I decided to write an entire blog post on this singular place in France, just outside of Paris. The day after posting my last entry I made a trip to the Flea Market for the third time in my life. I Find, exploring the Flea Market is an adventure unto itself. In comparison to my husband I am a novice. He has been coming to the Flea market on business for years and even developed the concept, procured the merchandise and brought it to Marshall Field’s Department store years ago. It was called “Marshall Field’s Presents The Paris Flea Market”. is there anyone reading this who remembers this event?
Here is a little history on the market directly from the wikipedia site:
Another theory maintains that “flea market” is a common English calque from the French “marché aux puces” (literally “market of the fleas”). The first reference to this term appeared in two conflicting stories about a location in Paris, France in the 1860s which was known as the marché aux puces (flea market).
The traditional and most-publicised story is in the article “What Is A Flea Market?” by Albert LaFarge in the 1998 winter edition of Today’s Flea Market magazine: “There is a general agreement that the term “Flea Market” is a literal translation of the French marché aux puces, an outdoor bazaar in Paris, France, named after those pesky little parasites of the order Siphonaptera (or “wingless bloodsucker”) that infested the upholstery of old furniture brought out for sale.”
The second story appeared in the book Flea Markets, published in Europe by Chartwell Books, has in its introduction:
In the time of the Emperor Napoleon III, the imperial architect Haussmann made plans for the broad, straight boulevards with rows of square houses in the center of Paris, along which army divisions could march with much pompous noise. The plans forced many dealers in second-hand goods to flee their old dwellings; the alleys and slums were demolished. These dislodged merchants were, however, allowed to continue selling their wares undisturbed right in the north of Paris, just outside of the former fort, in front of the gate Porte de Clignancourt. The first stalls were erected in about 1860. The gathering together of all these exiles from the slums of Paris was soon given the name “marché aux puces”, meaning “flea market”, later translation.
Given the name, one might surmise that a Flea market contains mostly old, cheap “stuff”. Au Contraire. I think the market pretty much has something which would suit any person’s taste and style. Tres Chic, Tres Cher-It’s all THERE! It covers an expansive area. The little alleys seem endless.
Of late, a lot of mid century modern items are available because of it’s resurging popularity. I should have taken more pictures but got immersed in taking pictures of the types of things I like looking at. What most appeals to me are silver (flatware and holloware), dishes and vintage clothing. Regardless, the assortment of “goods” is so vast, it’s hard to showcase it all. Here are just some examples:
Here is just one of many Silver stands:
Here are some other examples of beautiful dishes that are scattered within many of the stalls:
Here are just a few examples of other stuff available:
Lovely Italian Murano/Burano Chandelier!
I LOVE these two “Louis Louis” type chairs!
Who couldn’t use a Lobster ensconced in a cloche?
Here is another item that tickled my Fancy. I couldn’t Figure out where such a piece could be placed in my own home, but I loved thinking about it being somewhere in my life: #ilovebows
While strolling through a particular alley I glimpsed at some art (animal heads/faces as portraits) that caused me to pause for a second and say to myself: “How Bizarre! Who would buy that?” Within seconds, my husband who was several feet behind me, asked me to come back and see something. Surprisingly (given his exquisite taste) and then again not so surprisingly (given his penchant for eccentricity) he had actually stopped and taken quite a Fascination with these “bizarre” portraits. The artist explained that he simply took old portraits and painted various animal heads over the human faces. Clearly, this art would be a conversation starter! The saying: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” certainly applies in this case. I deeply regret that I didn’t stop and take a photograph just for proof. Needless to say, the art wasn’t purchased this trip.
The Flea market definitely seems to be a popular destination. Since my last visit to the market in 2011, the French designer and Paris native, Philippe Starck opened a restaurant within the market that was crowded and is reportedly doing great business.
I Fully realize that there are endless things to see and do in both France and Paris. If, however, you are looking for something a bit off the beaten path and enjoy collecting or simply seeing the unique and one of a kind treasures that the Flea Market offers…You might enjoy trying out this adventure. Bon Chance Mon Ami!!!
(I DID happen to Find a few extraordinary things within the market this trip. I will be listing them under my FINDS section soon).
I would love to hear about your impressions of the Paris Flea Market if you have been or any Flea Market Finds you care to share!
I remember the Marshall Field’s flea market quite well – my downstairs bathroom mirror frame was a find there! 🙂
I too remember the MF Paris Flea market. It is why going to the actual market is on my list of to-do’s. My sisters hope to someday go together. We always shop better together. Can’t wait to see your Flea Markey Finds.
How could any of us forget the Field’s Paris Flea Market? I am lounging on one of the pillows I purchased as I type this. Love the pics Berit. Love the blog. Keep them coming.