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How to ship large purchases home from Paris

The answer is a Camard account. Camard, and a number of other shipping companies, maintain offices at the Porte de Clignancourt flea market and other spots around Paris. You register, and they give you a receipt pad, stickers, and your own personal Camard number. When you see something humongous that you are dying to take home, you take out your Camard pad and the dealer slaps a sticker onto your purchase. The dealer fills out some paperwork, which is relayed to Camard, which then picks up your furniture—even if you purchased items at a number of different markets—and the next thing you know you’re unpacking an 18th-century chifforobe in Cedar Rapids. The best part: no money changes hands until Camard has everything ready to ship. This arcane and wacky system is based on an ancient antiques dealers’ honor code and is surprisingly foolproof.

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