Tombées du Camion

If you love bric-a-brac and try to avoid Paris’ sometimes expensive flea markets and grumpy antiques dealers, then you might want to drop by this shop

Try and picture a place full of wooden crates filled with broken doll’s heads, skeleton keys, coffin handles, empty spools, rusty pharmaceutical, pill boxes, and even packets of 1930s toilet paper. Are we talking about Tim Burton’s attic? Not at all!

Fittingly located in Paris’ districts like the gritty Marché aux Puces de Saint Ouen (Clignancourt) and the vibrant Montmartre, Tombées du Camion (literally translating to “fallen off a truck”) gives justice to the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

If you love bric-a-brac and try to avoid Paris’ (sometime) expensive flea markets and (grumpy) antiques dealers, then you might want to drop by this shop. For the past eight years, Charles, a former flea market dealer, has been touring old abandoned factories all over France, in search for unwanted items once manufactured in bulk. There are five shops Tombées du Camion: one located in Montmartre, and the four others in marché Vernaison (Puces de Saint-Ouen) – one specialized in fixtures and lighting, while the other (nearly 100 m2) has just opened.

Tombées du Camion literally showcases a multitude of objects from all eras and all usefulness: 6 € doll heads, 15 € brushes for infants, 20 € padlock Pooh, 2 € vintage postcards, € 5 fake tattoos, 23 € toy cars, colorful beads or old glass eyes that once belonged to WW1 veterans (“broken faces”), etc. You name it.

Despite the incredible number of objects – sometimes strange – brought together by this impassioned man, everything is in its place, carefully organized in salvaged crates or on old recycled shelves. The specialty of Tombées du Camion? Vintage wood types used a long time ago by stores to create headlines.

Antiquing Tip Of The Day

Forget that dream of finding the rare collectible action figure or priceless 19th century end table at the flea market for ten bucks. Shoppers aren’t likely to find a real steal in a venue where most vendors are experts in their particular niche.

— Patrick van der Vorst, founder of and former Sotheby’s director
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