Every year the Mairie of the 6th arrondissement throws a fair in front of the St Sulpice Church. And because French can be confusing like that, it is not at all a fair with merry-go-rounds and ferris wheels. It is a actually a series of Marchés, and because the French are consistent in their confusion, the markets at all what anyone would think of when hearing the word “market”. They are more like conventions, but instead of being held inside windowless centers that suck the very soul out of even the most devout Trekies, they are held under the sun, a fountain sparkling in the midst of it all.
And the fair features unlikely subjects, like the Maths Market, the Pottery Market, the Poetry Market and the wildly popular Antiques Market. The markets follow one another from week to week, arriving on Monday and moving out on Sunday, their replacement ready to move in to the white canvas stands that cover the square.
For math, experts from across the country come together to play chess, sell their geometric games, build mathematical structures and tricking young children into loving math, through play. At the poetry market their are small publishers selling intricately bound editions of a single poem, poets sharing their art, and again, more temptation for the young and young at heart to play, only this time with words.
And then comes la brocante… the Antiques Market. The prices at the market match the real estate, with very few bargains to be had, but it is still fun to look, and get inspiration. The brocante sponsors a mini-theater troupe (not at all related to the Guignols pictured above) with a tiny stage, because the common thread to all these markets is having something for the children. There is a decent pop-up restaurant and it wouldn’t be France if there wasn’t wine.
The Antiques Market continues until Sunday. If you’re sorry to have missed save the date for the neighborhood garage the Mairie is sponsoring at the Place St Sulpice next September. Since not many of us have garages in Paris, the sales are called Vide Greniers… Attic Emptiers!