Saint Ouen’s Labyrinth: World’s Largest Flea Market
I did not take any photos in Saint Ouen’s labyrinth for two reasons:
1. There are a lot of rare items and cranky shopkeepers.
2. I was on a date.
Technically, BYU has a policy that says students on a study abroad shouldn’t be dating. So, sue me. It’s really none of the university’s business who I go to the flea markets with.
My date, we’ll call him Michael, was tragically late. He texted me to let me know that in addition to getting a late start, he had been going the wrong direction on the metro for several stops. Generously, I said, “Oh, don’t worry about it. I have the patience of Job. Not to be confused with Gob,” which you would get if you were an Arrested Development fan.
He replied and said, “Thanks, Hermano,” which you would also get if you were an Arrested Development fan. And just like that, he redeemed himself from being late. What can I say? I’m easy to please.
When Michael finally arrived, we had a Pride and Prejudice moment. You know, where you can see Mr. Darcy walking across the field for a solid three minutes. It was just like that, except less romantic, more awkward, and it ended in a hug we both weren’t all that sure about. Then it was off to the flea markets.
They were, in a word, incredible. Once we fought our way through the lesser shops with their aggressive owners, we were in flea shop oasis. Any hopes I had of buying my mom a souvenir here were quickly dashed, as most everything was upwards of 300 euros. Still, Michael and I had fun spending the morning looking at all the curious objects there. We even found a sort of device designed to pick up a sugar cube, so that one need not deign use their fingers for such a thing.
Soon our morning turned into a Parisian flea market version of the Ikea scene in 500 Days of Summer. We considered all sorts of art and furniture for our imaginary home. Michael asked the shopkeepers thoughtful questions in his impeccable French. I became a connoisseur of chandeliers. We ran into Michael’s old boss three times, and I accidentally led Michael into a shop full of antique porn which ended in a lot of loud, embarrassed apologies coming from me. Michael told me about the time he accidentally threw a huge house party and got the cops called on him. I wondered if he would ever hold my hand, but it was only our second date.
The rest of our day consisted of a lot of good food and good-natured debates. We saw Diana and taste tested macarons. I came down with an eye infection and we had ramen for dinner. Fourteen hours after our Pride and Prejudice moment Michael took me home, and I didn’t have a single photo to show for it.