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?
bonsoir guys, ca va? it’s one of our last nights in paris and hard to believe it’s been 6 weeks already. the days have flown by and the nights are mainly work but claudia II is our social director and if it weren’t for her we may have missed a lot of great soirees.
last night we were invited to a grande fête at the one and only clignancourt marche aux puces. the paul bert and serpette markets were the hosts and the tapis rouge was rolled out along the alleys both indoor and out. seeing the market by night is such a different experience than in the lazy afternoons. the vendors really let their hair down and put on a night to remember with trimmings to rival a ball at versailles.
it was both intimate and inviting
with furniture you wouldn’t even touch by day being enjoyed by all
the tables were beautifully dressed
and the scent of flowers was everywhere
and bien sur, the champagne was flowing
and the petit fours were plentiful
a good time was had by all, even the kids
this little one below curled up on a chair and took it all in.
so now i bid you adieu, it’s getting late and we have an early morning for our last market day. there are brocantes, fairs and shows going on and we can’t do it all, but you know we’re gonna try!
and last but certainly not least, i wanted to introduce you to claudia’s friend who we saw perform the other night. he’s a funny, charismatic homme francais. we all fell for him, maybe you will too! click the pic above for one of my favorite seductive video of his. there are more on youtube including this live performance. he plays in cosy, clubby spots (we saw him on a houseboat) and just has a real joie de vivre. ok c’est tout pour c’est soir. bon nuit mes cheries, a demain!
allo dear friends, how are you? i hope you’re into the fall weather and are getting your autumn on! we’re still running around and no matter where we turn paris is still ful of surprises. the day started with a rainy marche but it warmed up when we got to le square trousseau to meet friends/fellow bloggers, vicki, author of french essence and haleigh, blogger extraordinaire from making magique. both of these girls know how to live and they record it all with the most gorgeous photography! if you’re ever in need of eye candy or to drift off into neverland, just click your heels on over to their blogs. we shared ideas, tips and just had a great leisurely long lunch which i doubt any of us get to do very often! below is a glimpse into haleigh’s world in paris:
and vicki’s in provence
of course we couldn’t leave without lusting after the desserts…
we thought the day couldn’t get any better when on the way home claudia and i took a shortcut. we came across one of the last men working in his studio on the dying art of handmade engravings. when our friend ellen was here she was telling me all about the copperplates, hammering them backward with tiny pins to create the detail we see in so many familiar works of art.
olaf was diligently working but stopped to chat. he happened to have one of my favorite plates, le souper fin (below) which he purchased from a workshop that had recently closed. if you look you’ll see it was all done in reverse. the detail is incomprehensible and so is the idea that this is how so many important events were recorded! it takes black tar, ink, acid and god knows what else to produce a perfect engraving and it’s all done on handmade paper.
souper fin, Jean-Michel Moreau. he did admit he’s one of that last to do this painstaking craft…
not sure what this one was about but his work was stunning. i couldn’t resist getting a couple to bring back!
the day is now coming to a close and we’re nestled snug in our pied a terre, happily fed and another unforgettable day under our belts, but also aware it’s quickly coming to an end. when i get home lots of goodies will be waiting there. in the meantime, it was nice to know we got a little press in the states today! miles redd recommended one of tpa’s mirrored pieces in an article for the home section!
someone here asked me if mirrored furniture was ‘over ‘and i had to think for a minute. it will never be over, it’s a style that’s been around way too long to become passé now!i found this shot from the market last week and it re-confirmed my opinion that mirror is and always will be tres chic. it’s been worked on furniture since the 2os with details we can’t even produce now. how they manipulated mirror is yet another mystery the french started!
ok well this was a bunch of non sequiturs but isn’t that what a journal/diary/blog is for, to remember the details of life big and small? well, it’s time for bed, officially midnight yet again. have a great night!
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!
good morning guys! it’s a chilly, dreary morning in paris but what else is new? we’re up early for a market held every day called marche d’aligre. it’s been packing and shipping central around here and before everything is en route to the us i thought you’d enjoy one small unappreciated box out of a million that were tossed into piles at lille.
i got this paper filled, obviously long forgotten collection of clippings, patterns, catalogs and dreams at the last minute when we were packed like sherpas and all i wanted was a catalog from au bon marche. the guy gave me a good deal on it and i had to say yes, both because it was embroidery stuff (i inherited an appreciation for it since my mom and gram were always hand making the most beautiful things). the second is that i knew i could send bits of it to you.
when i was in lille i guess i was imagining the 20s or 30s glamour gal to be living in paris, the talk of the town, but this box make me think about an era i rarely do, the turn of the century. i think this humble but grand dame lived in lille and was the woman behind the woman i conjured up.
the box has been untouched for almost a humdred years. the papers are from 1908-1914 and it is a tiny window into her life, one not so different from ours but maybe light years away from her own daughter’s. she saved catalogs and made patterns, wanted to create heirlooms and make a happy home.
planned dinners and bookmarked pages of things she hoped to have one day.
she was concerned about her apprearance
and may have even had extensions!
she worked hard to make beautiful things for her family to inherit, her daughter probably thought she was old fashioned.
but she wanted to feel pretty, even sexy maybe in her corset and garters
when she traveled it was in style with everything in its place
lotions and creams (sorry for the bad pics, it was so dark in here last night)!
amazing how generation to generation things can change so much.
she still had questions
and life was centered around creating a well decorated home with all the trimmings.
well my guests have arrived and we’re off to the market. i hope you have a fabulous day!
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!
getting a call to decorate a client’s house in the south of france was truly a dream come true. it whizzing by undocumented (we had no internet and i only took a few pics), makes it seem surreal. but having no technology (no tv either) was a great way for us to get to know each other and become completely immersed in the project, work hard and get it done. this was ‘my‘ room and waking up to the mountains and mediterranean sea was sheer bliss!
but real it was! i finally had the energy to go thru the shots put a little recap together now that i’m back at home.
truth is started in the states with the prep (liz prepped me, my bff and personal stylist, putting together a grown up-Garanimals packing system that took getting dressed out of the equation so we could focus our 6 days fully on finding furniture). we studied websites, brocante listings and books like exploring the flea markets of france by sandy price. we put together an itinerary so we’d have two or 3 options of markets and/or regions to visit each day along the coast.
arriving at the apartment in the early afternoon was perfect. we took measurements and hit the road. the only thing in it was a table and chairs left by the previous owners that we decided to donate.
not having much time to sight see i just held my camera out the car window and snapped random shots. it’s only looking at them now that i really notice the details.
nice is a port city with an old and new quarter. but whatever the district, the underlying theme is vibrant color and creating an space to enjoy at the sea.
the balconies, windows and shutters were all so beautiful, vibrant and well used.
intertwined with the new was the old…and the ancient! it was inconceivable how many stones and bricks were stacked on top of the other for thousands of years by this group then that before finally becoming the cote d’azur as it’s known today.
looking thru the pics and zooming in showed some closeups of the lifestyle of the locals.
casual, minimal, very french, doing a lot with not a lot of space.
with italian influences everywhere (they were the last ones to have it before france).
our first stop was right in the heart of town, the puces de nice, a fantastic resource that’s open everyday.
i immediately started getting a feel for the region, it’s such different furniture than you’d want in paris.
in fact anything that was even a little gilded looked uber gaudy and overdone. it was all about simplicity, still keeping with french furniture styles and silhouettes.
we scoured this little market and its alleys and chose these chairs in the first hour. they set the tone and we knew that if we both loved something it was probably right.
we found some linen and had the chairs dropped off at the dealer’s cousin’s upholstery shop down the rue. after the puces, we explored the nice proper which is just around the corner. nice is known for having 100 antique stores scattered throughout a maze of streets, in alleys, garages and along old aquaducts. we grabbed a local map and hit the roads one by one.
some were high end, others were not too chi chi and we talked with dealers who led us to their warehouses and basements.
everyone was easy to work with and delivered the furniture either the same day or the next. we found a chic black lacquer chest that went perfectly in the master bedroom.
(at the shop)
(at the apartment)
last but not least, it was here we found a harvest table she could use as a work space and dining table.
along the way we found an antiques collective that had great, affordable stuff indoors and out. one dealer had a lot of what we liked and we started to imagine it all coming together.
we were kind of sticking with neutrals but both really liked this red chest to hold the printer and act as a sort of tech headquarters.
we ended up with the above chinoiserie desk, the cocktail table, small chairs and little chest. (he threw in the little silver lamp on the left with the perfect linen shade).
the little chest was too small between the beds in the guest room so we created a nook outside the master and found an early bamboo mirror to go above it.
there were a couple brocantes going in antibes that day and even though we got there late there was still plenty to be found.
we fell love with a vitrine for the kitchen painted in we affectionately call ‘grayish greenish blue’.
we found a ton of dishes for just a few euros. we didn’t mind they weren’t washed and took them home, basket and all!
the dishwasher was broken and we washed them 3x by hand before they were clean.
at the same market we these found two black wood folding chairs for the balcony (below) and a little marble top cafe table. from then on we ate every meal outside.
we also picked up the little wooden vanity peeking out behind the chairs for the guest room. everyone bent over backwards to find keys to fit the locks and even fitted them with little tassels for us.
we had picked up these chairs for the balcony in the early morning and found linen to make cushions. once they got to the house though, we ended up loving them in the bay window in what we lovingly called the party area.
even with everything the place still looked bare! luckily there’s a sofa, large vitrine and headboards on the way as well as the rug, artwork and more mirrors to reflect the sea. maybe one day i’ll see it all put together!
in the meantime, the next day was another brocante out by st. tropez in grimaud. it was a pretty market in the woods.
we found mirrors, (the standing hall mirror that was once an armoire door), pottery and linens.
the last day came way too quick. our final market was back in nice and we could finally put some finishing touches in place.
not sure how many days we shopped but by the last day we were ready for some details, knowing most of the big stuff was done. we picked up some books and this little statue and stated creating vignettes.
next time i’ll be sure to shoot it all, true beginning, middle and end. for now i hope you enjoyed this little jaunt and i’ll hopefully get more pics as this place develops!
for now i have sweet memories, made a dear friend and have a new place that i can obsess over! it got dark real quick over here so if i’m going to have anything left of this saturday night i best jet! have a great weekend darling friends!
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~