News / Europe

Despite Cold Weather, Paris Christmas Flea Market is Big Attraction

The word Paris is displayed on a window at the Charles de Gaulle airport as Air France sit outside covered in snow and ice.
The word Paris is displayed on a window at the Charles de Gaulle airport as Air France sit outside covered in snow and ice.

Multimedia

Audio
Lisa Bryant

Very few things are open on Christmas Day in France besides churches and bakeries - and the traditional weekend Vanves flea market, on the edge of Paris.

It is a bitter Christmas morning at the Vanves flea market. The sun is shining but there is a biting wind. But inclement weather hasn't stopped the most die-hard merchants or customers from making an appearance .

Merchant Francois Tissier shivers beside his stand of old paintings and jewelry. Tissier said it has been a bad morning for business and a sad Christmas day. He said the ongoing economic crisis in Europe has taken its toll. People don't want to spend money on old things.  

For those who do, Vanves is a collectors' paradise. Just about everything seems  to be  on sale here -- from paintings worth several thousand dollars to old plastic dolls and second hand clothes fetching just a few dollars.

For Paris resident Francois Martin, Vanves is a tradition.  Martin said he goes to Vanves every weekend. He doesn't look for anything in particular, but he was pleased with his latest find -  a second-hand designer jacket costing  only  10 euros, or about $13.

Flea markets are an old tradition in France. The origins of the term are uncertain - possibly, some say, because ancient merchants and their goods were infested with fleas.

The Vanves market began 60 years ago. Today, it draws French celebrities and tourists from every part of the globe. The most diehard buyers arrive before dawn with flashlights to hunt down bargains.

San Francisco tourists Mathew and Saline arrived around mid-morning. "All the museums are closed," said Matthew. "And we knew there was a market here that was famous..here is a water color. We're debating on whether we're going to buy [it]. "

Mathew paid about $70 for the painting to merchant Chistian Fourget, who was in a cheery mood. He sells art at Vanves  and is a musician on the side. He set up his stand here 20 years ago.

Fourget said the Vanves  flea market  is an adventure - you never know what you'll find. It could be a small painting or a book. But, he said, one thing is certain: you'll rarely go home empty-handed.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid