Less famous than its older brother up north in St-Ouen, Montreuil’s flea market is where real folk riffle for antiques nowadays, mostly because it’s off the beaten tourist track (so you can still find the occasional treasure). You’ll find pretty much everything, from vintage clothes and toys to old cutlery, 1940s light-fittings, furniture and antique glassware. Just be patient: you have to walk past stands selling arrays of junk before you get to the little square where the best dealers are (at the end of the alley alongside the periphérique).
It’s funny how perceptions can change when you’re rambling through a flea market. Items that wouldn’t even catch your eye in another setting – a quaint set of doll’s house table and chairs, say, or a battered dial phone, or some crumbling polaroids from the ’60s – can quite easily become objects of desire when laid out by charmingly eccentric stallholders. One man’s junk really is another man’s joy in these bazaars of the bizarre. And while there has been an inevitable influx of generic tourist stands selling the same ‘Chat Noir’ T-shirts, these three storied flea markets in Paris remain an invaluable resource for second-hand trinkets and time-worn curios. Looking for a souvenir? You could do much worse than in these sprawling cities-within-a-city.
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