Not to be missed

Flea market shopping in France

Wandering through flea markets is an exciting treasure hunt as well as a good opportunity for small escapes from everyday life and trips to unexplored destinations. intOndo selected a few French markets where, with a little luck, you could find that unique piece that will make the difference in your living room.

It is known that the French have an innate inclination for flea markets. Think about the shabby chic style of Provence, the refinement of Parisian vintage furniture, the spectacular French antiques: the charming atmospheres of French flea markets conquers all generations. Early risers and travelers, dealers from all over the world have always chosen French vintage markets to purchase unique furniture and objects. Going to flea markets is never out of style, and if you are planning a vintage hunting trip, here are some highly suggestive French destinations.

In Paris, the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen is the most popular vintage destination among celebrities and cool hunters. Among sophisticated atmospheres and thousands of stalls (with over 3000 dealers, the market is divided into several indoor and outdoor sections, and it is one of the largest in Europe), it is possible to purchase small and large treasures at varied prices. In addition to high-end 18th and 19th century and Art Deco furnishings, this market offers an increasing range of '50s, '60s and '70s pieces. But in St-Ouen you will also find vintage clothes, toys and jewelry, books, posters, vinyl records, and much more. Located in the 18th arrondissement, it can be reached getting off at the Porte de Clignancourt stop (underground line 4), and it is open on Saturdays (from 9am to 6pm), on Sundays (from 10am to 6pm) and Mondays (from 10am to 5pm).

Antiques lovers with a particular interest in the production of French furniture concentrated between the 17th and 19th centuries will choose Lyon: here, on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday morning, Les Puces du Canal welcomes around 500 dealers, located between a hangar dedicated to the oldest pieces and a series of containers, where 20th century and industrial style furniture is displayed. Among the stalls, a series of characteristic bars and restaurants will welcome you for a relaxing break. The market is just outside Lyon, in Villeurbanne on the Jonage canal, and is well connected by public transport. It can be reached by car in about 15 minutes from the historic center.

 Those aiming for Provence in the spring will not be able to help but plan a stop in l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, a small and picturesque town crossed by canals just 30 km from Avignon. The town is the centerpiece of an interesting open-air flea market fair, “Isle-sur-la-Sorgue / Antiques Art & You”, which gathers international vintage markets fans on two annual appointments, Easter and August (the next fair is scheduled on April 10 - 13). Counting on average 400 dealers, this lively event takes place between the town canals, squares and inner courtyards, a triumph of light wood furniture and colorful Provencal fabrics, which makes it a destination particularly appreciated by country chic rarities lovers.

From the scenic Provençal landscapes, the treasure hunts continues towards the French Riviera: every Monday, from 7am to 6pm, the historic center of Nice, cradle of the famous flower market, turns into the beating heart of the Marché a La Brocante Saleya, an outdoor flea market, which is particularly loved by Italian vintage enthusiasts and antique dealers. All the fish restaurants in the area remain closed until the evening in order to make room for hundreds of stalls coming from all over France, including antique dealers, second-hand dealers and collectors (many of whom are now regulars exhibitors), all ready to reveal their best repertoire and bargain occasions. In Saleya, the second French market after St-Ouen, the variety of objects on display allows vintage lovers to purchase high-level antique and design pieces, alongside vintage lamps, furniture and fashion at very attractive prices.