Hunt for a rare or a collector’s item?

  • © ATOUT FRANCE / Patrice Thébault

Hunt for a rare or a collector’s item?

Try flea markets, second-hand markets and car boot sales!


Throughout the world, France has an enviable and envied reputation with regard to its haute-couture and ready-to-wear clothing, its perfumes, its luxury products, etc. Some visitors will hunt for a rare or a collector’s item at flea markets, or at second-hand markets, others will take advantage of their trip to acquire and take home objects which are symbolic of a know-how that is authentically French. 

Taking part in and visiting second-hand markets and car boot sales is the second leading recreation leisure activity for French people, after going to the cinema.

Every year, 50,000 events are organised in France, of which a large number are car boot sales, bringing together more than one million people! It should be noted that there is a difference between second-hand markets and antique fairs, which are usually reserved for the sector’s professionals, and street markets, flea markets and car boot sales, where professionals and non-professional occasional sellers rub shoulders. In any event, by spending a weekend antique hunting, there is no doubt that you will find original and unique treasures to take home!

Two big flea markets for antique-hunters are held in ocated on the outskirts of the capital: at the Porte de Vanves and the Porte de Saint-Ouen.
Magnificent items can also be found in the stylish shops of « Le Louvre des Antiquaires » [the Louvre of Antique Dealers] located on the Rue de Rivoli and in those of the Rue Bonaparte or the Rue Drouot, the headquarters of the renowned salesroom of the same name which is open to the public.

Second-hand booksellers are another one of Paris’ specialities. Their stands follow one another along the banks of the River Seine in the vicinity of the Saint-Michel district. You can find everything there at all prices: old books, all sorts of second-hand goods, comic books and post cards. Its attractions make it well worth visiting!

It would be impossible to close this subject without stopping by in Lille where the most famous and popular street market in France is held every year. It is the European event in September. There are more than 2 million “bradeux” (sellers), customers, strollers and antique-hunters of all kinds: the young, the not-so-young, children and families, who all mingle together for two days and two nights.