|Treasures to be had at one of the vendors in a Parisian marché aux puces.|
It’s spring, you’re in Paris, and without doubt on your to do list is: I must visit one or more of the city’s famous flea markets.
Nothing compares to the experience. You will probably find some souvenir to take home and you just might discover a petit bijou and that could literally mean a piece of jewelry, but more likely a tiny painting, a pretty glass or a wooden box. On one visit I found — and immediately scooped up — a collection of 19th century fashion illustrations.
When reading articles about les marchés aux puces, we are told that we can find anything from antique treasures of every dimension, as in an armoire to a picture frame, to bric-a-brac which basically translates as “junk” but that’s half the fun, separating the wheat from the chaff if you will.
Let us never forget that major scientific studies have proven that it’s experiences that enrich our lives. Consider a visit to a Parisian flea market as an unforgettable experience.
Some advice, which you may very well know, but let’s just review the basics:
- Dress casually. I’ve heard, and experts say it’s true, that if one dresses the way you would for a shopping trip on the avenue Montaigne or rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré, prices are automatically raised. After all, the assumption is, you can afford to pay more.
2. Pick-pockets like flea markets. Never take your passport or any other important papers with you.
3. Many dealers take Visa and some MasterCard. You can mostly forget about American Express.
4. Everyone likes cash, but it is recommended not to use ATM machines near les puces, get your cash from a reputable exchange office or a machine near your hotel.
5. Keep your bag across your body and try to remember to keep your hand on it.
6. In general be cautious about where you carry money.
7. Leave your good jewelry in the vault at your hotel.
|The Gucci bag has no apparent logos and looks discreet. Who wants flashy designer advertising under any circumstances?|
The puces are open Saturday and Sunday.
The big three include:
- Porte de Clignancourt (St.-Ouen) in the 18th arrondissement
- Porte de Montreuil in the 20th arrondissement
- Porte de Vanves in the 14th arrondissement
Do tell if you have been to any of these and found something marvelous. And if you haven’t yet had the opportunity and you’re planning a trip, do schedule a few hours for this quintessentially Parisian experience.