This article recently appeared in Faces Magazine, April 2014!
Awhile back, I visited The Paris Flea market to look for fun finds! Also, to generally get into trouble for taking pictures of items.
Do you know how old the city you live in is? Chances are it isn’t as old as Paris. The city got its name about two thousand years ago, but scientists think people have been living there for as long as 700,000 years! That’s a lot of time for people to make and buy stuff like pots, blankets, paintings and furniture. When an object is really old, we call it an antique—or as the French sometimes call it: ancien.
Every Saturday through Monday antique and art dealers gather at the Les Puces de Saint-Ouen flea market to sell old things. Where do they find old things? Sometimes regular people sell them stuff, but most often, dealers search in old basements, junk yards, churches and attics to find their treasures. Something that looks like junk may in fact be worth a lot of money.
For instance, an old pair of ladies’ boots can sell for two-hundred Euros; that’s about $260 US dollars! And what about old handkerchiefs you use to blow your nose? An antique handkerchief can cost up to $500 dollars depending on the quality of the needlework. People even buy one-hundred-year-old underwear!
Not all antiques are common things you or I might throw away. Many are unique works of art. If you have enough money, you can own a marble statue carved six hundred years ago, or a painting done by a famous artist. Because Paris has always been known as a city that supports artists of all types, the Paris flea market is filled with beautiful things.
People come to the Paris flea market because it is one of the largest flea markets in the world. On a typical Saturday you will find 2,500-3,000 booths. That’s a lot of stuff to sort through! Collectors are always ready for the job though. They want to find that one special treasure to make their collection complete. Other people come to the market to find things to decorate their house or business. Have you ever been in a restaurant with a lot of old things all over the walls? They probably found those things at a flea market just like the one in Paris.
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