the softer side of life

hi gang, happy monday! i hope your week has started off right. we spent yesterday once again at the markets in paris (i know, i may have a problem).  but  the marche aux puces are little living museums, filled with the people keeping tradition alive, both in showing up each weekend for centuries to sell their wares, and also in the little things they do during the day from hosting gala lunches to working their craft in their stalls.

Au Brise-bise
Création de rideaux façon ancienne
Restauration de linge
Cours de dentelle aux fuseaux

these first two pics are from a woman who was in her stall working on the lost art of broderie. i’ve always wondered what you do with these little wooden spools! she was moving them like braids in intricate ways to create the most gorgeous patterns.

today i was drawn more to the soft little things as opposed to hard core furniture, and enjoyed snapping shots of all the remnants and swatches of hundreds of years of design and innovation.

every detail is amazing when you look closely

this is the front and back of a book cover i picked up.

the markets have hundreds of tiny scraps like this

journals from merchants who kept the most beautiful records of styles and color ways. these are from chantal who has an incredible stand at vanves. she has quite a few tables, one has stuff for 3 euros, another for 10, one for 20, and  a yet another for 100. truth is you can get just as interesting stuff on the 3 as the 100.

and there’s plenty do dig through. i indulged my passion for linen and picked up some pretty little sets. these are for a baby’s bassinet, a demi lune pillow and tiny sheet.

j’adore the needle work on big linen sheets too. today we’re headed out now to montreuil which is a great monday marker where you can get tons of this stuff for next to nothing.

i’d like to surprise mom with some pretty fat quarters for her quilting.

when i shoot i often think of you, my blog friends, like sande from a gift wrapped life, who i’m sure would be right next to me digging in old boxes of ribbon.

and mande from a la parisienne who would no doubt love this batch of old flower accents. what little fleurs the ladies must have been, parading around in all these fine things!

last but not least after a wonderful brunch with erica of haven in paris in her montmartre apartment (merci encore, mon amie), we had one last stop to pick up something very special. i asked one of the bastille vendors to hold it since i’d spent every centime the day before, so we trudged all the way back to pick up this little feather.  it’s still got the tag so it never made it onto one of those fine ladies’ hats but i’ll put it on the site and maybe it will go to someone who will give it a brand new shot at life. well, we better make that hay while the sun is shining, it’s beaming down so off we go,  more tout de suite, bonne journée!

May 17, 2010. Antique Shopping, Brocantes, Broderie, Marché aux Puces, Paris, Paris Flea Markets, Paris Trip, Vanves Flea Market.


  1. Vicki Archer replied:

    I adore this ‘softer’ side of the markets Claudia….wonderful shots, thank you…xv


  2. Vicki Archer replied:

    PS…I am down south next week if you happen to be coming Avignon way, xv.


  3. Judith replied:

    Just beautiful Claudia, as always I am devouring your post! It’s amazing, all of those incredible things that were just everyday items that today are such luxurious little pleasures. I love the feather and those ribbons! My goodness!!! Thanks for taking the time to post on your busy schedule. A little taste of Paris in my day makes for a great day!


  4. sundaygirl24 replied:

    I adore broderie! Broderie Englaise is also too pretty for words! It’s so Country Chic don’t you think?
    Looks like the weather has perked up a bit for you Claudia! lots of love, Sadie at Flea xxx


  5. La Mom replied:

    Love the lacemaking pictures! I must go see the the process in person — remind me to book a Sunday babysitter!

    La Mom
    An American Mom in Paris


  6. jennifer@nicolejanehome replied:

    Wow. It’s fascinating stuff–like a mini history lesson. Keep it coming!


  7. Sara replied:

    Thank you; this is really interesting. I’ve never been to Paris and don’t when/if I ever will, so it’s very neat to learn about the markets and different areas of the city. Your photos are excellent. It’s almost like being there!


  8. Maggie replied:

    Prettiest feather ever!


  9. The Zhush replied:

    WOW! Your gorgeous photos make me feel like I am right there with you in Paris…which clearly can only be a good thing!


  10. pam robinson replied:

    oh i am drooling… i love all of the bits everywhere… i had a nice trip to brimfield last week but there is nothing like the treasure in france… xx pam


  11. Cris replied:

    mmmmm… embroidered monogrammed sheets. My absolute favorite thing. I bought my first two on my first (and only, so far) trip to Paris a few years ago. Coming home with those sheets made the whole tragi-comedy (paying for a second ticket when I couldn’t use my first full price one, only having 3 days instead of 7, missing all the weekend markets – always, ALWAYS make sure your passport is current BEFORE getting to the airport) worth while. I can only imagine having many of them spread out before me in a market setting for cut rate prices. If you have any more picture of those, I’d love to see them!

    David Lebovitz always says that it can be a real issue for vendors at the market to have you take pictures. Have you found that?


  12. starrydeborah replied:

    Claudia!!! I am fainting at this very moment!!! Arent’ you just pinching yourself over all of such lovely treasures? And having lunch with friends in Paris, you are making me long for those Paris streets :)
    french blessings,
    PS. thank you for leaving such lovely words on my blog!


  13. Shane replied:

    The soft side is me, me, me too!!
    I ADORE those sample sheets of edgings borders, tapes, fringing, ribbons, lace.
    On my next trip to France I think I might need a few days on my own in Paris just for these markets. (no husband in tow pulling me in the direction of the natural history museum yet again)!!

    Another stunning post Claudia – thank you. hugs


  14. Alicia ~ time worn style replied:

    oh absolute bliss digging through that lot, cant look at the photos enough!


  15. Cynthia Maniglia replied:

    Thanks for the great close-ups!


  16. thearmchairparisian replied:

    I am so jealous ~ I live for this stuff. It is pure heaven! Especially in Paris!!! :~))


  17. Claudia replied:

    Oh Claudia, I am catching up on posts and am having such fun reading about your Paris adventures. Someday, someday I will get there! I can’t imagine anything more wonderful than to go to the flea markets there and find little (or big) treasures.



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