How to Flea Market for your Wedding, p.3: The European Edition

How to Flea Market for your Wedding, p.3: The European EditionHallo friend Vintage Feed Shack, At the article you read this time with the title How to Flea Market for your Wedding, p.3: The European Edition, have prepared this article well for you to read and take the information in it. Article ANTIQUING, Article EUROPEAN, Article FLEA MARKETING, Article FLEA MARKETING FOR YOUR WEDDING, Article FRANCE, Article French, Article HOW TO FLEA MARKET FOR YOUR WEDDING, Hopefully the contents of this post we write you can understand. Okay, happy reading.

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How to Flea Market for your Wedding, p.3: The European Edition

As I've already shared, I spent my younger years following my Mom around European flea markets and I spent the last three years reveling in them myself as my husband and I had the awesome opportunity to live in Germany again. Today, I'm going to tell you my top tips on navigating those European flea markets. Hope you enjoy!

And if you missed my two previous antiquing posts, check them out here:
How to bargain at a flea market and The groundwork of antiquing
... or just click on the label 'flea marketing for your wedding' to access all the posts!

The annual brocante market in Rodemack, France
TIP NO. 1 | Blend in. In my last set of tips, I recommended dressing down for markets. When you're in Europe, I definitely recommend the same but I would also say to avoid wearing clothing with brand names or anything that screams "Hi, I'm from America!" This is actually pretty solid advice for any traveling abroad but I'm mentioning it for the markets for one reason: Blending in might help you score a better price. If it's clear to a vendor that you're foreign, certain things may go through his mind, such as "If this person has the funds to fly internationally, she probably has the funds to pay my highest price, too!" While this thought process isn't true of all vendors, it really does make sense. If a vendor thinks you are on vacation {even if you are an actual local like I was}, they are going to assume that you must have disposable income and therefore can afford to spend more money. Don't even let that thought cross his mind - dress plainly. First impressions, ladies! This time, it's all about not impressing!

Beautiful French frames at the Porte de Vanves market - hello, wedding chalkboard signs!
TIP NO. 2 | If you don't speak the language, try to keep that a secret as long as possible. Don't chatter loudly with your friends or hubby in English - that's the quickest way to attract attention and label yourselves as the "loud Americans" who will most certainly be up-charged. Talk quietly and discreetly with each other. And try to learn a little bit of the language - more on that in Tip No. 4.

So many pretty kitchen canisters at the Porte de Vanves market in Paris.
Wouldn't these be gorgeous floral containers at a summery red-and-white wedding on the Cape? Mais oui!
TIP NO. 3 | Lady Gaga is your anthem. It's going to take me a minute to explain this one so be patient. ;) It's a fact that European antiques in the States cost quite a bit more than they do in Europe. Just like American antiques cost more in Europe - hello, import fees! Sooo ... when a vendor tells you the price, do NOT react with surprise/excitement/shock/glee/etc. One of my best friends had never been to a European flea market and the first time we went to the market in Tongeren, Belgium, together she just couldn't believe the great prices. Her jaw would literally drop every single time a vendor quoted her a price. She'd let out a series of "OMGs" and even tell the vendor "what a great price!" My friend was basically committing the cardinal sin of antiquing and a little piece of me died every time she did it. Why? Because now that vendor had her pegged as an easy sale and bargaining was pretty much off the table. And if my friend asked about something else from that vendor, I promise you the price would have been inflated because he'd know he had the room to do so. Don't make the same mistake as my bestie did in her early days of marketing - play Lady Gaga on your way to the markets if you have to ... do anything you have to do to keep your poker face firmly in place. ;) 

These hearts at the Paris flea market had me at hello. They are actually prayer markers from European churches
but I think they'd be beautiful used in an engagement sesh or decor for a wedding cake!
I have one for sale, too - check out my Instagram, @classic_bride, to see!
Or just msg me at for more info.
TIP NO. 4 | Do yourself a favor and learn some language basics. Just learning a few basics like numbers and greetings can make a world of difference in the European flea marketing world. In France, it's often considered rude if you don't acknowledge a vendor by saying "Bonjour" among other pleasantries. I once visited the Marché aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt in Paris with a French friend of mine and while I quietly said "Bonjour" to the vendor, she didn't hear me and started complaining in French how rude Americans can be. Luckily, my French friend had heard me and spoke to the woman in French correcting the situation ... or at least trying to. Another time, I asked about a small, dirty glass bottle at the annual September market in Lille, France, and the vendor responded, "cinquante centimes" {or 50 cents}. I hadn't learned the word for cents so all I caught was 50 and I put the bottle down, shocked, thinking he wanted 50 euro for it. I shook my head a bit, said "Merci" and got ready to stand up and move on. The vendor chuckled because he realized what was happening and dug out a 50 cent piece from his pocket, showing me. My friend, B, and I couldn't stop laughing at my silly faux pas and I gladly forked over 50 cents. The bottom line: Know some general pleasantries, use them and know your numbers like the back of your hand. Practice them with a friend on your way to a market. B&I once sang our French numbers back and forth to each other on the metro in Paris and I'm sure other metro riders thought we were a bit deranged but we had our numbers down and we were ready for that market!

One more story:
One of the first markets I went to in France {Thionville}, I was still practicing my numbers and getting everything down pat. I asked about a cute settee and the husband-and-wife vendors rattled off a price buried somewhere in a long French sentence. I was completely lost and again asked, "le prix?" I couldn't understand the number they were saying and neither of them spoke English. I ended up having to leave the settee behind, still not even knowing what price they were asking! Why? Because I was unprepared. Don't let this happen to you. First, I should have known my numbers better but even if I didn't, I could have avoided what happened by showing up prepared ... If I had followed Tip No. 5, I may have even come home with that settee:

Vide-greniers are ah-ma-zing. Most people set up booths right in front of their homes and while most of the stuff isn't appealing {baby clothes, toys, Ikea leftovers}, you can sometimes find outrageously good deals on the few antiques that are there.
TIP NO. 5 | Arrive prepared. Arm yourself with the following:

- A wheely cart, aka my savior. 
If you're on vacation and don't have a wheely cart, an emptied-out suitcase with rollers will work in a pinch. Whether wheely cart or suitcase, you can pack so much treasure in these and you won't have to carry any of it which equals complete amazingness. You're welcome!

- Bungee cords.
I can't tell you how many times I've bungeed bigger items to my wheely cart - chairs, sleds, vintage suitcases, champagne drying racks, you name it, it's been bungeed. Again, this is great, b/c it means you don't have to physically carry that item and it leaves your hands free to look at more treasures. It also decreases the number of trips you'll have to make to your car, hotel room, etc. to unload.

- Pen and paper or a phone. 
You can use the pen and paper to communicate with a vendor if you aren't understanding the numbers he's saying. Or you can do the same thing on a phone by typing the numbers into the keypad. This can also be a great way of haggling - you show him your price, he'll show you his and the bargaining dance begins.

- Water and snacks.
If you're a diehard marketer, you better pack some sustenance as not all markets have food booths or nearby restaurants. You don't want to feel lightheaded and dizzy while you're trying to concentrate on finding awesome bargains.

- Flashlight.
If you're one of those early birds and want to hit the flea market at first light, bring a flashlight. In the winter months, the sun often won't rise till 8 or 8.30 am but those markets can still get going at around 6 or 7 so don't be left out in the dark!

- Layers of clothing.
Like anywhere, temperature and weather can change at a moment's notice. It sucks to have to shop while you're freezing so make sure you pack extra layers if you think you might need them. We were even known to pack hand and foot warmers in the winter months.

My bungee cords + wheely cart are in full action at this tiny flea market right outside of Paris!
And that antique mint chair is now sitting pretty in front of my vanity. 
Hope you find these tips useful! As always, if you have any tips or comments, I'd love to hear!

COMING UP | Next week, I'll share a few of my top favorite markets in Europe!

Want more? 
- Read my review of the annual Lille, France market.
- Check out a few of my favorite flea market finds from Belgium and beyond.
- Head over to my friend Ashley's blog, Design Eur Life, to read her awesome flea marketing tips. And while you're there, enter her spring contest to win a gorge vintage zinc watering can!

Hello, happiness! {Rodemack, France}
All images by moi.

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