If Paris’ weekly flea market scene mainly revolves around the massive Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen and the Marché aux Puces de Vanves, it also hosts two smaller weekly flea markets that get less attention than the major ones: the Puces de Montreuil and the Brocante de la place d’Aligre.
Less charming and famous than Vanves and Saint Ouen, Montreuil’s week-end flea market remains off the beaten tourist track for a good reason: it is sadly not the best place in Paris to find the occasional treasure. Forget about vintage clothes, 1950s light-fittings, vintage toys, furniture, old crockery, and antique glassware advertised by some travel guides; unless you’re looking for old tools, electrical extension cords, dicey designer knock-offs, and t-shirts, the Puces de Montreuil aren’t worth the trip.
Not as big as Vanves, but much more promising than Montreuil, the Brocante de la place d’Aligre is a venue, flea market enthusiasts might want to add to their Paris’ shopping itinerary.
Located in the heart of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine and near one of the most delightful and delicious food markets in Paris, the open air Marché d’Aligre, the Brocante de la place d’Aligre is a quiet and poetic flea market, with a provincial touch.
The Brocante de la place d’Aligre offers a lively mix of items from around 40 small-scale professional exhibitors, and private vendors, who haul out cases of various things set up on makeshift tables in the square, adjacent to where the market is held.
As usual with small flea markets, it is strongly advised to rummage through old boxes, and not stick only to what’s on display. Most merchants at Brocante de la place d’Aligre are eager to sell, and shoppers are often seen picking through the boxes on the ground for the best deals. For this reason, visitors can expect to find a vintage 1970s Polaroid camera or a 1950s dial phone for less than 10 €. Specialized booths in the middle of the square are filled with beautiful antique illustrations, drawings and photos, in a rather affordable price range. It is of course possible – and highly recommended – to haggle.
The crowds usually begin to thin around midday, as people head for the famous food market of the Rue d’Aligre, with its fantastic selection of high quality produce at a very good price. All in all, the place d’Aligre is renowned for its diversity, atmosphere and low prices.
Antiquing Tip Of The Day
If you’re buying 19th-century furniture, you’re probably looking for pieces that have primary or secondary paint. With newly painted pieces that are trying to look older, there’s usually a repetition in the paint that seems too regular. On a piece that has been banged around for the last 200 years, the paint’s not going to be regular; it’s going to be chipped off in places.
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