The Paris Flea Market at Piccadilly Prairie is a fantastic event. It really does bring the lights of Paris to gloomy, winter Minneapolis skies. This article came out in the Southwest Journal at the end of January, just in time for the flea market. I'm honored to be able to write and photograph about such a great place. It's so unique and so much fun.
Once a year at the end of January, Piccadilly Prairie brings the lights of Paris to the gray, winter skies of Minneapolis.The store’s Paris Flea Market, in its fourth year in 2016, had over 1,000 people buy tickets online for opening night.
“Something really clicked, and it exploded,” said Lacey Brooker, the store’s owner.
Now the Paris Flea Market is an anticipated annual event that takes place the last weekend in January. The next Paris Flea Market is Jan. 27–29.
This year’s Paris Flea Market will be an even bigger event thanks to the store’s new location, which opened in November. The store relocated from the Fulton neighborhood to Southdale Center, just a couple miles away.
“We have the same rustic, boho vibe as we did in our previous location but with more space and better parking,” said Brooker. “And when you’re done shopping there’s always dinner and a movie.”
Piccadilly Prairie’s new space has little vignettes, with sections dedicated to kids, Minnesota and local artists, as well as other fun areas to discover.
“We have more artisan gifts, like apple jams and honey sticks,” Brooker said. “And we added more local artists that craft everything from pillows to candles.”
The vibe is cool, creative and modern mixed with history. Piccadilly Prairie’s commitment to authenticity is mixed in throughout the store in refurbished pieces that keep the original hardware, always maintaining the unique nature of each piece.
The same workmanship and history are also in the new store’s design. From the 100-year-old Minnehaha Avenue bricks in the front windows to hand-laid, repurposed wood designs on the walls throughout the store, Piccadilly Prairie has a warm and cozy atmosphere that’s truly unique.
The store is a fun place to shop all year round, but the Paris Flea Market is a special event. It mimics a European flea market with many pieces brought in from Europe.
“For the Paris Flea we source as much as we can from France,” Brooker said. “We have pickers that live abroad and some that travel back and forth. The rest of our selection during the Paris Flea is French-inspired.”
Brooker’s eye for unique, authentic pieces is evident everywhere in the store. Beautiful linens, clothing, furniture, hand-poured candles and jewelry hang everywhere, mixed in with other great treasures. It makes the store’s Parisian atmosphere shine like Paris itself.
On opening night last January, people were lined up outside in the cold, waiting for the doors to open. They walked in to great finds, fun conversation and wine to enjoy while shopping (it is French, after all).
The always-warm atmosphere of Piccadilly Prairie is particularly radiant with the Paris Flea Market. The little store that started near the corner of 50th & Xerxes transforms itself into a magical Paris shop each January. They even greet everyone with a friendly “Bonjour” upon arrival.
Piccadilly Prairie stylishly displays pieces as you would actually use them in your own home. Linens and beautiful dishware are displayed on a gorgeous shabby-chic table in the corner, drawings and photos are hanging high up on the walls and tapestries, clothing and chairs are set up in a way to help you visualize them in your own space.
“Along with the French country pieces, which are mainly shabby-chic whites, we added Victorian pieces last year. And many of the French pieces are handmade,” Brooker said.
Brooker is also never lacking a fun sense of humor. A French porcelain pig holds a small chalkboard with “Oui, oui, oui” written on it, making you think of the classic fairy tale with a French flair. It’s the stories and the subtle, whimsical touches that make the Paris Flea Market a truly extraordinary event.
January is always pretty cold in Minnesota, and it can make winter a little too gloomy for a little too long. But the warmth and beauty of the Paris Flea Market definitely brings a bright spot amid the dreary winter.
Minneapolis may be a long way from Paris, but thanks to Piccadilly Prairie, it seems like it’s right around the corner.