Sunday's Video: Join me for a visit to the National Flea Market and Ham Fair in Chatou

Foire Nationale Antiquités Brocantes et Jambons à Chatou

We're up early this morning waiting for a Sunday delivery of an antique secretary desk. It's not that we absolutely needed another desk, but acquiring furniture and other knick knacks is the risk that one takes while visiting the Foire Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambons  à Chatou (National Flea Market and Ham Fair in Chatou).

In addition to antique furniture, linens, silver, vintage clothing, paintings and lots of unusual bric-a-brac, ham has a star billing at this biannual fair. It's a rather odd tradition dating back to the Middle Ages when farmers from the French provinces brought their hams to Paris during Holy Week. The butchers sold their pork to the bustling crowds headed to Notre Dame Cathedral for mass. In 1451, the city of Paris officially recognized the fair and started regulating the wares. If a vendor was selling rancid hams, the meat was promptly thrown into the Seine. Due to its success, the fair quickly outgrew the Île de la Cité. Over the centuries, it was moved to a series of different locations around Paris. When the fair relocated to Boulevard Bourdon in 1840, enterprising butchers expanded their offerings to include old clothes, bric-a-brac and scrap iron. The Foire à la Ferraille (Scrap Iron Fair) was born and henceforth inextricably connected with the sale of ham. In 1970, the fair moved from the Beaubourg quarter, its final Parisian address, to its current location on the Île des Impressionnistes (Impressionists' Island) in Chatou.

Without fail, Stéphane always invites me to accompany him to the Flea Market and Ham Fair. Sometimes we take home a new treasure and other times we only go for the succulent jambon a l’os (ham on the bone). Either way, it's always an idyllic outing because the market is located on a picturesque island that attracted numerous Impressionist painters and authors.

Now, I would like to extend the invitation to you. A singing cheesemonger, a charming crepe maker and an accordionist agreed to appear in this short video that I made yesterday afternoon. So, come along and join me at the market by clicking on the arrow below. To view more photos, click here to see the album that I posted on Facebook. Please note that you don't need an FB account to access the pictures.

La Foire Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambons à Chatou (National Antique and Ham Fair in Chatou)
Île des Impressionnistes, Chatou
Biannually at the end of every March and September. March 7-16, 2014, everyday from 10:00 am until 7:00 pm. Admission is 5 euros for those over 15.

Photo taken from the Île des Impressionnistes in Chatou 


  1. Real cheese! Real cheese!

    Love the photo. Those trees are really nice.

    1. The cheese was delicious! We bought two different kinds and had them for dinner.

  2. That last photo is stunning and I love the singing cheesemonger.


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