Bringing Parisian Style Home

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bonjour everybody! please accept my apologies for not gettng back to announce the winner of the book last weekend as promised. i’m heading out for a month and it’s been crazy trying to tie up loose ends and just generally keep it together. the poor blog seems to come last which is sad cause it’s actually my favorite venue and I really thank you all for your wonderful comments through the week. i wish I had a case of books and could give one to each of you! but i will be getting review copies of lots of books this summer so there’ll be plentry of giveaways on the horizon. in the meantime, the random number generator was #63, so please, Ms. Lewis send me your address and i’ll get it out to you right away!

in other news, i came across this interview just now that my dear friend and colleague did with me a while ago. i’m reposting it here since some of you are going to paris this summer and i’ve been getting a lot of emails and questions, so i hope this helps and i’ll elaborate on it over the next couple posts. our iphone app also has lots of info like metro, hours etc.  it’s on the sidebar.

Interview by Linda Donahue (well an excerpt anyway, you can see the full thing here: parisiensalon.com-the-paris-apartment

Your book, The Paris Apartment, is all about how to bring Paris style home—no matter where you live.  What was your inspiration for writing it?

I was asked to write a book on my style about 6 months after opening the shop. At the time it was something I had never thought about so it was a bit of a struggle figuring it out. It ended up to be my philosophies at the time, which are still the principals I hold true today. Basically it’s twofold: That four walls can become anything, and that everyone has a personal style to uncover and develop instead of following trends.

What would be the top tip you could give someone to bring some Paris style into their home?

Authenticity. Even if your rooms are completely furnished with IKEA, it will gain character from at least one great piece, from an antique mirror to a chair or chandelier. Don’t ever decorate with kitschy stuff like Eiffel tower lamps or Frenchy stuff from TJ Maxx with ‘Paris’ written on it!

Does Paris style have to be expensive?

Not at all. Flea markets are one-stop shopping and everyone knows that’s where the bargains are. That’s why dealers and decorators shop them early mornings to get the best stuff. If you wait till the end of the weekend you’re likely to get even better bargains cause some people don’t want to pack it back up.

You were featured in Travel + Leisure magazine as you took some clients through the Paris flea markets.  There seem to be so many such markets in Paris? Which ones do you consider the best?

Well actually there are only 3 or 4 flea markets in the Paris proper and Cligancourt is the largest and most comprehensive. It’s a city in itself, with both upscale and dangerous neighborhoods, so it helps to know where you’re going. I would say if you only had time to visit one though, go to Vanves because you’ll get the experience without having to figure out how to navigate the maze that is Cligancourt!

After the countless trips you’ve made to the flea markets over the years, do you have an easy time navigating through them?

Finally! It literally took years to figure out Cligancourt. Every time I go I learn something new. It’s a part of Paris’ history that the city treasures and protects so it’s constantly growing and adapting. There are so many sub markets and alley ways and secret sections and dealer’s areas and special showings…it’s absolute infinity!

The Vanves flea market seems much easier to navigate than St-Ouen. What kinds of treasures can one expect to find there?

Vanves is a great microcosm because it’s just two streets. You can find a condensed version of the larger markets with furniture, ephemera, lighting, accessories, books, lamps, and rugs.  I’ve found some of my best treasures there.

What’s the difference between antiquités, brocante and vide-greniers?

They difference is in the range from bric a brac to high-end items. You’re going to find the chi-chi stuff at a place with antiquités, (usually auctions and shops), more affordable items at brocante fairs (outdoor fairs that are seasonal) and much lower (but still great) household goodies at vide-greniers, which are also known as ‘attic sales’, usually held on the street like a block party.

Can you get through Vanves in a single morning or afternoon?

Yes bu it’s tricky cause it closes at 1pm so you have to get there really early. Even so, you have a lot of ground to cover. The good news is you can go there on both Saturday and Sunday and still have time to visit other markets. Different vendors are there each day so it’s worth it to go back twice in one weekend.

When is the best time to hit the flea markets?

Marche d’Aligre is held almost everyday and that’s right in the city center. Vanves is weekends only and Cligancourt has special days for dealers on Friday mornings. Otherwise you can find everyone there on the weekends and a couple on Mondays. Montrieul is Mondays.

St-Ouen (also known as Clignacourt) is the biggest flea market in Europe. I’ve heard that people have gotten lost in there. Is there a strategy one should adapt before even attempting to visit the flea market?

Not really because you’re bound to find everything you want whether you cover the entire market or not. The truth is you could never cover the whole market. Ok, well, I have, actually! But it’s nearly impossible even for me. I suggest taking your time to look down every alley and not have an agenda. Bargains can be found everywhere.

Is there a difference between the different markets in St-Ouen?

Yes. Every one of the markets has a range from true high priced antiques to the one euro items.

It’s expected by all the vendors that there will be negotiations involved in any purchase. Any advice on that? And is the inability to speak French a barrier to a successful negotiation?

If something is a great price I don’t negotiate, especially on small items. But if I’m purchasing two or more things I’ll ask for the best price for all of it together.  When you’re asking for a price, always ask for the ‘Pour Export’ price (that is, if you’re shipping it), because they know you’ll have to pay duties and taxes and always give you a break. If it’s a small item, ask ‘How much is this?’ (Combien, monsieur?) Or ‘How much for both?’ (combien pour le deux?).

So, say someone makes a big purchase—a piece of furniture, for instance. How would they get that purchase back to their home (if they don’t happen to live in Paris)?

There are a number of shippers on the premises at Cligancourt and I like Edet and Hedleys. Most of them are on the main road, rue de Rosiers where everyone goes when they get off the Metro and make their way through the market. All are English speaking and will walk you through the process, which is involved but not overly complicated.

So, the Paris flea markets are a good place to go to bring that Paris style home with you. Any last words of advice to those who decide to hit the markets while in Paris?

Be careful at all the markets. As wonderful as they are, there are pickpockets and dangerous characters about. Wear good walking shoes, bring cash, and if you’re going to charge something, use Visa or MC because they can’t stand AmEx, and most vendors won’t take it.

I always bring an extra duffle bag to fill with treasures, so when you’re there, look for small things to bring back like compacts, sketches, small paintings, fabrics, books, jewelry boxes, lampshades, candlesticks and photographs. Have fun!

Photo by One and Only Paris Photography.

June 6, 2015. Clignancourt Flea Market, Clignancourt Market Paris, flea markets, Fleamarkets, France, Friends, Giveaway, Marché aux Puces, Marche d'Aligre Paris, Paris, Paris Flea Markets, Vanves Flea Market, Vernaison Market. 4 comments.

a good book has no ending –RD Cumming

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bonne journée tout le monde~ i want to start the day by sharing a delicious book that was sent to me for review by Harper Collins. it’s a gorgeous tome and the perfect excuse to host a giveaway!

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i was sent two copies of ‘The Paris Style Guide‘ by Elodie Rambaud, an interior decorator and stylist who has put together a book of parisian destinations of all kinds including, green and flower markets. antiques shops and repair, craft and art supplies and couture ateliers.

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she goes on to tell us the address, phone numbers and website as well as the metro. i like that she’s included festivals and fairs, and matches each of the recommendations with a map at the back to cross reference in a couple of different ways.

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the book is nice and thick, not something you’d neccessarily toss in your bag for the day but it’s a great resource and like me, you can always take pics of the pages…which i had to stop doing too many before reposting every pretty page if it!

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some of the resources are really unusual like where to get film for your polaroid, Chanel embroideries and random curiousities that sometimes only locals really see.

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elodie lives in paris and works as a prop stylist. she says she works with objects to tell stories and focuses on lifestyle, food and decorating.

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suffice it to say she has a deep inside scoop.

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in the 10 chapters she does surprise us here and there with unusual shopping stuff but also includes what to do in a weekend, dealing with wifi and communication, getting around and some hotel recommendations.

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note that this book was published this year so it may change pretty quickly.  but then again so much in paris has stood the test of time. hopefully it will be very slow in changing and these merchants will see a boost due to the book and be there for years to come as so many of them have. she features some shopkeepers with 100+ years in business.

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anyway if you’d like a copy submit your name in the comments and we’ll draw a winner over the weekend. till then, have a great day!

May 28, 2015. Books, Decorating, Design, flea markets, France, Giveaway, Paris. 81 comments.

embrace change

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parisian ambiance by carinaokula.com

bonjour mes cheries, happy sunday! i hope you’re having a good weekend and savoring the last of the evening hours. i’ve been nesting lately, just enjoying home after moving around so much last year and definitely not thinking much about travel and changing my locale right now. but spring will soon be sprung and that means wanderlust is in the air.

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my beautiful paris, norma theison

truth is i do love to travel, there are still so many places on my bucket list to see. for you too? well, an invitation to an event in july reignighted my fire to explore the world; (or at least my favorite part of it), with a trip to gay paree.

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it’s hard to believe that paris never gets tired after all these years. it’s just a magical world i guess, why ask why? the good news is that for 3 days i’ll be with kindred spirits who share an obsession for the city. the event will be held at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée and is called ‘Embrace Paris 2014′. the hostesses who are behind the trip are two brilliant belles, norma thiessen and carina okula. they’re both magificent photographers and the city is their muse. (carina’s work will soon be featured in the paris apartment’s boutique)!

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these two have put together an incredible itinerary beginning with the hotel. they have hooked up with the french chamber of commerce, recruited sponsors and planned an intimate conference to empower women using a variety of social media channels.

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as carina’s blog says, the gathering is about:  Bringing creative international women together for an experience full of positive energy. There will be collaborating, sharing and brainstorming all things related to the wonderful and crazy world of social media. EMBRACE is about empowering each other through positive peer support and will be hosted by the city’s most beautiful hotel in July 2014.

We’ll be generating a Paris inspired frisson throughout social media platforms such as TwitterFacebookInstagramGoogle+, along with individual websites.

MY BEAUTIFUL PARIS ON INSTAGRAM
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just as an aside, you may remember the last episode of sex and the city? it was shot at the hotel, the night carrie has her aha! moment in that incredible dress!

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i’ll check out the other ladies over the next couple weeks to get to know them beforehand. it’s a really small group with a whole lot going on. here’s a partial roundup:

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so i bit the bullet and am booked for the month of july. if you’re going to be in paris, let me know and we can rendezvous! i’ll be giving tours, doing signings and roaming aimlessly with a van down south.

on another note, my dear friends from Paris Perfect are holding 28 days of clues for 28 entries to win a trip with all the trimmings! stop by their site each day for a new clue and to submit your entry.

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Prize:

  • 5 night accommodation in a one bedroom Paris Perfect apartment with Eiffel Tower view*
  • Two Paris Pass tickets that include free entry to over 60 museums and attractions as well as a free Seine cruise, Métro pass, wine tasting & more
  • Lunch for two at one of our favorite Paris restaurants – Café Constant
  • Two tickets for a Skip the Line Eiffel Tower tour from Easy Pass Tours
  • Chocolates and macarons from the world-famous Gregory Renard shop
  • Beautiful bouquet of flowers from one of Paris’ leading florists
  • Airport transfers for 2 people

all the details can be found here: parisperfect.com-win-a-stay-in-paristhe competition closes march 13, 2014. bonne chance!

ok well it’s getting late and time to enjoy the last few weekend hours. uh oh, just one left…sweet dreams!

March 3, 2014. Embrace Paris Trip, Giveaway, Paris, Paris Perfect Apartments, Paris Trip, Plaza Athenee, Social Media. 12 comments.

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