allo all! it’s very late and my last post from paris this time around. it’s been a fantastic trip with lots of great memories and pretty things coming home. but for the first time, it’s a little different for me. as you know i adore the flea markets and all the stories they tell. lately though, i feel a little bittersweetness about it because the subtle ‘progressive’ changes in the city are becoming more apparent and i’m not sure they’re for the best.
ok maybe at times paris can be a bit of a gilded lily, and i can understand wanting to mix the old with the new. but paris is the worlds’ muse and we come for her beauty and inspiration.
le train-bleu, in paris’ gare de lyon
and as someone who loves interior and exterior architecture, i can’t for the life of me figure out why the french allow their beautiful city to be ravaged by renovators.
the changes are everywhere, from the windows coming down and satellite dishes going up
to small details like the books being pilfered for engraving and endpapers sold as scraps
glass fronts on traditional boulangeries and boucheries are tossed aside and the storefronts are cemented over
handpainted panels are removed and separated from the grand walls they once adorned
and apparently stained glass is considered passé
why someone would want to dismantle a marble fireplace and mirror is beyond me
and why would the city allow such destruction?
i mean, i’m not complaining, it gets circulated all over the world i suppose
but it just seems that in this day and age we should preserve what we have and take care of it as stewards
these apartments will be here long after us and what will be left?
where is the love?
and why is it being replaced with ‘sanitization’of the city’ as the french are calling it?
ok maybe i am complaining just a little. it’s happening throughout the city. these beautiful old tile frames in the metro are all coming down
and the old bouquinistes kisoks are being replaced with one of the prototypes below
maybe like joni mitchell sings, paris, is old and cold and settled in its ways. but isn’t that why we love her so? if the powers that be want to make changes, i humbly suggest adding a few more escalators in the metros, make it easier to catch a cab and run a design contest for a pretty something to cover the hanging clear plastic garbage bags on the streets. of course outlawing satellite dishes and making it a crime to dismantle apartments and store facades over 100 years old wouldn’t hurt either! but some say it’s progress. i say it’s heartbreaking. what do you think?
bonjour mes amis, ca va? we’re fully immersed in parisian life over here, for another week anyway. i’m trying to make it last and enjoy every minute (even if that’s a nap here and there)! paris is like a laduree candy shop with unexpected, delicious beauty around every corner. especially at the markets. we can walk for miles and still only skim the surface.
the fleas are full from the vendors’ summer finds and we’ve been getting up early to make the most of it.
i definitely have a thing for chairs and have been getting sofas, slippers, vanity stools and bergers…
sad for the ones that got away…
but n love with what’s coming back to the states! thought you might enjoy a preview.
and we know you can’t get it all. but we sure try! we’ve been to the maison objet (a little uninspired this year but i’ll post the pics from it. then again everything pales in comparison to the fleas for me!) instead of heading back we went to the markets with our client for the past few days. she’s been shopping for her store, shed home and tomorrow we’ll be packing her goodies up to ship.
the photo above is dave bloom’s of sophie atlan’s booth in clignancourt at vernaisson. we spent a couple days shooting together for the new book.
the detail in this country never ceases to amaze me
the closer you look the more you find
even a tiny powder puff is still as pretty as ever.
well tomorrow is our last day together, and i believe a good time was had by all.
thought you’d enjoy a shot of cindy’s room at caron de beaumarchais. amazing what you can do with 4 little walls!
we’re invited to a big party at clignancourt on friday eve and a concert tomorrow. we’re hoping to get to the show above if we can squeeze it in! well it’s minuit, so more soon, have a great night!
Bonjour mes chères amies and happy labor day. i hope you’re having what’s left of a great weekend. here in france the day is coming to a close but i wanted to stop by and share ours before a new day dawns and the weekend fades away.
claudia and i decided to take roadtrip to one of the biggest flea marktets in france. sadly no, this is not our car, but trucks like this are de rigueur for vendors who descended on the little ville de lille this weekend.
we’ve talked about going for years but there was always something else to do. so we finally hit the road for what was a legendary experience.
it’s known as a braderie, and it’s been going on since the 12th century on the first weekend of september. ten thousand people gather for what can be described as no less than a fleamarket and mussel fest. it’s a gentle takeover of every single street, nook and cranny and is lined with vendors whose treasures continue to astound and amaze me.
we got there a day early since we heard that setup started early and the crowds weren’t there yet.
but it didn’t take long and by sunrise it was on overdrive.
the sheer magnitude was almost incomprehensible. hard to believe it could be so organized in hundreds of tiny streets and parks. but then if you’re doing it for a few hundred years it’s probably child’s play!
of course there was something for everyone and i had to keep focused for what to shop for.
i’m a sucker for all things boudoir so bikes and sleighs were out unfortunately. but sometimes it’s just as much fun to have the pics as the real thing since, as my guy says, you can’t buy it all!
we had rolling carts and bubble and when they were full, we were way done. we think we walked 10 hours both days!
it was worth it, cause tonight we’re going through our stash and it’s a little like christmas.
as i started putting up pics tonight i realized that for me the fleas really tell a story. and they tell a different one to each of us. it was crazy what some people were carrying out! for me it’s about that girl. the one who lived a life i romanticize for it’s beauty and detail. i love to imagine the things she had and did, from an era that seems like a mysterious and glamorous dream.
i wonder about what she wore (or didn’t)!
the pretty powder boxes that every chic femme fatale had.
her dressing table and what the bottles held. was her life so different from ours?
the way she traveled
and where she went
how she decorated
and what she read
whose call she waited for
the letters she wrote
and who she loved
and what made her happy?
and how did she end up in my hand?
well that’s enough dreaming for tonight. it’s such a gift that the people of france preserve so much living history. i’ll never get over the markets and every single time i go it’s both fresh and old. can’t wait to do it again tomorrow, we’re shopping the dealer day at clignancourt. et alors, ic’est midnuit. have a bon nuit and sweet dreams!
hi gang, how was your holiday? i hope it was really long and lazy!
between naps i started unwrapping my stash from last month’s trip to nice.
it wasn’t till the last day that i picked up a few things for myself. (actually to sell but i can love them for awhile :)
i’m an ephemera-nut…i have a feeling you are too? the menus, the cards, the love notes…i swooned!
i thought this one would make a pretty business card
super fun stuff at the fleas
and don’t get me going on the textiles!
ok i give in! there were incredible vintage fabrics (quilts, spreads, unused, patched) but as my guy says, you can’t buy it all…then again, there’s that container i’ve been dreaming of, and i’m having another OKL sale in november…
i can’t describe the gorgeousness of the linens. every one is a work of art. not to mention the preservation techniques and impeccable laundering.
i had to get this little tray when the woman told me it was used to carry in the mail.
i fell for these chairs, i love their curly whimsy!
i did manage to nab these pink shades that were still in their original 30s wrapping paper
and this black lacquer tray, made in occupied japan
i got this for you, dad!
there was an infinite variety of les coiffeuses
this one packed right up and rolled out!
furniture, doors, hutches
accessories, electronics, phones, vintage clothes
…and the books
i think i fell hardest for the books. these were all piled up and dirty but so pretty together. they’re all from the 1800s and seemed to have been a collection for a very long time. turns out two of them are a set, with hand painted hot pink covers, what’s left of them. but the insides are perfectly preserved. some are stamped and inked. all are magnificent!
i had to tie them with a satin ribbon right away.
liz finally made me put them away
anyway it’s so the little things isn’t it? well i better get going. i could go on and on obviously! but for your notes, if you go to the region (by the by i’m heading back in august and september so if anyone is over and wants to rendezvous, let me know)! if you do go my advice would be to hit the first magazine shop and look at the brocante and antique magazines like aladin. check the local paper for brocantes, vide greniers and special markets.
and for those who aren’t going away, i hope you don’t feel like you can’t find anything here in the states. i was out last week and found this oil painting from vienna in a collective (among many other things)! there’s incredible stuff all over in the u.s., in every town, so don’t give up on yours and vow to find that one fab thing. hit your local consignment, thrift, collectives and antique stores even if you think they’re really grungy or way chi chi. ok better get back to it, have a great night!
hi guys! how’s everything? i hope things are going well and your summer is offf to a great start. i feel like it’s been forever since i’ve been here. it was a whirlwind week going to nice and just getting back. my client and i shopped the flea markets to decorate her pretty little apartment overlooking the med. we had almost a week and had no internet. kind of a mind blower but then again maybe it was good cause we really focused without distractions. still i missed checking in and wanted you to see it all!
so much happened with lots to share but tonight i just wanted to let you know i hadn’t fallen off earth. i got home to working technology today and saw this post by vicki archer who met us for lunch at the flea market at cours saleya. there’s a lot going on in that region and i’ll be writing what i learned about the markets from cap ferrat to st. tropez. till then enjoy one of vicki’s gorgeous shots from the market. she captured what i couldn’t and i’m so happy the day was preserved. we were together when she took this, marveling over whose it was, the craftsmanship, the ritual of daily life!
well i do believe i’m be having a bit o jet lag so here’s to calling it a nuit. sweet dreams!
hey guys, happy thursday. what do you have planned for the weekend? i hope a whole lotta nada or major productivity, whichever you prefer! i’m about to have a full house so it will be hard to get back here much. these last couple hours of solitude are going way too quick! i had to come by, regroup and keep track of what’s happening.
it’s been a whirlwind putting the trip itinerary together. there are so many connections between all these incredible women that have happened in one split second. i want to remember the path as it’s wonderful circle of friends and i had no idea it existed.
over the past couple years i’ve met up with some of my blog buds and have always wanted to meet with others. sharon, for example. we briefly met at the bloggers’ cocktail party in paris but didn’t get to chat much. but we kept in touch a bit and i always loved her site. turns out she’a the local brocante expert and also knows melanie. check out her site, her life and photos are pure soul food!
is this even real? she gives brocante tours so keep her as a reference if you’re in the provence area. and that’s not all.
turns out my girl erica from haven in paris has been antiquing with her in normandy and they had a ball:
mimi of belle inspiration (another blog bud turned hard core friend)! mimi has been giving my flea market tours when i’m not in paris and is my soldier on the ground.
ok well that’s officially full circle and would be enough but i’m sure it’s going to get even thicker!
this image was taken by dash who is in the region now. well, it’s getting late and i officially better jet. have a great rest of your night!
morning guys, happy wednesday. i hope your week has been good so far.
the past couple days i’ve been putting the france trip together. there’s so much info it’s mind boggling. one country, one region, even one town can take a lifetime! since i’m going back in august i thought it would be fun to explore a bit more than i can do this month (it’s just a week), and thought maybe you’d like to go too if you’re free. i’m putting something together for somewhere between august 23 and sept 5th. more soon on that.
i took some of your great advice and will incorporate it into the itinerary. i’ll check out eze, beaulieu villefranche and st paul de-vence…anything else?
we’re meeting up with vicki monday, planning’s in the works with corey and melanie. ny friend kate married a frenchman and they live in nice. he happens to be an antiquing guru and she’s going to show us around the warehouses and haunts her hubby keeps under wraps. i also got in touch with another fantastic blogger who was at the roundup in paris about a year ago when we all met.
in the meantime i’m going through our shopping list. my client wants to keep it simple and live minimally here in her sweet retreat. below is the apartment:
and these were some of the images she sent for inspiration:
ok well it’s getting way late, not morning here anymore…have a great day!
i just liked the sound of that and figured it was a good time to stop by.
hi all, i hope you’re having a ball this june weekend. i spent the morning at the ocean and got my groove back. now i’m home, focused on researching my upcoming job in nice. i want to nail down our itinerary toute de suite. like today cause the trip is June 21. i’ll post what turns up!
i just had to post a couple cute pics that jumped out first thing. this antique store is in grasse, apparently an ancient perfume-making town that inspired the book ‘perfume‘…
but i digress. first thing is getting the lay of the land. the region is officially called Provence-Alps-Côte D’Azur.
there are regions within regions. we’re looking at the 06 (although below it’s called by another name, guess it’s a french thing)
it’s such a dense country with so many villages, towns and history! this could take a lifetime to explore.
this may be sort of dull if you’re not going this year but if you ever decide to, hopefully this can be a reference. i want to get out of nice and up into the less traveled areas but there’s so much front and center!
in all today’s research the most obvious data is that the people of southern france, like parisians, enjoy a good brocante, vide grenier and their antique foires. call it what you will, they’ve been buying, selling and trading the same gems for 200 years.
googling around i stumbled on an article that gave a little backstory on the area:
‘As Gastou tells it, the mid-sixties, was the golden age of the French antiques business. “In those days a merchant could still buy, at one stroke, the entire contents of a château,” he recalls. “As a kid I was dazzled by getting into so many places and seeing such valuable things. In 1968 French priests lost the right to dispose of works of art, but before then provincial curés were permitted to sell them for certain purposes—to repair a church, for instance. Old charitable institutions and hospices, some dating back to Louis XIV, were emptying their attics and cellars.
The best antiques, like major pieces in the Louis styles, went to Paris—or perhaps to America—by the trainload. The next-best material went to the antiques dealers on the Côte d’Azur’. hmmmmm, so that’s a good sign…
anyway i have about a million notes and links to go through. i have a friend in nice who offered to take us around and all the girls (vicki, mel and corey) are on board too. whew!
well i hope you get some sunshine in these next few hours and enjoy the rest of your weekend! more soon~
hi guys, happy tuesday. i hope you had a good day and are about to have a great night!
strange but good timing around here. i’ve been working on the flea market stuff and when i googled jules valles, and discovered that the article i wrote for the girls guide to paris has gone live. not sure how i missed that but it’s a publication i really admire so thank you to the editor, doni for the opportunity to write a flea market article for them.
it’s funny how looking back things can be so surreal. it was only a couple months ago but don’t think i would write the same article today. at the time i was determined to write the about the gritty, dark side of the market when she asked for the article. i wanted to expose the not so pretty part where you have to get dirty, dig and sleuth around. but in the end you always will uncover buried treasure. i wanted readers and passionate flea market excavators to know that over priced and polished fleas are the norm but that if you don’t mind using a little elbow grease, you can go a few streets over and shop on the DL. but it’s not a pristine scene and i don’t know what possessed me to send her these crazy pics. girls guide is such a glamorous mag that of course after i sent in the shots and text and just of the brutal cacophony of this area, i wanted to re-do it. make it pretty. but doni went ahead with it, god bless her! anyway here’s the article. if you like it say hi on the her and let her know you came by!
this is something between a scrap yard and well, it’s pretty much a scrap yard of french things
this is a closeup of the above
there’a a lot of everything
she must have thought i was nuts! anyway i hope you enjoyed the back alley stroll~ have a great nuit!
whew! wrapping up a long tuesday, how about you? liz and i have been working hard on curating a big project coming up in a couple months. but we couldn’t wait to play with some of the goodies in the meantime. this image is one of the teacups from a set we couldn’t resist. the porcelain is so delicate it’s translucent! we’ve been having a ball playing rachel zoe and mary macdonald while we’re out hunting. more on what’s coming soon, i have a couple friends en route so i’m shutting it down for now till tomorrow. have a great and fun filled night!
ps reading the comments i’m glad you guys like it! here’s the rest of it: heparisapartment.com/boutique/index.php?p=1559