A Visit to the Paris Flea Market with the Antiques Diva & Co.

P1090840Interesting shop at the Paris Flea Market offering an eclectic mix of decor, art, antiques and knick knacks.

No visit to Paris would be complete without a trip to the enchanting Marché aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt- famously known as the Paris Flea Market. Lucky for me, my friend Toma Haines the Chief Executive Diva at The Antiques Diva & Co. and a design ambassador for BlogTour NYC 2012, arranged a first-class guided tour of the flea market for me with her Paris-based guide, Kim Poulin.

P1090959-picsayElegant antiques in a little shop tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the Marché aux Puces. One of the benefits of a guided shopping tour is seeing the hidden treasures that those in the know, know. I would definitely have missed this little gem had I visited the Paris Flea Market on my own.

Kim and I met in front of Notre Dame, and made our way to the nearby Metro station. During the short Metro ride, Kim shared several stories of her antiquing adventures with past clients. One gentleman, Kim told me, furnished his new home with a container’s worth of amazing flea market finds – including a pair of vintage Louis Vuitton trunks. And then there was the charming story of the lovely ladies visiting Paris from the Mid-west who spent a fun-filled afternoon at the flea market with each finding a small treasure to bring home as a reminder of their magical trip to Paris.

P1090864 Vintage Travel Trunks and Riding Boots.

As we stepped out of the Metro station, I was grateful that Kim was guiding the way. She confidently steered us through the confusion and chaos of the street merchants hawking their street wares, and deftly navigated us past the regular flea market stands. As we moved through the crowds, Kim enthusiastically shared the intriguing story behind the origins of the Paris Flea Market and how it subsequently developed into what is now a world-renowned shopping destination for tourists, designers and celebrities.

P1090931-picsayArt Deco Shop: Hollywood Glamour decor and Chanel accessories grace this beautiful window vignette.

Since I had previously mentioned to  Kim that I was interested in getting a feel for the design and decor aspect of the Paris Flea Market for this publication, and on a personal note I was interested in looking for vintage fashion and jewelry – she knew exactly what shops to show me. I was already thoroughly impressed with Kim’s terrific historical knowledge of the Paris Flea Market, and her admirable antiques expertise, but it was her warm, and friendly relationships with shop merchants that made the tour experience extra special.

P1090846 Upcycled vintage jewelry gives birth to devastatingly beautiful trinkets at Au Grenier de Lucie. I love the vintage scarf, sunglasses and jewelry on the mannequin head. It brings to mind a group of select women ( Sophia Loren, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and Grace Kelly ) who will forever epitomize the glamorous life.

Kim introduced me to several merchants including the adorable father and daughter proprietors of Au Grenier de Lucie a vintage fashion and jewelry shop (which I absolutely loved). As they showed me around their shop, they shared interesting tidbits about their recent vintage fashion and jewelry finds, and Heidi, the daughter, excitedly shared the story of an up and coming jewelry designer ( her wares are shown above) that was creating new jewelry designs by upcycling vintage trinkets.

P1090868 Shoppers enjoying an afternoon of antiquing and treasure hunting at The Paris Flea Market.

As the afternoon progressed, we toured dozens of  more beautiful shops (The Paris Flea market is a grouping of several flea markets and according to various tour guides is comprised of between 2,000 to 3,000 stalls and shops.) that Kim had selected to perfectly match the things I wanted to see.  I knew that had I visited the Paris Flea Market on my own, that I probably wouldn’t have visited the right combination of shops-and most likely would have missed many of the great shops she took me to.

P1090976Vintage Scandinavian furniture and accessories captured my attention in this little shop that was quietly tucked away and nestled against its sister store (a shop of taxidermic wonder) surrounded by a lush garden (pictured below) decorated with petrified wood furniture.  It was an amazing, luxe oasis amongst the many shops and stalls of the Paris Flea Market. Truly beautiful and it filled my heart with joy.P1090978

Visiting the Paris Flea Market with Kim felt like I had spent a fun-filled afternoon shopping with a friend I’d known for years. Her warm and engaging personality, coupled with her wonderfully rich historical knowledge of the Marché aux Puces, and her exquisite ability for choosing the absolute perfect combination of shops to meet my interests made for a delightful, interesting and well-edited shopping experience. I loved it and would recommend the Antiques Diva & Co. guided tour to those traveling to Paris, or, actually for that matter, any number of European destinations.

Resources: Design and antiques travel tour provided by The Antiques Diva & Co.

Related: Toma Haines’ Style Maker Look Book on The Decorating Diva

The Decorating Diva is a luxury home design magazine and lifestyle journal dedicated to the concept of living a stylish and comfortably elegant life at home – joyfully surrounded by the beautiful things you love.Join, Carmen, The Decorating Diva’s founder, as she blogs about sophisticated, smart, stylish and beautiful decor for your home and shares her decorating and style advice with you.Follow her and several of our wonderful contributors on inspirational design trips as they explore enchanted lands both far and near – returning with a delightful treasure trove of design finds for your home.