Discover Real Treasures
Need a Louis XVI giltwood bergère or a mid-century modern coffee table? A bust of Apollo or a granite-carved sphinx? An 18th-century sunburst mirror with real age spots or a marble staircase from of an old chateau? You can find these and more, or just wander around checking out the 3,000-odd shops and stalls that make up the incredible Marché aux Puces, or flea market of St-Ouen, set on 17 acres in the northern suburbs of Paris
. It's open year-round; in the chilly winter months, you can duck in and out of cafés to warm up on cups of steaming hot chocolate between bursts of trawling the amazing shops. There are treasures to be found—and places will wrap your find and ship it to you anywhere in the world. I had my eye on a beautiful, elaborately carved rococo writing table with mother of pearl inlay and ormolu scrolls gracing its elegant frame. It was slightly over my budget, so I let it go, but often I think of what became of it.