Twice a year, residents of Levallois-Perret, a small community on the outskirts of Paris, explode onto the street in a veritable orgasm of yard sales. I came down out of my sister’s apartment last week to discover about twenty square blocks of solid second-hand mayhem, complete with food carts, inflatable Harry Potter moon walks and general French glee.
Naturally, the locals have frenchified the entire operation. When I purchased a set of teacups from these two guys they were in the middle of lunch — with wine and cloth napkins. On the way back when I snapped this picture they were smoking cigars with cognac. It doesn’t really create the same mental image as when you think of an American yard sale, does it?
Among the normal bric-a-brac one can expect at a second-hand sale are a high volume of espresso glasses, copper cookware, wine implements and other vintage, European wares. But the best part about the entire experience is picking up something truly unique to bring home — nothing’s worse than picking up a totally sweet European sweater at the London H&M to find out that they already have stores littered around the US where you can buy the same thing for 1/2 the price.
But as the French verb directly translates, “souvenir” is “to remember”. Either way you reach enlightenment, via yard sales or chain stores, vous allez souvenir.