Shop Like a Diva in Paris

So. You want to go shopping. You want to find antiques. And ooh la, la, you’re in Paris, where the options for these two combinations are endless. What’s a shop-a-holic to do?

Enter Toma Haines, who runs the antiques shopping business, The Antiques Diva. As expected, Haines knows her way around a brocante. Last fall, I attended the Foire Nationale a la Brocante et au Jambon (The National Fair of the Flea Market and Ham), the largest antiques and gourmet food fair in France. But instead of wandering around clueless and scared to bargain en français, I was on an Antiques Diva Shopping Tour learning shopping secrets such as:

-You have more bargaining power in Paris than in other European cities.
-Buying two or three items from a single vendor usually gets you a deal.
-Dressing for success means leaving designer sunglasses at home.
-Larger items are usually better priced than smaller ones.
-It’s possible to negotiate free shipping for what you can’t carry home.

Best of all, when I wanted something, I didn’t have to bargain. Haines’ had a translator on the tour to bargain for us, ensuring we got the best deal possible.

Besides learning where and how to shop for antiques, joining an Antiques Diva tour of Paris is like shopping with long-lost friends. While touring Paris’ best antique and flea markets, I not only acquired a 1920s tripod and 1930s Parisian wallpaper book, but I acquired three new friends. Now that’s what I call a souvenir.