (The Drouot Auction House)
Auction mavens the world over have heard about the Drouot Auction House. It has stood in the same spot since 1852. L’Hôtel Drouot attracts the savviest of buyers but also welcomes novice shoppers…anyone whose credit is good! An escalator leads to different salesrooms. Some are open for viewing the goods; others have live auctions going on.
Collections range from ancient manuscripts to twentieth-century decorative arts, and everything in between. Pick up a copy of PariScope or La Gazette Drouot to find out about upcoming sales or browse some of them online.
Les Marchés aux Puces (Flea Markets)
Although the market at Saint-Ouen/Clignancourt is referred to as “le marché aux puces” (flea market), much of the inventory there would be better described as high-end antiques. So if you’re interested in serious antiques, don’t be put off by the flea market label. There are many excellent items to be found at the Paris flea markets. While the flea market at Saint-Ouen/Clignancourt has a greater number of antiques dealers, the flea market at Porte de Vanves also has a good selection. Depending on what you’re looking for–or even if you’re not looking for anything in particular–you are likely to find something that delights.
The flea market at Saint-Ouen/Clignancourt is a consortium of different markets.
Two of the most popular–Marché Paul Bert and Marché Serpette–were recently sold by the Duke of Westminster to a French businessman. It’s unlikely to change them much, other than possibly to improve the mood of sellers who had been unhappy renting space from the duke.
Other antiques markets in Paris include La Cour des Antiquaires in the 8th, the Auteuil Antiques Village in the 16th, the Saint-Germain antiques shops and galleries in the 6th, and the Louvre des Antiquaires in the 1st which is closed for renovation but rumored to reopen in 2016.
In addition, some of the temporary brocantes feature very nice antiques, for example the antiques fair which occurs in place du Bastille for a couple weeks each May and November (this spring’s dates are May 8-May 18, 2014). There are also specialty markets for antiquarian books and other interests. You can find more information about these markets–and more–in Markets of Paris, 2nd ed.
- Le Village Saint-Paul is located along rue Saint-Paul, near the corner of rue Charlemagne, in the 4th arrondissement. Closest Métro is Saint-Paul. Usually open Tuesday to Sunday 10 am – 12 pm and 2 pm-6 pm, but hours will vary.
- Le Carré Rive Gauche spreads across the area bounded by rue de l’Université, rue des Saints-Pères, rue du Bac, and quai Voltaire. The inside streets are rue de Beaune, rue de Verneuil, and rue Allent. Closest Métro stops are Musée d’Orsay or Solférino. Hours are roughly Monday to Saturday 10 am-6 pm, although some shops close earlier.
- Le Village Suisse is on avenue de Suffren between rue Dupleix and avenue de la Motte Piquet in the 7th arrondissement. Closest Métro is La Motte Piquet-Grenelle. If you like this antiques village, you might also enjoy the smaller but sweet “Belle Lurette” in Village Popincourt at 5, rue Marché Popincourt in the 11th.
- L’Hôtel Drouot Richelieu (Drouot Richelieu Auction House) is located at 9, rue Drouot in the 9th . Métro: Richelieu Drouot. Viewings are generally Monday through Friday from 11 am -6 pm, and auctions from 1 pm to 6 pm Monday through Friday.
- Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen/Clignancourt is located outside the 18th arrondissement and open Saturdays and Sunday from 10 am-6 pm and Mondays 11 am-5 pm ( not all dealers open on Mondays). Métro is Porte de Clignancourt. The Porte de Vanves Flea Market is open every Saturday and Sunday from 7 am-2pm and located at avenue Marc Sangnier and avenue Georges-Lafenestre in the 14th arrondissement. Closest Métro is Porte de Vanves. Open weekends.