Paris Day 5: Flea Markets

One of the great things to do on a Saturday in Paris is explore one of the vast flea markets and Les Puces de Saint-Ouen is one of the largest in the world. It’s a sprawl of high-to-low end antiques, treasures, junk bins and everything in between. Ringing the market are knock-off hawkers, questionable vendors and vagrants. It’s a fantastic blend of humanity.

I didn’t take too many photos as I was caught up in just experiencing. The market is a combination of arcades, shops and street merchants.

The wide range of items are delightful. How about a carriage?

 

We spent several hours wandering the streets and pawing through jewelry. I happened upon a gorgeous Hermes silk scarf and a pretty brooch. Linda found a cute pair of cufflinks. Most interesting was a discussion with an expat who left a career in design to live in Paris and work with clients around the world buying antiques and decor.

 

We escaped the heat and sun for a nice leisurely lunch at a cafe on the far corner of the market (not the one pictured above). I’m still comparing Nicoise salads . . . This one so far has been one of my favorites.

By mid-afternoon we were ready to head back toward St. Germain where we continued our shopping extravaganza by focusing on souvenir shopping for loved ones back home (Christmas is coming!)

Tacky tourist shopping has certainly been decaying in Paris. There’s little point spending hours visiting shop after shop as they all sell the same mass manufactured merchandise.

Years ago I purchased an Eiffel Tower metal statue. It’s heavy. Solid.  The same statues are now lightweight trinkets. Cheaper than ever before and scooped up by the handful by tourists. I would like another, but simply can’t find myself spending the money.  The mass merchandise does serve it’s purpose. Mementos for children and friends. Me? I’ll save those few dollars and instead invest in a few quality pieces . . . did you hear me mention Hermes earlier?

Amid restaurants, tacky tourist shops, bars and restaurants you’ll also find delightful crepe windows and stands.Excuse the blurriness by I was juggling shopping bags! I choose a simple crepe with butter and sugar while Linda detoured into the chocolate selection. And yes, it’s hot! We’ve been carting our umbrellas around all day. At the market we used them for shade and all too soon we ended up using them for rain. It’s been beautiful all day long – you can see we’ve been blessed with an abundance of blue sky. However, Paris is ever so fickle.

We have an early start tomorrow and since we’ve just enjoyed late afternoon crepes we decided to not have a late dinner and instead stopped at a market so we could picnic in our room.

After five nights in Paris our suitcases and purchases have spread about the room quite a bit. Tomorrow it’s off to pick up a rental car and head a bit south to the Loire Valley. But first, it’s time to relax with a glass of wine (or two), and pack for the journey continues.

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