Any Paris guidebook will confirm it: while the chic boutiques and department stores are not to be missed, to round out a truly Parisian experience you must visit its flea markets and second-hand antique shops. Nothing beats the rush, they say, of spotting that gem hidden in plain sight under a century of dust and neglect – an old family heirloom from the attic of a calloused-fingered French grandma just waiting to fulfill its destiny of decorating your home.

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One Sunday as my wife and I brainstormed an acceptable married couple activity, we realized the flea markets were a perfect fit: the designer in her would fawn over the vintage decorations, while I the Paris nerd could admire another historic site. I’d heard after all that it was here in Paris where the world’s first marché aux puces (market of the fleas), was created. Surely I had to check it out.

We headed to the antique…

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