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Tombees du Camion – Shopping in Paris

Micah was the irreplaceable kind of friend who wore flowers in her hair and shared my exact definition of fun. With our combined thirst for whimsy, adventure waited around every corner. The fun in getting to and from wherever we were going was what we stumbled upon along the way.

On that particular day we’d decided to meet not far from the oscillating blades of the Moulin Rouge to sift through thrift at Guerrisol. Not finding much more than cast offs: discarded t-shirts, beat up Kelly purses and 80s wash denim, there was no evidence as to why a New York Times article would recommend the place.

In defiance of winter’s grey obscurity, we travelled around the perimeter of the Montmartre cemetery before stumbling upon the stylish boutiques of rue Joseph de Maistre. A few boulangeries and bars were tucked in with the windows-full of trendy clothes for good measure.

The vitrine on the corner bore strings of bottles in blues and greens, antique shoetrees and tin lunchboxes lovingly arranged. The lettering on the shop face read “Tombées du Camion” which literally translates to fallen off the truck but means something more like stolen goods.

Inside, no larger than a Paris bedroom, arranged at eye-level on shelves were antique boxes of lilac pressed powder, chocolate bars too old to eat, and paper maché busts with cupid’s bow lips painted on. Things you’d relish in unearthing from dust covered boxes in your grandmother’s attic, relics of a time we know only through black and white photographs.

Sorted into crates stacked in the belly of the space were collections of baby doll appendages, bicycle spectacles, broaches, buttons, bells and beads to dip your fingers into. I couldn’t help but touch everything but that didn’t seem to bother the shop girl whose taste in music I complimented.

Micah wanted the tour de France glasses but they smashed her eyelashes so instead she spent her change on a sailboat broach. I filled a paper sack with yellow glass beads and paid eight euros for a frightening blue doll’s eye complete with lashes that bat open and closed depending on which position you hold it in.

Farther down the street, face to face with the art deco mouth of the Abbesses metro, the Sainte Jean de Montmartre Church, one of my favorite buildings in Paris, is trimmed in elaborate mosaic and guarded by Art Nouveau beauties that look out over the staircases leading up Montmartre.

Guerrisol Thrift Store
19 ave de Clichy

Montmartre Cemetery
20 avenue Rachel

Tombées du Camion
17 rue Joseph de Maistre

Saint Jean de Montmartre Church
9 Rue des Abbesses
 

I also like the itineraries proposed in Paris City Walks. Instead of a lugging a travel book around you pull a card from the deck to follow.

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