I love our trips to France – Paris in particular as it is one of my favourite cities. I always allocate a day to visit the French flea markets – I get such a rush and have to say several times over ‘Be still my beating heart’!!
I usually go to Porte de Vanves, in the south, Marché aux puces de la Porte de Vanves, (14th arrondissement, Metro -Porte de Vanves, Ave Marc Sangnier & Ave Georges Lafenstre) as it used to be cheaper than Porte de Clignancourt, even though it is much smaller. I like the type of goods on sale and if you are going with someone who hasn’t visited a Paris market before then it is a nice introduction and not too overwhelming. It is open Saturday and Sunday 7am – 1pm.
On my last trip I was really surprised at the hike in prices at the Paris flea markets – everything I picked up seemed to have a price tag over 30 Euros – even some individual old designer clothes labels, yes just the label! I was feeling quite down thinking I wouldn’t be bringing much home when I happen to spot some amazing gloves that looked like they hadn’t even been worn and remarkably they were an amazing price. A lovely soft pistachio green colour and the most beautiful soft leather. It wasn’t until I got home and was trying them on that I noticed the old Hermes mark inside the glove – what a find – aren’t they beautiful? The photo really doesn’t do them justice.
I also purchased some great ephemera and buttons at this lovely stall
Coq au Vin anyone?
This one you can’t cook!
Some more vintage items for sale
I am always looking at window shop display and old signage. It seems everything in this scene is trying to stop you going inside and gorging yourself on the mouth-watering goodies – the roadworks, the red man on the traffic light … It didn’t stop us!
Repetto have created ballet shoes since 1947 but it is not just ballet shoes they sell – the day I took this photo of their shop window, I couldn’t even get into the shop to try their ever so popular and comfortable flat ‘ballerinas’ due to the length of the sale queue, as sadly we were very short on time. Since back in the UK I’ve found out that they also offer an Atelier Repetto where you can create your own unique, personalised ballerinas from 252 choices. Deep joy.
A typical Cafe scene you will see all over France – loved the hats!
How much is that doggy in the window? They do love their poodles – you should see some of the hair salons just for dogs!
Whilst in Paris we decided to stay in an apartment which is a great alternative to a hotel. We booked through Bed and Breakfast, Paris who offer apartments either kept solely for renting by the owner, or others lived in by owners who will move out just for the duration of your stay, which was the case with the lovely apartment we booked in Vincennes just a few Metro stops from the Rue de Rivoli. From bedsits to three bedrooms, basic to upmarket, there will certainly be something to meet your needs.
Make some time in your busy shopping schedule to visit Angelina – 226 Rue Rivoli – for their much ordered and delicious hot chocolate – oh yes and dare I mention a patisserie. Be prepared to queue for a table.
We also loved the bridge where you can secure your own ‘Love’ padlock to the railings – after of course you have written your message of everlasting love on the padlock. What you don’t carry a padlock around with you!!! Never mind some quick thinking book stall owner (just over the bridge) has boxes of them which you can buy at vast cost. Still I loved the idea that our son would come back to Paris one day and find the one we did with all our initials in a heart. Evidently there are quite a few cities around the world where you can place one of these love locks or wish locks – how romantic.
Love the Guerlain Advert on the bus – they were just launching this new perfume the weekend we were there.
I packed the fantastic boxed set of ‘Paris from the Heart‘ the ultimate Walking Tours to Fun, Fashion and Freedom by Jan Dolphin. There are six little books within the set: Paris from the Heart (the introduction); La Rive: Tours Along the Seine; The Left Bank; Right Bank Escapades; From Mountains to Flea Markets and Daytrippers: Day Trips Here and There. Filled with wonderful gems, maps, photos and experiences.
Other good books I have on my shelves: My Little Paris (The best kept Parisian Secrets) – Translated by Catherine Taret; Vintage Paris Couture – Jessica Clayton; Paris Chic & Trendy – Adrienne Ribes-Tiphaine; The Flea Markets of France – Sandy Price; Markets of Paris – Dixon Long & Marjorie R. Williams and The best Vintage Antique and Collectible Shops in Paris – Edith Pauly. My copies are full of post it notes!
And of course I couldn’t leave you without a photo of the most photographed attraction in Paris – Au revoir!
All photos in this blog on Paris © Cary Whitley 2012 (except book covers)