Flea markets have never been my thing. I am the first to admit that I am a bit of a snob when it comes to shopping - I'm a Nordstrom's girl, what can I say. But the flea market at St. Ouen (also known as Marche aux Puces) was listed in our guidebook as one of the top 30 must-see sights in all of France. And once we made it through the throngs of hawkers selling knock-off Louis Vuitton and Nikes, we were thrilled to have made the trek there.
It's really not a flea market. Primarily, it is the world's largest antique market. In my mind, you can find anything you want there. Furniture from the age of Louis XVI? Check. 18th century chandeliers? Check.
Hermes Birkin bags? Check. Modern furniture? Check. Old books? Check. Asian art and furniture? Check. A large collection of old barometers? Check.
Antique clothing (please ask Mr. Oil to explain his theory about the antique midget clothing - I remain unconvinced)? Check. Art? Check. Picasso lithographs? Check. Aisle after aisles, street after street of stalls containing everything from the old to the new to the beautiful to the weird. Old animal skulls for 50 euros? Check. Carousel animals? Check.
Antique swords and guns? Check. Totally awesome French salesman at the pen collector stall? Check.
This is definitely on our must-return list - and not only because despite all we saw, a significant portion of stalls were closed for the August holiday season. Any of you coming to visit, we will likely suggest you come here. (Bill and Eric, we have decided you must come visit because we believe you would particularly love this place.)
Just in case you are thinking that my life in Paris is really all pastry and flowers, please keep in mind that our belongings that we shipped have yet to arrive. They left our house in the US on June 24. We were informed today that, "well, monsieur, it is August, and there are not so many people working at the customs office, so we will just have to wait."