Flea markets are some of the most resilient kind of business: they grow, develop, duplicate, evolve, vanish and eventually re-emerge to thrive again. They are made by the people, for the people. They are places of exchange, discovery, sharing and entertainment. These are some of the reasons why I believe there will always be flea markets.
From the tiniest villages in the south of France to the big Asian metropolis, flea markets are everywhere. And even if the language, currency, products and customs may change from one place to an other, in the end the very essence of what makes a flea market what it is, remains the same.
Flea markets are nonetheless not all treated equal. Some countries consider them as local institutions that have been part of the cultural scene for decades or even a century (like the Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas, which began in 1873), while others still think of them as dens of thieves or incubators for poverty and diseases. From one country to an other, flea markets take different names* and shapes: some are reverently hosted in places like a temple, a bank vault, or a palace. While others thrive in more “extreme” conditions, like outside in the snow, on an island or high above the clouds.
“A city without a flea market is suspicious. Just like it would be without birds chirping & flying around. This means something is wrong, or sick in this city. Flea markets are a reliable indicator of the city’s pulse.”