Top on my list of things to buy while we were in Paris were oil paintings. I was determined to bring at least one home. Fortunately we found the most amazing shop, where I came across this oil painting of a woman. The shop owner said she was his most beautiful phantom (ghost in French). When I found her she was unframed and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep it that way or have it mounted on a stretcher bar. I decided to do the later. But, when I went to the frame shop they refused to do the job because they were afraid they might damage the painting.
Not being one to give up so easily, I decided to share my dilema with The Man.
I showed him the frame on the other smaller landscape painting I bought at the Paris flea market and he went to work making me one…
We didn’t have any antique, flat head trim nails so he cut longer ones down and filed the points to the right length. They worked perfectly and we proceeded to nail them in the existing holes in the canvas.
Notice they are uneven and not properly spaced? That’s exactly where the old ones were and it made me think of this quote….
“It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful” — The Nester.
I just love my new lady! I’m not sure if I should name her or not. Any suggestions?
How about Belle Phantom?
I know you probably thought I was done with the Paris posts. Me too, but I realized I never shared the flea market with you. How could I forget? We all love the flea market! So I thought I’d share a few tips and a short little video for you…
1. There isn’t a bad flea market in Paris. They’re all good and I doubt you will walk away empty handed from any of them. I really liked Porte de Vanves and went twice.
The closest Metro: Porte de Vanves stops right in front! Open Sat and Sun.
2. Be prepared to negotiate. I didn’t pay asking price for anything, and in fact found the dealers fun, friendly and fairly reasonable. They seemed to really like Americans and most spoke some English. At least enough to work out a deal.
3. Don’t go at 7am unless it’s the middle of summer, or you’re prepared for chilly darkess and have a flashlight. Most dealers weren’t set up until 8. Instead, sleep in a bit then grab a pain au chocolat and hot cafe on your way. Afterall…it’s Paris.
4. Wear layers, bring a good size tote bag, and keep your money close to you. We didn’t experience any trouble with pick pockets but have heard lots of stories.
5. Don’t bring your passport. It’s not needed and a pain if you loose it.
6. Here’s a great guide on getting to the biggest flea market in the world, Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen. But keep in mind…this is the spendy market.
Most importantly, have fun! It’s an experience of a lifetime!
Thanks for your sweet comments on the Paris posts. You've motivated me to carry on and I hope you continue to enjoy the adventure via the comfort of your home or even better, that it might possibly encourage you to make plans to travel to the far away places of your dreams.
Today I'm going to share two of our favorite farmers markets. They have a few similarities but are also very different. The first is the Sunday market on Rue Cler. This charming cobblestone pedestrian street is lined with adorable shops, boulangeries, cafes, markets and food purveyors of all sorts of delicacies.
To sum it up…come hungry.
This is where I met a lovely elderly woman (probably in her 70's) dressed in her Sunday finest including a pristine mink coat. She was directing me as to where to get a delicious brunch speaking only French. It played out like a scene from a movie…only it was real. I wish I had taken her photo because she was BEAUTIFUL.
We stopped at the place she recommended, Cafe Du Marche and had delicious omelets and croissants followed by large cups of cafe creme. Yum.
Afterwards, we shopped the markets, picked up a few pastries for later and watched all the lovely French families doing the exact same thing.
Our other favorite was the Raspail Organic Marketlocated between rue de Cherche Midi and rue de Rennes. This is more of an authentic farmers market with the vendors set up under tents lining the street. The Barefoot Contessa shops this market although we didn't bump into her. You can find the best organic produce here. Amazing pears, apples, plums, figs, carrots…such luscious fruits and veggies!
Here is where I fell victim to peer pressure from an adorable French farmer and tried the goose pate…definitely NOT my thing. But the duck was very good and I brought a jar home for The Man. I also bought a set of 12 horn spoons and a few serving pieces from another vendor and I was tempted by the wonderful market baskets in every color in the rainbow.
Looking back through my photos I can see how I was easily enamoured with so many ordinary and utilitarian things like the fruit crates all piled up. I thought they were kind of pretty with their French words and colorful graphics. And I was even charmed by the waxed paper produce bags because it's no secret that I'm such a sucker for cute packaging. As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Or in my case, the camera lens.