The Marché aux Puces at St-Ouen (Porte de Clignancourt) isn’t the only flea market in Paris, even if it’s the biggest and most famous. Last week I took a friend to the Marché de Vanves flea market and the neighboring Marché du Livre book market.
The Marché de Vanves
While the antique shops at the St-Ouen market rarely open before 10am, the Marché de Vanves starts quite early, with many stands already set up by 8am.
Unlike St-Ouen, there are no permanent shops, just temporary stands set up in the morning and taken down in the afternoon when it becomes a clothing market. Supposedly this is the place where serious antique dealers show up at dawn to get the good items as they’re being unloaded.
It’s located on the south side of Paris at the Porte de Vanves (14th), along the Avenue Marc Sagnier and Avenue G. Lafenestre. Open every weekend, Saturday and Sunday from 8am-1pm. There are a few food stands, and cafés near the Porte de Vanves metro and tram stop.
There are a lot of linens, paintings, books, silverware (I got a bunch of antique silver at €5/piece), China, pins, furniture, and vintage clothing. Don’t be afraid to bargain, especially on slow days when the weather is crappy.
The Marché du Livre – Antique Book Market
Nearby is the Marché du Livre, or Book Market, under the pavilions in the Parc Georges Brassens (15th), metro Convention or tram stop Brançion.
There are some contemporary paperbacks, but most of the books are more than 50 years old.
Many of them are leather bound, with interesting binding. You’ll find literature, old text books, even travel guides and some books in other languages besides French.
My friend quickly found a half dozen books that were over 300 years old (and over €300 euros), some with handwritten notes by the original owner in the margins. It’s hard for a bibliophile like myself to escape the book market without acquiring a small stack!
There are also two stands at the market which buy old books in good condition. Open weekends, 9am-6pm.