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.

Disclaimer: The photo of me is horrible. I had not slept well for a couple of days, and just landed at Charles de Gaulle airport with little to zero sleep after spending 10 hours on a plane, two hours between airports, and after I unpacked at the hotel, I decided to immediately visit Musee d'Orsay.

Within a few short hours from the plane, I was on the bank of the Seine and in through the doors of the Musee d' Orsay. I was in awe over some of my favorite pieces of art such as Renoir's Moulin de la Galette. Now, remember I am right off the plane ignoring jet lag, no make-up, and in my same traveling clothes. I couldn't waste time. Paris was outside of my window! 
Of course, a few days later I couldn't leave this old framed picture lying on a table at the Vanves flea.

It was exhilarating to visit and make deals with the vendors. It's amazing how the language barrier receded when negotiating Euros over a framed picture or book. There were so many items I could have brought home but I had already mentally "filled" the empty suitcase waiting in my hotel room I purposely brought just for this reason - not to mention the books from Shakespeare and Co., and all of the goodies from Monoprix

"Tabac ala Rose" - a hand-painted enamel tobacco jar with a brass lid and the Grand Marnier advertisement plate. It wasn't just the art on the plate, but Grand Marnier is the only liqueur I will drink - and even then it is a treat I don't do often (or often enough). 

There's also a book, a mirror, cherubs, and another framed print that made it into that empty suitcase, but that's - - another blog post.

À bientôt!


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