Parisians treasure heritage and objects built to last (and last beautifully), and the city boasts a wide and stunning variety of oddities and worldly gems. The Paris antiques at vide-greniers and brocantes are some of the best souvenirs that I and my (chicly) slim wallet have found during our travels. After all, souvenir is a French word.
Though they both have flea-market qualities, brocantes tend to have sellers who focus on specific items (antique keys, vintage handkerchiefs), while your typical vide-greniers (which is French for “empty the attic”) are more like a neighborhood garage or stoop sale: regular people selling a wide array of their personal belongings to make an extra buck.
These sales can range from folding-table sidewalk sales of one man’s dusty trash to organized, indoor affairs featuring crêpe stands and even live music for you to enjoy during your perusal of Paris antiques. During the prime months of April and May, you’re sure to stumble on one or two outdoor sales, but if you’re planning to go on a specific day or in a certain arrondissement, do some online research ahead of time. Brocabrac Paris and Points de Chine are both great resources for planning your treasure dig.