If you love shopping, Summer is the best time to get out from the malls and get back to where it all began in the flea market. Getting on your walking shoes and exploring the flea markets of your holiday destination is one of the immoveable holiday traditions that we love so much. hunt for bargains. Swide picks five of the best flea markets for you to attack.
Marche Aux Puces De Clignancourt, Paris, France
Paris’ most famous flea market the Marche Aux Puces De Clignancourt is actually a collection of 12 smaller events that grew over time to become one big mother of all flea markets. It has up to 3000 vendors and sells just about everything. Especially good for antiques and new vintage. The best day to visit is Monday as there are fewer customers and the stallholder’s have a bigger desire to sell. If you are visiting Paris make sure to check t out although it is advisable as if you don’t speak French very well, go along with a local as sellers are very willing to haggle, they will usually only do so in French.
Jemaa el Fnaa, Marrakesh, Morocco
The traditional market in the Marrakesh’s Medina is an over load for the senses. The name translates possibly to ‘the Market at the End of the World’ and is a riot of colour, sound senses and the intoxicating chaos of Morocco. But trained monkeys, cockerels, camel heads, saffron… and just about anything else you could ever imagine. The site is a UNESCO protected heritage site as part of the ‘Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’ project which came about when the Jemaa el Fnaa Market came under threat from modern developers. ‘The spectacle of Jemma el Fnaa is repeated every day and each day it is different. Everything changes, voices, sounds, gestures, the public which sees, listens, smells, tastes, touches. The oral tradition is framed by one much vaster, that we can call intangible. The Square as a physical space, shelters a rich oral and intangible tradition,’ said Spanish poet Juan Goytisolo at the project’s inauguration.
Waterloo Flea Market, Belgium
It is not widely known that the Benelux countries are the ‘Mecca’ for the vintage bargain hunter. Belgium is especially good and in Belgium the one in Waterloo is probably the best. It is one of the few city flea markets where genuine bargains and treasures turn up as a matter of course rather that all the interesting artefacts being spirited away by stallholders before they even get to the market. Much of the best vintage clothes from the former Eastern Bloc countries travels through Belgium on it’s way to the West and can be found here, as well as local gems.
Mercantic, Barcelona, Spain
The Mercantic in Barcelona is a collection of about 80 permanent stalls and many more temporary, which sell everything from antiques to restored furniture to useless junk on its way to the dump. Be prepared for a good rummage, but the bargains are there to be discovered. The bright colours of the wood huts that house the stalls add to an atmosphere that is easy-going and stimulating. The first Sunday of every month id delivery day and the best new arrivals are at the mercy of the bargain hunter.
Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey
It’s not so much as flea market as a national monument. It’s one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world with 61 covered streets and over 3000 shops. It is visited by between 250, 000 and 400,000 every day. It is a market city within a city and dates right back to the heyday of Constantinople. Developed in a chaotic piecemeal fashion over the years it has become a labyrinth of stalls and shops, which is very easy to get lost in. It is currently undergoing extensive restoration, which will solve many of the market’s problems. For example until now the whole market complex has been without a proper toilet facility! You can find whatever it is you want in here, getting out, on the other hand may prove a little more problematic. Best to ask one of the young boys who mill around the market to guide you out, but agree on a price for his services before you do.
By Hugo Mc cafferty