You know the Senegali street hawkers who have populated the tourist sites of Europe for the past generation? And you know they are apparently from some sort of Muslim sect whose doctrine seems to center on the sale of tchatchkis to visting Americans? I first saw them outside the Louvre in the 70s. They'd work in a team; one would stand lookout while the other spread out his picnic cloth. He'd peddle until the watch yelled a warning; then he'd grab it all up in a bundle and run away while the police chased--not very enthusiastically, I must say, for I never saw them catch one.
If it is a sect, today I think I discovered the mother church. Its on Rue de Montmorency at the corner of Rue de Temple in the Marais. There are a bunch of "bijouterie fantasie"--costume jewelry?--shops. There's always a gaggle of the Senegalis--okay, maybe they are Ghanans going to and fro, in an out. They've got duffels an wheely carts. They show every signs of being street men back for restocking.
Only two thing puzzle me. One, a lot of these shops seem to be run by Asians--Japanese? Are they part of the action, or am I looking at the wrong shops?
And two--aside from the wholesale district, where are the hawkers? We haven't been back to the Louvre this week but we've been all over the city streets--past Notre Dama half a dozen times--and we have yet to see one of those guys actually out there hawking his wares.