Ahhh, the flea markets of Paris! Well-loved by the locals and sought after by the tourists. It’s here that you can find anything from a wooden painting palette to an Édith Piaf vinyl, a vintage collection of scissors to 60-year-old Paris Metro tickets (… and I should know, I just found all that!)
Now, you may well be familiar with the Paris Saint-Ouen flea market to the north of Paris. But, forget about that place! Sure, that market is worth a visit, but that’s not where the magic happens.
The real Paris market experience, away from snooty vendeurs, expensive rugs, and overprices antiques…. that’s at the outdoor Vanves Flea Market.
As part of our explorations of the 14th arrondissement, I headed to explore this market for the first time (a little ahead of our 24-hour visit). I’d heard a lot about Vanves, but knowing it was at the very southern tip of Paris, and knowing the best visit is early on a weekend morning, I’d never found the right excuse to do it.
But I’m so glad to have done it now. The market is so much more personal, so much more manageable than its bigger brother to the north of the city. The vendors were friendly and accommodating. The products didn’t remind me of the same copy-paste stuff I’d seen in other markets. And very unusually for me, I even bought a few things.
In the pictures above you can see some of my finds. I was especially taken by the photo viewer above and right, in which two photographs are made to seem 3D when looking through the lens. We also found everything from rifles to (many) knife rests for a dining table. I bought the Edith Piaf and the palette.
Luckily for me, I felt like an expert market goer because I visited with tour guide extraordinaire Veronique from France with Vero. There she is below behind some very fetching candelabras. She taught me how to politely haggle, though considering the sellers have had a tough couple of years, neither of us actually haggled during the visit.
Vero also explained that it’s impolite to take photos or to film the tables of treasures. So remember to ask politely if you want to take a photo, as I did for almost all of these pictures! The one time I forgot to ask, I was appropriately scolded by a vendor 🙂
Now, you might see that Vero is holding a camera and a stabilizer… and that’s because we filmed our entire visit in a live stream. We showed the markets in real time on a YouTube video, for members only. Missed the show? Become an Earful Tower Patreon member and watch the hour-long replay on this link.
When to visit the Vanves Flea market
Now, back to the market. You might be wondering when to visit. Well, the answer is all year round! The market is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 7am to 2pm.
Make sure you get there earlier in the day as some vendors will pack up for lunch and won’t return afterwards.
Important: Most merchants will not have a card machine so be sure to bring along some cash.
Getting to the Vanves flea market
The Vanves flea market is tucked away in the south of the 14th arrondissement on Avenue Marc Sangnier and Avenue Georges Lafenstre. It can be found at the following address: 5 Av. de la Prte de Vanves, 75014. It runs the between the Porte de Vanves and the tramway station Didot. You can reach it via these public transport routes:
Bus: 95, 58
Metro: Line 13: Porte de Vanves
Tramway: Line 3, Didot
How to watch our Patreon video
You can only watch the Patreon video replay here, and you must be a member to watch it. That’s how The Earful Tower exists, and that’s how we do it without adverts! Speaking of shows without adverts, there’s the podcast below.
The Earful Tower podcast episode
Here’s the podcast episode on the 14th arrondissement, featuring me and my wife Lina discussing our findings on the district. There are also a few interviews from experts and locals. At the end of the episode we give our final ranking on the district out of 100. Spoiler alert: It did very well.
Video guide to the 14th arrondissement
That will do for now! I hope you enjoyed episode seven for this new season. Next week we’ll be taking you to the 13th arrondissement. A big thanks Charlotte Pleasants for the additional reporting, and to the Patreon members who make all this possible. Join them here.
As for us, you can find all our tips for the 14th district’s best restaurants, cafes, and attractions here. Otherwise see you next week for our trip to the 14th arrondissement.
And you can also support our work by buying one of our children’s books, or our PDF guide to Paris, below. Merci!