What has happened to the flea market of old? Taking a trip to Clignancourt/ Saint Ouen in North Paris, I found myself in the most dismal of environment.
Far away were the memories of my teenage years happily browsing through cheap clothes with friends, slowly but surely trying to walk against the wave of pressing bodies and haggling for that leather jacket I just couldn’t do without.
Last weekend, during my trip down memory lane, nothing was the same. Yes, it was still disgusting, and yes, it was still more or less all happening in the same place.
But there was practically no one, the merchandise on offer was so meh I didn’t even want to look at it, and half the shop were closed. Paris is officially in a recession if even the flea markets are emptying!
Greeted by men intent on selling me stolen iPhones and fake Gucci belts, I made my way to the covered markets, only to find half the stalls closed off, grumpy salesmen who have nobody to sell to, and a half crowd of sad looking, disgruntled “shoppers” who seemed to just be taking a stroll.
Where I could have spent a good couple of hours chatting, buying and laughing, I spent 20 minutes walking very quickly up and down the main avenue whilst trying to avoid the aforementioned fake and stolen goods.
It seems obvious: I didn’t buy anything, and it will be a while (if ever!) before I venture back there.
When it comes to the flea markets of Paris, all that is left of their happy past are memories.