Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Paris: About Flea Markets and Friends

I want very much to speak about flea markets and friends, for this was a big part of my Paris visit.

As you might imagine, I was desperately eager to visit a flea market or two, and they didn't disappoint!

The first was with our blog cohort, Tara Bradford, aka Paris Parfait! I was so excited to meet up a blogger whose blog I visit faithfully and simply adore for its great photography and point of view. So, I was certainly looking forward to that first Saturday morning in Paris when met to go to Vanves, a large flea market in the south of Paris.

Vendor tables seemed to go for blocks, with everything from print/ephemera and old books to furniture, jewelry, keys, artifacts. You name it! Lots of things caught my eye...

My favorite finds form this show included a beautiful Japanese print (with special thanks to Tara for helping to negotiate the deal!)...

... an old key and some print ephemera.

I was very fond of the Parisian print trio...

...and oh! The magazines!

For an Anglophile, finding Paris Match highlighting Queen Elizabeth's coronation was a treasure (to match my Life magazine at home!)

This 1953 ladies magazine was great fun.

I loved the color spreads.

Even the ads were fun!

I also chose some postcards from places in Paris I'd visited, including Cluny in 1901 and this one of the Hotel deVille, which I passed every day on my jaunts to the Metro and beyond!

I also found this frame and these wonderful buttons. (The lace and trim came from a later market, down below). Later Jerry would help supplement my button collection, but that's in a later post!
One of the other things I love about Paris in general (and Vanves was no exception) is the prevalence of dogs.

I loved these two, becoming friends at a vendor's booth!

Later that day, Tara and her husband David invited us for a lovely dinner. I wanted to bring flowers, so we stopped at the florist.

Jerry explained that in France, you don't buy a ready-made bouquet, but pick several kinds of flowers from the shop's display, take them inside, and they make up the bouquet for you.

The woman making the bouquet gathered stems in a circular motion.

Then she wrapped it in colorful tissue and a cellophane.

Gerbera daisies, rose hips, greenery -- worked for me!

I would love to have added a photo of Tara or one of Tara and David with me, but at Tara's request, I'll pass. But she is so lovely! Just a delight, and I had the best time enjoying David's fabulous Moroccan dinner, great conversation, and being surrounded (as readers of Paris Parfait might imagine) by so many lovely things, I barely knew where to look!

I will say it was a memorable evening with sharing of smiles, stories, gifts and I will always remember this evening with my gracious hosts!

The following morning, Jerry and I headed out for our Normandy excursion. But he had done his homework well -- we had an itinerary of town flea markets along the way.

These are greatly different than Vanves, which is a weekly and somewhat more commercial affair. In France, "ordinary people" don't have yard saleswhenever they like; instead the city (or towns) set dates and everyone who likes participates.

The merchandise is different, too. While Vanves had higher end items, the markets we visited were a real mix -- everything from vintage and antique items to discarded Fisher Price toys and old clothes.

And produce vendors also had their wares (and I found the best raspberries EVER! So sweet, they couldn't be believed!)

The towns they were in had what they called "foires" -- in addition to the sales, they also had rides, food, and other activities. Jerry was aces at making good deals!

My favorite finds from these included a French Scrabble board (which I left up north and don't have a photograph of, but you might be interested to know that "W" is worth 10 points!)

I also bought some sewing notions and trims (pictured above with my Vanves buttons), some lace, bicycle pins (which have yet to be given!) and a very nice photo book on World War II and the invasion.

I would have bought these chairs, but I was a little too far from home!

Enjoying all of these was great fun -- fun to see the kinds of things that are different from what one sees here. For example, in the town foires, yes -- there was tacky and modern stuff. They're garage sales, after all. But there was a tremendous amount of the "good stuff" too -- beautiful (old) glassware, copper, pewter, brass, military-related items, photo albums (the one I wanted was 50 euros and Jerry couldn't get her to come down, so I gave it a pass).

Let me just say when I hit the yard sales here, I don't see much in the line of good stuff. Estate sales, maybe. Yard sales, no.

I loved seeing the people, the towns. And oh -- those raspberries!

Things I Learned:

When flea marketing in France, go with someone who speaks French for the best deals. I'm sure I could have tried something with my little Rick Steves phrase book. It wouldn't have worked. Not really.

Experiencing this was really a treat. I appreciated the differences between the professionals and the locals and I loved seeing the small towns.

The whole florist-bouquet thing was new to me, and I just loved watching her work (and the end result!)


Jen of A2eatwrite said...

What absolute fun! I'd love to do something like this. The last flea market I went to in France was, literally, decades ago.

ols1 said...

OMG - Paris and flea markets - not something I would have even thought existed - I always imagined luxury, glamour and indulgence. I am sure there is a flip side to any coin and you have captured it beautifully. I love the collection you found. I just love oriental art, that was my favourite. Thanks for the insight :)

beth said...

this would have been my favorite part of the whole trip...as you know how I am with flea markets :)

anno said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anno said...

Oh--real treasure! I love this! (and I would have so bought that yellow tray/plate... mmmm mmmmmm!)

Linda said...

What pure joy! And...wouldn't it have been nice to have had a U-Haul with you.

Annie said...

All so wonderful Jeanie. I loved the creation of the bouquet right on the spot.

BONNIE K said...

You must have been in heaven! I would've enjoyed it a lot too. That is so cool that you got together with a fellow blogger.

Kristine said...

I love old magazines like that. So jealous!! :>))
Really enjoying these photos too!

Nancy said...

Oh my, your photos are to drool over :) I'd have to pack a trunk to put all the stuff I would love to buy!!
Thanks for sharing :)

Relyn said...

Wow! Oh my. No words really. OK, too many words. But still.

I am so excited that you had this marvelous wonderful adventure. And that you got to meet Tara. Lucky you. Lucky Tara.

Please, please tell me you brought home some of those wonderful books with the amazing spines. Please tell me you did.

paris parfait said...

Jeanie, it was such a treat having you here, going to the flea market, laughing over dinner and dishing over the phone! I just wish we'd had more time together. I'm impressed by how much you managed to accomplish during your trip. Did the birthday boy like his special gift?

Come back any time and I'll take you to the other flea markets! :) xoxox

paris parfait said...

P.S. When I went back to get the rest of the Studio books, I found a book of Zohrab's photographs (see my latest post for why that's relevant), which I interpreted as a good sign. :)

Joanne Huffman said...

I'm suffering from French Flea Market Envy. Loved the photos! When I was in Ireland, I saw a sign for a French Market and didn't figure out that it was a flea market until it was too late to get back to it.


joyce said...

Oh my....that had to be the best part you've shown us yet!!!! I love the old tin photos (are they daguerretypes.....I'm not too knowledgeable about that) And the old books & magazines, and did you actually ask the florist to let you take pics of her or did you do it on the sly?? Either way...very interesting.

~*~Magpie's Nest said...

A Paris Flea = magnifique!!
I am also an Anglophile ;), flowers, raspberries oh my! What a lot of fun in photos and words Jeanie!!!
Did you bring an empty suitcase?

Thrift shopping would be such a wonderful thing now that I live an altered and mixed media life....back in the day when I visited Europe, that was not the case...


Mary Timme said...

And can you imagine the reduction of packaging it would mean for us!? Wow!

Oh said...

Your trip just gets better and better. You chose amazing stuff at marche aux puces. What fun! How do you know Jerry? What an awesome friend! Did you know Paris Parfait before or only from your blog? Did you see dogs in the local restaurants (not so much in Paris)? Was the weather good? It looks lovely in your pictures! Did you take an extra suitcase so you could bring stuff home?
But oh, your pictures are the BEST! I cannot believe how much you did and "covered" in the amount of time you were there. If you plan to go again, let me know. I can easily be talked into it and I love so many of the same things you do.
Merci mille fois pour ayant partage vos aventures!

Quiltmoose - Dagmar said...

Flowers are sold that way in Germany, too!
I would love visiting those flea markets also! Your photos are great :-))

jet1960 said...

I would have been in trouble! Too much tempting me to buy and no room in the luggage!

Wow, cool that you got to meet a fellow blogger!

Again, love your pics and your finds are great!

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