Toma Clark Haines is The Antiques Diva and owns Europe’s largest antiques touring and buying services company. Recently, after a visit to 1st Dibs at the New York Design Center with some IFDA members, she shared her secrets to shopping the Paris Flea Market.
Check out Toma’s top 5 secrets when visiting the Paris Flea Market:
1. If you only have a short amount of time to shop, go to Marche Paul Bert and Marche Serpette. This is the more formal Paris Flea Market you expect and where you will find the best of the best. “It’s not cheap. You are paying for that convienence of pre-choreographed shopping.”
2. Negotiate! 20% is a standard discount and verify they are giving you the export price. Speak a little French – even if you only know how to say hello. They will appreciate your efforts.
3. The further you go on the Rue de Rosiers past Rue Paul Bert, the better prices become. Although it is not as clean or organized, you can find unique items and it is considered the bargain of the Paris Flea Market. These are the forgotten markets:
4. If you are planning to buy antiques, contact a shipper before you go to set up an account. Some shippers to note are Adam Crease, Chudleys, Air Sea Freight, Edet, Alan Franklin, and Headley Humpers. By the way, all antiques – if over 100 years old – are duty free!
5. The best time to go: February, March, April, June, September, October and November. Avoid: Easter, May (3 religious holidays), and the last half of July and August. December and January can be difficult.
I cannot wait to join Toma on one of her trips but I do know that if I am left to tackle the Paris Flea Market on my own, the Diva’s secrets will for sure help me navigate and experience it to the fullest.
Photos courtesy of Toma Clark Haines