Brocante, vide grenier or marché aux puces, what are the differences?

French markets are fun. You can sometimes find very old things for a small price. There are brocante markets, vide greniers and marchés aux puces. But what exactly are the differences? In this article I’ll explain it to you.


Vide Grenier

A vide grenier literally means: Empty attic. You could therefore compare this with a flea market. Every individual can sell his stuff on this market. You can find clothes, toys, kitchen items that are no longer used, books and old furniture. What I like about these markets is that there are sometimes great things sold for a small price. You’ll find out that the French store a lot of stuff and don’t throw anything away so quickly! I personally find the vide grenier the most fun to visit.




A brocanteur is a professional seller of used stuff. The brocanteur must be registered in a special trade register. The things that are sold on the markets are usually not terribly expensive, but not very cheap either. The difference between a brocanteur and an antique dealer: most items are not older than 100 years old and the seller usually doesn’t really bother to restore or repair the items.


Marché aux puces

The marché aux puces is also often called ‘Les Puces’. In English this means flea market. But make no mistake, this is not a flea market like we know it. In contrast, in these markets you will find things that have a lot of value. Furniture from more than 100 years ago, jewelry, old books, paintings and other art objects. So here you will also find many antique dealers.


The differences between these French markets 

In summary, you can see it this way:

  • On vide greniers you can find individuals who sell their ‘junk’ and old stuff. The prices are low, but you rarely find great items there.
  • At the brocante markets you will find professional marketers who have already selected their things for a certain value and rarity. therefore the prices are a bit higher.
  • On the marché au puces you will find mostly things of high value. The antique dealers have invested time to restore and repair the items. This makes the prices higher.


How do I know where and when the French markets are organized?

Via this website you can search per department when the following markets take place in your area.


Finally: in addition to these markets, you naturally also have the ‘normal’ vegetable markets and the markets for tourists where you can mainly buy souvenirs. For more information about this markets, visit the local the tourist office or your hotel or campsite.

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