France hosts some of the most storied and well-stocked antique fairs and flea markets in Europe. Visitors frequently uncover precious finds that add that extra touch to their home, collection, or heart. Others simply enjoy the thrill of the hunt, whether that quest is for a specific item, or a general rambling through stalls trying to find the next diamond in the rough.
The following is a compilation of the top flea markets and antique fairs France has to offer.
This yearly autumnal event takes place in October and last only a single day, beginning in the wee hours of the morning. 2,000 vendors take part in this market sensation that attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year. This is one of the premier spots to hunt for antiques or simply take in the spectacle.
The Vieux Quartier is open on the last Saturday of each month at a prime location nestled in the mountains of Lac d’Annecy. The wares sold often include local antiques and vintage equipment perfect for a trip to the mountains. The market often features skis, snow shoes, fishing equipment, decorative milk jugs, furniture, molds to sculpt butter, equipment for the production of cheese, and collectible cowbells.
An all-day event held the first Wednesday of every month, the Arles Flea Market colourful clothing and accessories, as well as figurines, and numerous ceramics and other collectibles. Delicate French lace can also be found at this market among the other regional textiles, many of which have been fashioned into clothes, blankets, and draperies.
Held for only 3 days a year in May, the Mirepoix Flea Market is located in the small town of, Auriac-sur-Vendinelle. This massive affair is organized by the community as a whole and every effort is made to create an unforgettable market experience. The number of stalls can range between 200-500 and everything that can be imagined can be found at this market.
The mornings of the first Sunday of each month (save for January and February when the market is closed) see the opening of Belfort’s eclectic flea market. Knickknack hunters and collectors of pottery and kitchenware. Copperware, glassware, stoneware, ceramics, enamel items, clocks, toys, furniture, and many other items.
Twice a year Brocante des Quinconces sets up the flea market for secondhand items. This market is often a treasure trove of unusual pieces and items that would have been forgotten long ago until they were carted to the market only to find new homes and be blessed with a second life.
Every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the flea market in Carpentras is open for business. Spacious and varied, it is the ideal location for bargain hunters, and collectible seekers alike. Not every item is in great shape, but it’s worth looking through the clutter to find a worthy prize, as is the lot of a flea market maven.
For 2 days every year, the town of Lille hosts one of the largest flea markets in France. With over 10,000 sellers, this flea market is well worth the wait. Vintage clothing, antiques, books, furniture, and treasures as far as the eye can see, many frequent flea market visitors make this a short holiday to enjoy as a family, or with a few friends.
400 stalls populate Villeurbanne, selling rustic goods of all kinds. Sunday mornings see the influx of crowds begin to look through kitchenware, furniture, and antique knickknacks. The set-ups are a bit informal, but of crammed with exciting finds. Visitors can also stop at a restaurant or a café while in Lyon and enjoy the food that has made this section of France famous.
Every Sunday Montpellier holds its flea market for the casual tourist or the hardcore flea market expert alike. The first row of stalls is largely devoted to more superficial items for a quick purchase by a tourist, but delve deeper into the market, and wonders can be found.
The flea market in Nantes isn’t as big and impressive-looking as some of the other markets, but it’s still a wonderful resource for scrounging up antiques and interesting pieces that are hard-to-find, or one-of-a-kind. With around 100 vendors, there is still a good variety of sellers and items to sift through.
Bursting with colour and personality, Cours Saleya is open on Mondays with 200 stalls for visitors to browse. Most of the items sold are of high quality, including vintage clothing, glassware, collectibles, silver, woodworked items, a wide array of jewellery, and ceramics. This market is a hotspot for international flea market hunters, so be prepared for competition over coveted items.
Boasting 4 square miles consisting of 800+ stalls, La Grande Foire à Tout des Andelys has something for everyone. Handcrafted furniture, glassware, pottery, and rare knickknacks are just a few of the items that are regularly discovered.
Saturday mornings at Boulevard Alexandre Martin are home to a rustic flea market specializing in folk wares. Fishing gear, tools, gardening equipment and accessories, as well as homespun goods and antique crockery and flatware can be found for bargain prices.
This antique fair and flea market is open annually in the spring each year for 10 days. What makes this event stand out is, in addition to the varied antiquities, vendors also sell local ham and wine to visitors.
Saturday through Monday is when flea market enthusiasts congregate to navigate through the close quarters of the Marché Vernaison Flea Market on Rue des Rosiers. Lamps, jewellery, books, and furniture can be counted among the gems unearthed in this intimate, but always fascinating market.
The long history and tradition of the Montreuil Flea Market makes it unique. Steeped in the traditions of an open-air market, there are 500 vendors every weekend set up from morning until evening selling classic style clothing along with vintage and newer designs, as well as a collision of traditional music and foods with modern fare and tastes on both fronts.
300 vendors call Porte de Vanves hoe on the weekends selling wares that vary from linens and blankets to antique furniture. The market closes in the early afternoon, so early risers will have a head start on other visitors. Visitors can look for bargains, or higher-end goods that are difficult to find elsewhere.
St.-Ouen is one of the most popular flea markets in the country with nearly a quarter of a million visitors annually. This market is well known for vendors that sell wares, which run the gamut. Rustic fishing gear to fragile antiquities can be found within a few steps of each other, and all for impressive deals.
On the last weekend in July, 400 vendors descend on downtown Strasbourg to peddle delicate heirlooms, local cuisine, and the lowliest of flea market items that would normally be rejected by a discerning eye. However, everything is for sale here, where haggling for a fairer price is common.
The first weekend of each month (including Fridays) attracts vendors and visitors to Allées Jules Guesde. The difference between this market and others is that bargain hunters should not expect any deals. This market sells high quality wares that will show very little wear and are not likely to be easily found elsewhere. Allées Jules Guesde is for serious marketers who are seeking quality over low prices.
The 150 stall flea market located in Boulevard Beranger opens the first Sunday of each month with classical French antiquities in porcelain, lace, and numerous other materials. Furniture, clothing, and war memorabilia are also present in abundance throughout the picturesque market.
The market at Villeneuve-lès-Avignon is open every Saturday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. The market itself is not very big, but the selections are an impressive collection of fine French everyday items for gardening, handiwork, and household wares.
If you can’t get to France this year then the Peterborough Festival of Antiques is held twice a year in Easter and September and has become the Europe’s largest antiques fairs, held over two days at The East of England Showground in Peterborough.