A storefront for over one million vendors and a shopper's paradise for over one hundred million citizens.The origin of the term "FLEA MARKET" is practically impossible to trace. It is a mystery that has never been solved as there has never been a serious investigation into the origin of the name. There is little or no official records or documentation existing on this amazing phenomenon of the flea market. The first reference to the term "Flea Market" appeared in two conflicting stories about a location in Paris, France in the 1860's known as the marche aux puces, translation, "Flea Market".
The traditional and most publicized story is in the article "What Is A Flea Market?" by Albert LaFarge in the 1998 winter edition of Today's Flea Market magazine. In his article LaFarge says, "There is a general agreement that the term "Flea Market" is a literal translation of the French marche aux puces, an outdoor bazaar in Paris, France, named after those pesky little parasites of the order Siphonaptera (or "wingless bloodsucker") that infested the upholstery of old furniture brought out for sale."
The second story is printed in the book Flea Markets in Europe published by Chartwell Books. In the Introduction of this book, the author writes, "In the time of Emperor Napoleon III, the imperial architect Haussmann made plans for the broad, straight boulevards with rows of square houses in the center of Paris, along which army divisions could march with much pompous noise. The plans forced many dealers in second-hand goods to flee their old dwellings; the alleys and slums were demolished. These dislodged merchants were, however, allowed to continue selling their wares undisturbed right in the north of Paris, just outside of the former fort, in front of the gate Porte de Clignancourt. The first stalls were erected in about 1860. The gathering together of all these exiles from the slums of Paris was soon given the name "Marche aux Puces", meaning "flee market", later translation.
"Flea Market." Regardless of the origin or the definition of flea markets, I have never heard of anyone who did not love to go to a marche aux puces.
A flea market is a facility that rents space to anyone that offers for sale to the general public merchandise, products, items, services and all other legal needs of the buying public. These renters are known as vendors. Flea markets are w worldwide business that has been around for hundreds of years and could be considered as a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry that has never been and probably never will be truly defined.
Flea Markets are the incubators and breeding grounds of entrepreneurs that represent the Free Enterprise System and they are the representatives and protectors of an American Way of Life. Flea Markets are the only opportunity available for a person to start a business without a large layout of capital and long term commitments. Albert LaFarge, author of U.S. Flea Market Directory, says, "Today's American flea market is a modern version of a phenomenon that has endured throughout history in all civilized societies - wherever there is a high concentration of people, there will be market days when they assemble for the exchange of goods and services." The marketplace of the ancient Greeks was known as the Agora; in Rome, the Forum; and in Israel, at the Temples.
Each nation has its own name that translates into flea market. America has approximately 5000 flea markets, swap meets, open-air, farmers, antique and collectible markets and special events, with an estimate of over one million vendors and one hundred million annual shoppers.