We managed to wake up early this morning to go to the famous Paris flea markets at Saint Ouen. I have to admit, it wasn’t quite what I expected. Instead of loads of vendors who set up each morning, the stalls at Saint Ouen are all permanent – closed against the weather, self-contained units that can be locked up each night. As a result, there are quite a few very high-end dealers selling antiques down there.

We managed to come home empty-handed, not least because the prices at the flea market reflect its semi-permanent state: there are no bargains to be had here – dealers shop elsewhere and these products are priced for tourists. Oh well, it was still a fun morning out, worth getting up early for.

Flea Markets at St Ouen

Looking down one of the alleys in the flea markets at Saint Ouen

Hanging lanterns and lamps

Hanging lanterns and lamps outside one of the stalls

Ducks in a row

A line of ducks in a row. Cheeky garden gnomes hiding in the background.

Wooden furniture in piles

Wooden furniture, stacked high at one of the stalls in the market

Tapestries and chairs

Tapestries and chairs along a wall in the market

Wicker baskets

Wicker baskets outside a stall

The afternoon was a last chance to enjoy our four-day weekend (well, until next weekend, when we have a three-day weekend. There are some upsides of living in France, and the number of public holidays over the summer months is definitely one of them). So off we headed to the Jardins de Luxembourg to spend a few hours in the afternoon sun, catching up on our reading and watching the old men play petanque in the park.

Tonight is the highlight of the weekend – we’ll finally finish compiling our first French tax return, a mammoth this year with over 30 pages (mostly relating to our bank accounts held outside France – the French are obsessed with the notion that everyone is harbouring their money off-shore and not declaring it. Which, in most cases, is true. I read that, as a nation, the French massively under-declare their tax. It’s something of a national pastime to see how much you can get past the tax inspectors). We’ve just about gotten our heads around it and will post it off tomorrow to avoid the last-minute rush at the end of the month.