Road Trip: Chatou

It was a beautiful day yesterday – clear skies, blazing sun – so I hopped in the car and drove ten minutes outside of Paris, to the little town of Chatou, where the big flea market had just kicked off two days before.

I found the place easy enough, right there on the Seine, and walked across the bridge to where I saw the buildings and rental trucks parked below. But the signs confused me: Foire a la Brocante et aux Jambons, they all said.

Junk fair and ham? Was ham a slang word for really good junk, I wondered?

Nah. They meant ham. Forget about the 800 vendors, and the history of this market that’s been around since the Middle Ages. People come for the pig meat.

I decided for something smallish and light — a crepe with sausage, onions, and cheese. It must have weighed 5 pounds.

I walked around and looked at the brocante (fancy-sounding French word for junk), with my crepe that required two hands, and a bottle of water tucked under one arm.

I found some great blue cannisters.

Vintage coffee bowls.

Antique linens.

Some old madeleine pans, too.

How do you suppose this sign wound up here?

After checking a few prices – the coffee bowls were 35 euros apiece, which is really high — I didn’t buy anything, and didn’t see many deals being struck, either. But you should have seen the line at the rotisserie pig place.