23 September 2012

I love Paris in the summer, when it sizzles ....

Can you imagine walking for hours
around the Paris Markets in these
heels? Neither can I.
Fortunately, I also love Paris in the Autumn, when it drizzles.  And its drizzled a lot since we arrived, but we dont care cause were in Paris.  Its surprisingly warm, and a light rain gives even French girls bad hair so hurrah! for once there has been more of a level playing field than the Me Bag Lady – You Glamour Puss encounters I usually have to suffer through.  So yay for drizzle in Paris, it’s on my side.  Whatever the weather, though, it doesn’t stop the gels wearing outrageously high heels at the Markets, and on that front they’ve got me because I just can’t walk for miles in stilettos.  This is a skill that I think French women are taught from birth.
Huge horse figure carved into the chalk hills
overlooking the Eurotunnel entrance
This time for the trip over to France we caught the Eurotunnel train, and it was cheaper, easier and so much faster than the ferry so we’ll probably use the train in future. It’s not for the claustrophobic, I must say, because the train is only a little bit wider than your vehicle and you stay in your vehicle for the entire trip. They close off each carriage from the others, to contain fires apparently, and Douglas kindly regaled me with stories about fires on underground trains, floods in tunnels and other horrible ways you can die while in a confined space deep under the English Channel. Very reassuring. But anyway, after chatting among ourselves for half an hour we were suddenly in France so we set off for Paris.
** Before you go on:  if the font is all over the place from now on, I have no idea why and can't fix it.  Blogspot seems to be having a hissy fit on the font front.  I hate technology when it's stoopid.  Now to continue ....
As usual, we hit the Périphéric (the ring road around Paris) at around 3.00pm, and on a Friday afternoon it was its usual mayhem. I know I’ve said it before, but I do prefer the French Police sirens to all others – they always make me think of the Bourne movies. By now Paris has an exotic-yet-familiar feel to us, at least around the area where we usually stay, and French Police sirens add to the general ambience – especially when they’re not after us.
Dan sells the best
Hot Chocolate Ever

I did get concerned at one point when Doug parked illegally in order to get some cash– ATMs aren’t nearly as common in France as they are in Australia, so you have to get your cash when you can. He left me with the van in order to plead the Australian-tourist-wot-doesn’t-know-any-better story should the Gendarmerie turn up to book us. Everyone parks illegally in France, so you generally have a good chance of no grief, but sure enough on this occasion a couple of boys in uniform spotted the van and started heading for it. But hurrah! just then some young man did something stupid in his car right in front of them, so they veered away from me and headed for him. And then Doug turned up and I told him to drive off very fast, and he obliged without actually knowing why, and so we escaped the wrath of the French Police and got shopping money to boot.

And what a good thing we were cashed up when we hit the Markets because I spent half of our budget for France in a few hours. We arrived before sunrise, as you must if you want the best bargains, and immediately ran into Dan the Hot Chocolate Lady. Dan is an actress who works on silly early morning French TV shows, but at the Markets she also sells the best ever home-made spicy hot chocolate, with ginger, cardamom and cinnamon. So, well fortified, we started shopping and this time we walked away with a really interesting range of items.

Some of the jewellery on offer

The women who asked me to look for antique French cotton lace trim will be well pleased, because that’s the first thing I found. We also got some interesting kitchenalia, including probably the nicest glass and bakelite honey pouring jar I’ve ever obtained. Plus we found lots of excellent copper saucepans and some lovely and unusual enamelware.

Some of my rivals
for the jewellery -
not who you'd
necessarily expect
I ended up with tonnes of fabo jewellery, but this time I had to fight off more middle aged men than girls for the good stuff, and these boys were very competitive so I had to move smartly to get my chosen pieces. I also found good French magazine advertisements, a seriously cool Italian desk lamp that we are considering keeping, a tres very cool chrome and glass coffee table that we are also wondering whether to put in the shop or not, plus lots of lovely Art Deco glass and ceramics. We also carried off a giant panchon, which is a huge earthenware bowl that was used to rest dough when making bread, and this one has a lovely mustard yellow glaze on the inside that I’m very taken with. I’m sure there’s plenty more I can’t remember off the top of my head, but suffice to say that the Porte de Vanves markets delivered big time, and now we are exhausted and recouping for a few hours before heading to a nice little café just down the road for dinner.
You can find anything you want in the
Paris Markets - I didn't buy this

I bought the green Art Deco vase

It’s Play Days for most of the rest of our time in France (plus maybe a bit more shopping on Monday), but we already have such a good haul from the Markets that I’m feeling very relaxed about our buying progress so far. Even putting aside the things that might never make it into the shop, we still have plenty of really lovely items that will look great in the front window. We know that we’ll catch up with a number of French dealers at the big antiques fairs in the UK in a few weeks’ time, so the buying of French stuff hasn’t yet finished, as long as I still have spending money left by then, that is.
Calypso & Caleb would blend in nicely
on this couch, but they are poor, deprived
pussy cats and it stayed in Paris.
Ringing to see if she could offer
a better deal on this way
expensive cabinet. 
She couldn't so it stayed behind.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Debra, Hope you find lots and lots of goodies. I'll be waiting here to see what treasures you bring home. xx