We’re in Paris (in a small bubble with one other household) and have decided to show faith in 2021 being a better year than you-know-when! Today, we were up at the ‘crack of sparrows’ to head to the Porte de Vanves Marché aux Puces (flea market). Our hosts were convinced that no one would be there before 9am, “its dark they said”, but why would market stallholders change the habits of a lifetime? When we got there at 9am it was just light and all the stalls were up and running and by 10.30 it was packing up time!
It is huge (considering it’s on pavements in central Paris) – double sides of wide pavements and crammed with up to 380 stalls. I should say right up front, there was not a single piece of West German pottery in sight (my collecting passion) and not a great deal of vintage. Some stalls were a bit mix and match (pic 1). I thought the blue enamelled things were hospital pee collectors but John informed me they were vintage inhalers!
We played the “if money was no object game” – where we imagine Drew and T (the Salvage Hunters – see previous blogs!) are buying in a French market and there was some interesting stuff (pic 2) that we would definitely have brought home, if only…
Did I mention it was raining? It is always heart-breaking to see lovely old wooden things out in the rain. However, one stall was totally at ease (pic 3). Some things (and there was quite a bit of 50s/60s Vallauris ceramics from the south of France) were made to survive the rain.
Overall, it was fun and very interesting – we were the only foreigners and stallholders were very welcoming. After our 15 years living in France we were able to chat and negotiate quite well. I’m not sure that we would have got the lowest prices – things were marked up to “all the money” in most pieces – i.e. the dealers knew what they had and there was no profit left for us. So prices were far too high for us – something I could have sold for £100 was already costing €100 or more. The lesson there is that we need to avoid central Paris and go rural to find the bargains!
We had a brilliant time, finishing off with vin chaud (mulled wine) and some of the crispiest and best-tasting chips we’ve eaten. Happily, the food cost less than most things in the market. Drew and T would have been proud of us! Bonne Nöel!
Wishing you all a safe and happy winter season.