Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Glimpse at the Marché aux Puces

Nestled in the heart of one of northern Paris' least-savory neighborhoods, Clignancourt, in the 18th arrondissement-- known mainly for its seedy, dilapidated storefronts and relentless, Canal Street-esque vendors hawking fake watches and chintzy Eiffel tower keychains (Clignancourt is also, incidentally, the home of the least popular of La Sorbonne's many campuses)-- is the otherworldly oasis of the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen; a world-renowned flea market which offers everything from antique furniture to vintage clothing to 19th-century doll parts. In the Vernaison section, one can find a pair of 1950's Louboutin pumps, a crystal perfume decanter, a lamp made from an old horse trough, realistic baby-doll eyes complete with lashes and blinking lids (uncanny, to say the least), ancient yards of yellowing, painstakingly hand-crafted lace, gilt-framed Baroque mirrors, old postcards written in sprawling manuscript, record players in all shapes and sizes, and even miniscule sex-doll keychains (I purchased one for a friend back home, of course). A born-and-raised Parisienne and good friend of mine, Kelly Ajuelos Hansen, took me to the Marché aux Puces in May, and I must say it beats out the Melrose Trading Post and the PCC by a landslide. Below are a few photographs I took at the Marché... just a small idea of the kind of things you can find there:

Kelly, modeling the aforementioned baby-doll eyes

A vendor's dog. French bulldog, naturally.

a hanging light fixture

antique chairs

quite a unique place to hang your hat...

The Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen occurs every Saturday to Monday from 9am-6pm on Rue des Rosiers, 75018 Paris (Métro: Porte de Clignancourt).

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