It’s early Saturday morning. You dash out to board the Metro for a half hour trip to have about the most fun possible – and still stay within the bounds of the law and morality. Yes, it’s the Paris flea market and it may be at its best in Winter when the Parisians have it to themselves. I prefer the smaller fleas and broquantes to the Puces at Clignancourt in St. Ouen. The large one (15 acres!) is worth the occasional visit but for the real deal, small is the way to go.
After a few visits, you get to know what’s available and who the different dealers are. You begin to develop a sense of the prices and a shopping list. Do bargain.The vendors are real characters, have a great sense of humour and like it when you are as bold as they are. One strategy I developed was to take along a decoy: one of my pretty daughters. Get her to bid. Sexism working in my favour for a change. However, there was the time a heavily moustached, portly vendor tried to pick up both me AND my daughter. Gosh.
There is serious treasure out there for those with the vision and persistence to dig for it.
Try to know what you are looking for. At least have an idea of a particular color you’d like to collect, or a material – like silver plate or porcelain.
This lovely treasure was made for cafe au lait, but serves as akitchen catch- all.
I love my hotel plate cutlery which I collect in different patterns. They normally go for one euro a piece. One day, however, a man offered me a full bag, maybe 15 pieces for 5 euros. I asked him why he was selling them so cheaply and he said he was just tired of them. A bit fishy….
The big splurge was a pair of Empire era bergeres chair. I had them recovered in linen.
They are in our Knowlton house now.
We arrive Monday morning so I will have a long wait until Saturday morning but I’ll be posting flea market sights and finds every week.