The French Flea Market

As I finish my second week in the city of lights I think I’ve begun to leave the honeymoon phase of the trip. I’ve done most of the “tourist” attractions, and I’ve really begun trying to find my own way around the city.  This past Saturday my friend and I decided to head farther out of the city center more towards the suburbs and wander around.  It was amazing. The area we went to wasn’t even considered the suburbs of Paris, yet it felt so much calmer and less hectic than the area I was used to.

The atmosphere of the market may have been due to the weather the day we were there. It was sunny for the first time this week, and it actually got warm, but I feel like everything up in the northern part of Paris just moved a little bit slower than the center of the city.  I knew it was because the center of the city is crazy busy, but I never felt like it was super hectic when I was in the city. But the moment I got away from the business and tourist areas I noticed the quiet and calm very quickly.

After my friend and I got off the metro, we were greeted with sunshine and slightly fresher air. We were pleased to know that our decision to travel 40 minutes away from our hotel to discover a new part of the city would be worth it. Then we were off in search of the flea market.

Where we ended up going was the Marche aux Puces, one of the biggest markets in Paris. It was very interesting because in one spot there were vendors with large tents filled with knock-off items and the other was an antique and vintage market. The busier part was the knock-off market. As you walked past, vendors would call to you trying to tempt you to wander into their shops. It almost felt like Chinatown in the way the vendors would try to get your attention.


A vintage postcard in the French Market

But the best part was the antique side. We didn’t know it existed until we turned down an alley and stumbled upon the market. Within moments all the shouting and attention-grabbing vendors were gone. It was just sun, the beautiful antiques and the two of us.  We wandered around the antique market for an hour or two, stopping at almost every shop, being bewildered by the beauty of the vintage pieces for sale. When we found an item that we loved, the joy from discovering items was short-lived because the items were priced out of our reach.
We ended up finding a shop that sold vintage postcards for 1 euro each, and we both loved them instantly. We purchased postcards from the 1960s that had been written on and sent to loved ones, eventually found by this vendor and sold back to us.

We tucked our postcards into our purses so they wouldn’t get damaged and headed back to the metro station to go head back to the hustle and bustle of the city center.  Although we didn’t buy much, we knew that what we had was a part of history and were our little treasures to help remember a beautiful, peaceful day in such an amazing city.