Second Hand Paris
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
It is everywhere at odd times and in all the antique shops every day in the week. But the first official junk shop must have been the one in the Cour du Dragon, just off the boulevard St Germain, on the rue de Rennes. In what had once been a riding school approved of by Louis XIV, old iron was stored for sale in the 18th century. It would seem that some of it is still there, guarded by the mythical dragon of St Marguerite.
During fête days, Christmas and Easter and July 14th, and usually from eight to fourteen days at a time, you will find old iron, and much besides, in the little booths along the boulevard de Sébastopol and on that of Richard Lenoir. On the old rue de Picardie several shops still carry on the tradition from the old Linen Market of the last century. The Foire des Puces (Flea Fair) may still be in existence at some of the "gates" of Paris, but the Prefect of the Seine is threatening their extinction which is a pity. You can look for it, however, on a Sun-day morning at the Porte St Ouen or the Porte de Clignancourt or even at the Porte de Lilas. But these fairs do not belong to the growing apartment region which you see about you, and they will soon disappear of themselves.
If you have the patience to count, you will find that the greatest number of antique stores is on the Left Bank; and of these the greatest number are on the old rue des Saints Pères and the rue Bonaparte. But there is no street in Paris, even among the newest, where you may not find them, for Paris is the greatest antique center in the world, as well as the greatest second-hand dealer. All the old furniture of value, old paintings, and carpets which are for sale in the provinces, find their way here. And, what is just as important, all the fabricators of the perfectly reproduced furniture, bric-à-brac, and carpets, find Paris their best market. And why not?