A Paris Flea Market: Where I Officially Turned into a Francophile
No. I am not a Francophile or so I claimed.
Okay, I guess I am but I didn't know I was, alas - - based on the many things I have purchased in the past whether it's a decor item, book, or even a tin of tea, it would appear I am a Francophile, and it became obvious when the plane I was a passenger on landed at the Charles de Gaule airport about six weeks ago.
Oh my. I saw the many sites in Paris. I ate and drank well throughout the French capital. Of course, I did some shopping, but two of my favorite shopping journeys were not at any of the luxury stores that Paris is known for. One of my two favorite shopping journeys was to the mecca, the sacred temple of all bookstores, Shakespeare and Co. I was surrounded by the same walls where Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, and other famous authors graced the rooms.
My other favorite shopping journey was to the Marche aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves - The Vanves Flea Market. Located in the 14th arrondissement, the Vanves is one of the oldest fleas with a history of over a hundred years. The market is open no matter the weather, rain or snow, every Saturday and Sunday with 300-some booths taking over four long city blocks.
I was reading a review of the market and one of the words used to explain the shopping experience was perfect - tranquil. And that is exactly how I felt. It was a tranquil experience perusing the variety of Victorian and Bohemian-style tchotchkes of home decor, kitchenware, silver service, books, ephemera, clothing and accessories, costume jewelry, and plenty of oil paintings. The shopping was leisurely and mostly friendly (always acknowledging the vendors with a greeting of "Bonjour"), and I even found a bench and did some people-watching - my favorite sport. Looking out into the sea of treasures, I was reminded of how each piece had a story, perhaps the vases and silver from the estate of a grandmother, the oil paintings from a collector or by the artist himself, and the handkerchiefs and jewelry perhaps gifted from a lover or an admirer.