Paris is home to some of the greatest auction houses and auction traditions in the world. Of course Christie’s and Sotheby’s have locations here. But, Paris also has homegrown auction houses. One thing that makes these Paris auction houses great is that everyone can participate. Paris auction houses sell everything from cups and saucers to gold cigarette cases to paintings and art worth millions.
All of the auctions start in the afternoon. A friend told me all the auctioneers and big spenders go eat lunch and drink together. There, they decide what things should sell for what amount and to whom. Then, they go back and auction their wares to the bidder who was in on the action at lunch.
That may have been the case at one time. But now, all of the auctions are online, so who knows if that still could be true. People from all over the world bid – and win – on items sold nearly every day from Paris auction houses. Recently a T-Rex skeleton sold for more than 2 Million Euros. There are many Paris auction houses, but here are a few.
Hôtel Drouot is probably one of the most famous Paris auction houses you have never heard of. The main location is a big building with many auction rooms under one roof. It has other locations around the city with even more auction rooms.
About 70 auction firms participate in the Drouot organization. So there is always something being auctioned – except in August. Nothing happens in August in Paris auction houses.
Drouot began in the 1850s. Its location is in the 9th arrondissement and is easily accessed by the Métro. Just look for the station that bears its name, Richelieu-Drouot. Check out Drouot Digital.
Artcurial – One of the Big Paris Auction Houses
The spectacular Hôtel Marcel Dassault is home to Artcurial. This former private home (yes, a home for one family), was built in 1844. Not only is the house grand, it is a pretty grand location for an auction house – at the Rond Pont Champs-Élysées. Artcurial is supposedly third in sales of the Paris auction houses after Christie’s and Sotheby’s. Artcurial has fun automobile sales if you are looking for vintage Bentley’s and Rolls-Royces.
Tajan – Another of the Big Paris Auction Houses
Tajan is another of the Paris auction houses specializing in high quality, high dollar art. Its sales range from 20th century art deco masterpieces to fine medieval works of art to antiquities. Plus everything else, including books, fashion and vintage suitcases. Take a look at Tajan’s website.
Even if you do not participate at one of the Paris auction houses, you can have fun watching – live or at home. While you are in Paris, drop in and watch live. Or, you can watch live at home on your computer. Have fun, listen to the language and enjoy the fun, without spending a dime?
You may be surprised by the amount of money some of these things can bring. But, then again, you may get lucky and find a perfect souvenir.