Our 2007 UK and Europe Trip
Markets at Porte de Clignancours
24 Jun 2007
On our last full day in Paris we decided to do what a lot of Parisians do and go to the Flea Markets at Porte de Clignancours for just a couple of hours. These markets have been here for 2 centuries. The poor of Paris used to go through the rubbish of the more affluent looking for items to sell, some being clothes. The clothes normally had additional residents in them and hence the term “Flea Markets”. Because most of these sellers were mainly thieves, pickpockets and villains, the authorities moved the markets beyond the walls of Paris to Porte de Clignancours and they have stayed there ever since.
We took the Metro underground to the markets and walked down from the station and were confronted by lots of African men selling copies of D&G belts, small Louis Vuitton bags, watches and reading glasses. They keep on the move because the police are cracking down on them but that’s another story. At the start of the markets there are stalls with lots of junk and clothes but further on was our destination. The markets are in little streets and alleys and we had specific streets that we wanted to see.
We came to see the antiques and collectables – only to see – not to buy. They were very expensive but bartering is part of the game also. Some of the stalls specialized in one type of “shit”. One that caught our eye was selling only key rings – thousands of them. This market covers about 7 hectares and seeing over 1000 stalls was impossible. There certainly were some beautiful things to see and if you were in the market, selection wouldn’t be a problem. Part of the appeal was also the diversity of the antiques/collectables. Items we would never see in Australia. Gary enjoyed this day very much and felt it was a great experience for him.
Our couple of hours at the markets stretched out into the whole day and we decided to head back to Paris. Before we caught the train, we stopped off at a café to have an ice cream and rest our tired feet. We were just sitting there enjoying the world pass by when suddenly there were lots of Africans running up the pavement poking things into pockets everywhere. We realized that the Police had made a raid on them but we didn’t realize until we left the café that there was a police van on the side of the road with a load of very sorry looking Africans who had been caught. What a sideshow.
Our last dinner in Paris was a little disappointing but traditional in as much as we had a very surly French waiter who tried to rip us off for water at nearly 5 Euros and which he never delivered. Not all the thieves and villains are at Porte de Clignancours.