I explained in my previous post the the whole reason I went to Metz was to explore the Metz Flea Market which is a huge indoor flea market. I heard things like Metz is an expensive flea market so you probably won't find many deals. This simply isn't true and I'm about to tell you why. The brunt of my antique shopping has been done in Germany and Belgium. Compared to the US, the quality and price of antiques in Europe are usually way better. I have no problem finding cheap scores on beautiful items at markets in Germany and Belgium. I think most of the reason that French brocantes are more expensive (or appear to be more expensive) is because French antiques will always be more sought after, in the world of serious collectors and home decorators alike. French stuff sells. Period.
So I came to Metz thinking I would be shelling out more money, regardless if it wasn't Paris. I noticed a few things at this French market.
1) You can haggle. Just like at any other flea market. Prices are a little higher than say Tongeren, Belgium, or Nurnberg, Germany, flea markets....but they are willing to come down significantly more on prices. This is just my experience of one day in Metz, but I would see items that I was looking at and everytime I haggled the response was always "Oui." Now, the price you are haggling shouldn't be significantly less. You aren't trying to insult the seller, you are trying to come together on a price that is fair. While I had good luck haggling maybe, 5 Euro off of a 18 Euro item, my husband did not have as much luck asking almost 50% off of an expensive item. Keep in mind, they are probably making a living off of this so while you want a deal, you don't want to insult them, and trust me, you will know when they are insulted when they just walk away mid convo. By simply showing interest in an item, a seller noticed and told me "best price" on one of his items was 50% off of the price tag. In that instance, he is wanting to sell you the item quick, so take advantage of it if you want it and also, "best price" usually means best price so don't try to haggle in that case.
2) More quality antiques, less junk. When I travel to markets around Germany and Belgium there are a lot of treasures to be found. But there is also a lot of junk you might have to sort through. Some people love junk to do restoration projects. Some people don't want to bother with the junk and are looking for quality antiques. I think my style falls somewhere in the middle. But at the Metz Flea I noticed more quality antiques and less junk and this was a refreshing change. This is also why some of the prices might be a little higher. My head was spinning with how many amazing things I was finding at this market. I know in the past I said Tongeren was my Mecca of fleas but I was very impressed with this one. Plus, since it was indoors, you can conceivable go anytime of year. There is also a bar/restaurant so if your husband is less than thrilled about attending, you can drop him off there ;)
3) Communicate as best as you can. It is respectful to learn a bit of the language of the country you are visiting. I visit a lot of countries and there is no way I can be fluent in every language, but key words are helpful. Though I don't know French, it's good to know the basics. As I mentioned in my previous post, many people in Metz did not speak English, either because they didn't know how or because they just didn't want to and some of my readers have already pointed out that a lot of them don't want to or don't feel comfortable. I didn't let that detract me from making deals. Things that helped me communicate were, trying English first, trying German second (we are near the German border in Metz), trying Spanish (some words are similar to French and my Spanish actually did help a bit). And if all else fails, grab your cell phone and use the calculator to suggest prices or use your fingers. I used every one of those ways to try to communicate. Plus, one of the dealers even pulled out their phone for me to use. Bottom line, they are going to be helpful if they want to make a sale.
There are two big rooms filled with French antiques at this market. If you'd like to visit the Metz Flea (Les Puces de Metz) the flyer above shows you the next available dates. They are on Saturdays. Entrance is free and parking in the parking lot in front is free. For more info you can check out this website. The address is:
Metz Expo Evenements
Rue de la Grange aux Bois-BP 45059
57072 Metz Cedex 3-France
Now on to what I bought:
I didn't buy a ton of things, but I did buy almost everything I wanted. The first item I purchased was this little rusted globe bank. Anything with a globe is calling my name. And the little titles are in French.
The next item I bought was this French perfume bottle. I'd been passing them up at a lot of other flea markets so I finally decided to purchase one.
This item I had been going back and forth on. It was priced at 18 Euro for this Longwy dish. I loved the gold crackled club design and the beautiful red background. I decided I needed a new ring dish and asked if she'd take 13 Euro for it and she didn't even hesitate.
Though we finished the market and were about to head to the food expo, I still had the sense of unfinished business there. I had long been wanting a French chair and there were many there, but I was too afraid that the prices would be ridiculous. I spotted a beautiful 50's French chair with presumable reupholstered dark blue material. I just decided to see how much it was. The dealer said 40 Euro. I couldn't believe that price because I'd never seen a chair in such great condiction at such a low price. I asked him if he'd take 30 Euro. He didn't even hesitate and said yes, so I snatched this chair up for 30 Euro.
Like I said earlier, every price I offered was accepted so there are great deals to be found in Metz even if it appears to be expensive at first. I would love to take another trip back to Metz at some point. Absolutely.
If you want to see what the town of Metz looks like you can check out my last post here. Also stay tuned for my next post when I talk about the Food Expo.
So do you think you could use these tips at the Metz Flea? Did you see anything you would buy?