While in Paris over the weekend, I paid a visit to Hotel Drouot, the famed auction house in the 9th arrondissement. The Paris must-see (for any antique lovers) is comprised of 16 halls hosting 70 independent auction firms. Tom and I checked out the wares for this week’s auctions and even watched a sports auction in progress. It’s a great tourist stop, and of course, there’s always a deal to be had!
Drouot auction house
The Drouot auction house in Paris is THE auction house to visit when you’re in the capital city. Inaugurated in 1852, Drouot has come a long way and was ranked fifth in sales among Paris auction houses in 2008, after Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Artcurial and Tajan.
The main location is Drouot-Richelieu on the Rue Drouot, a stone’s throw from the Richelieu – Drouot metro station. You can check their website for upcoming auctions or pick up a weekly Gazette de l’Hôtel Drouot at a newsstand for the details of what’s on when.
Before heading to Drouot auction house, I checked out the upcoming auctions online and saw we were in for a treat. Artwork to sculpture to vintage Chanel to publicity posters and more all awaited us! In the days leading up to each auction, the public can visit Drouot Paris to see each item in person. So on any given day, you can browse a handful of rooms that showcase all the items ahead of time that will go to auction.
All the collections are expertly curated. Unlike a flea market where items are randomly scattered about, each auction consists of items from a specific category that have been selected and appraised.
We decided to browse the Chanel vintage room first and saw gorgeous purses, sunglasses, clothing, shoes and more. Well-dressed women flocked to each counter taking notes and admiring what they saw behind the glass. Some were there to browse, others were dealers and some were fashionistas just waiting to pounce on auction day.
We then made our way to a room of paintings at the Drouot auction house. Every single one was simply stunning and I assumed they’d be ridiculously expensive. But I was pleasantly surprised after checking online that some of the smaller pieces actually started at only 40 euros! The room of posters (affiches) was my favorite, I think, with colorful pieces that would pop on any wall. They were all in mint condition and many started around 100 euros.
What surprised me most about the Drouot auction house was that in many cases, the starting prices were very reasonable. I assumed that everything would be completely out of my price range, but that’s not the case. There are items of all price ranges and many items at the sports auction closed with only one or two bids. Something else that was interesting was the speed at which the auction took place. If you hesitated for a second, you were often too late and the item had already closed. So if you want something, bid before it’s too late!
Having never visited the Drouot auction house before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It turned out to be a really fun experience and I can’t wait to go back! If you’re into antiques and collectibles, Drouot is a must-see for anyone visiting Paris. You won’t feel out of place and you might be inspired to get in on the action. A truly unique souvenir awaits!