Paris Flea Market

>> Thursday, October 26, 2006

So it was getting towards our last couple of days in Paris and I found out about the Paris Flea Market - Marche Vernaison. It turns out it's the biggest Flea Market in Europe, and even better, it was a 20 minute bus ride from the bus stop half a block down from our hotel! We didn't have much time but decided we could go on our last day. Needless to say it was wonderful but heartbreaking to have to rush in a panic through everything with a growing realisation that there was no way I would be able to see everything.

It's really really huge. There are alleyways with garage size openings for shops lining them, large buildings filled with floors of shops, and streets and avenues lined with glass windowed shops. There are over 300 shops altogether. This is a typical corner:I took a few pictures, but the whole thing was quite rushed. I was also trying to be frugal and didn't buy very much. I was looking for one thing in particular, which you will see.

This was an example of one of the posh shops. There were lots of these. One had a stunningly lovely sewing box with little mother-of-pearl ornate spools, lined with velvet and with little pearl handled scissors, etc. and a beautifully inlaid box but I knew there was no way I could afford it and I didn't even ask for a price. Some of those things are more like museum pieces - nice to look at but you know you shouldn't touch!

Then we come to my favourite store. As soon as I saw these huge tables out front I got excited. This wall of buttons was also out front. Things like this tell me I have found my kind of store.
It was quite large, specializing of course in textiles, sewing things, and other related collectables:
Such as these antique umbrellas:

This was my favourite shelf and a glimpse of what I was looking for.
I really love little sewing kits, made from materials such as bakelite, that have little spools inside and a thimble for the lid. And this store had a whole box full of them!!! When I saw it a man was looking through it and I had to wait until he was finished. Which drove me nuts because he was obviously some sort of dealer and had made a stack of the ones that he was going to buy. I was worried there wouldn't be any left.

Sometimes these sewing kits are figural which is lovely, ie. they look like a little person, and in some cases they're shaped like things like walnuts and acorns. They had some shaped like acorns, which I really wanted but he took every single one of them! The worse part is he asked the woman at the counter what they were for and she had to tell him they were sewing kits, and show him how they have spools inside for thread.

I did end up buying this pretty red one, so I was happy after all. I added thread to the spool once I came home and as you can see you can put needles inside the spool which has its own lid too. Then the outer lid is a thimble which fits me perfectly. It's pictured next to the only other thing I bought, a nice little tin. It was originally for corn caps which is a bit icky but the inside is nice and bright and clean. I suspect I will put buttons inside.
So this was my favourite store, it's called Daniel et Lili (Marche Dauphine stand 128) and you can be sure I'll be visiting it again next time we go to Paris. Coming up next - craft shopping in London - and yes I did go to Liberty!


elisabetha October 26, 2006  

Browsing at the largest flea market - I'm so envious! Did you get those precious precious needle tins at the top there (first picture) too??

Claire Louise Milne October 26, 2006  

no, I didn't get those - we were rushing and I thought they'd probably be a bit expensive. That's the trouble with the pictures - I see things I'd like to have now!

Heather October 26, 2006  

Sounds like it was a really wonderful experience!!

astridpersons October 27, 2006  

paris is the best city for that kind of shops. Ore next time (second honeymoon ore second husband :-) ) als go to Belgium (brussels/ antwerp) ore/ and Holland (amsterdam, utrecht) and you will also find heaps of stores with lace, buttons, etc.You will love it.

wes November 30, 2009  


I was hoping you would have contact detail for the shop Daniel et Lili (Marche Dauphine stand 128).

I would like to contact the owner via email or telephone.

can you help ?

Wesley Burton

Claire Louise Milne November 30, 2009  

Sorry I don't have any contact details for Daniel et Lili.

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