Paris Bastille Antiques : treasures and oddments along the waterfront

There are a lot of flea markets, antiques shows and secondhand goods sales in Paris streets, in this time of he year, almost every week-end. One of the most nice and interesting “salon” takes place twice a year – in May and November – for 10 days on place de la Bastille and along the banks of Canal Saint-Martin.

Part of it takes place under a large tent, with one entry on boulevard de la Bastille in front of the opera, and the other one on boulevard Bourdon. It is the smartest, and the hottest (on sunny days) part of it.

There you can find most valuable goods, furniture, paintings, carpets, books, glass works…

oriental antiques…

ancient plates and African art…

and jewels to die for.

But it can be really hot in here, so step out in the open air.

a lot of smaller stands offer you all kind of secondhand and sometimes rare goods, in a warm atmosphere.

like this welcoming Bedouin camp offering beautiful kilims.

And it is really nice walking along the outside alleys overlooking canal Saint-Martin.

You can go from one side to the other by the footbridge over the Arsenal harbor, and you may feel the breeze.

It is more casual too. You may find wonders, and if you are interested in something, debate price with the stand owner, and if you wish some time to make a decision, ask for an invitation (or two) to come back.

Some stands specialize in a single kind of thing

like ancient linen

frames and paintings

or posters (mind the apparent disorder and the setting of this kitsch nativity and the carnal embrace on Slogan poster. )

Most have an appealing setting

or show an elaborate ” bric-a-brac”

in a surrealistic spirit.

Even if you don’t feel like buying anything, take a walk in there on a sunny day, you’ll have a great time.

“Antiquités Brocante” place de la Bastille, Metro Bastille, up to May 18, open everyday 11 to 19, entrance 8 euros. Next session : November 6 to November 16, same schedule.

And if you wish more information on when and where you can find this kind of event, go to :


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