a french tradition: the gingerbread & ham antique fair


bonjour from paree~coming to you from a day of shopping on the outskirts of paris to visit a fair that happened to be happenning while we’re here. i’ve always wanted to check out the foire de chatou which is held on what’s affectionately known as ‘the island of the impressionists’ from a time when painters like monet and renoir created some of their most famous works here.


today chatou hosts a fair that’s been a tradtion since the middle ages, having moved around a lot and finally finding its home twice a year in this idyllic spot. it’s definitely worth a trip if you’re here at the right time of year.



how it became known as the fair of ham and gingerbread is another story and you can read all about it on the fair’s website linked above.


like all things in paris it’s taken on an air of a pleasant afternoon strolling through chic stands and trying to decide what to get when you want it all. well, almost all.


there was a mix of furniture, lighting and linens

chatou booth


with the displays full of smalls including glass, paintings and statuary



i guess i was a little obsessed with this vendor but there was so much creativity in his tiny space


i had an urge to leave with garden goodies, and maybe cause i just got a dog, fell in love with these.


but i had to be realistic about shipping this time, and sneaking these in with my carry-on was not gonna workIMG_5141

so instead we enjoyed the weather and ate like kings and queens


chatouchatou lunch

the food and desserts were gorgeous, but i was so busy eating that i didn’t get too many photos of the food


when we were fully nourished i vowed to stick with paper and ephemera starting with this old portable writing set, aka early laptop


these engravings were hand tinted, matted in gray and hung in coral frames


we found some of our own and decided to frame them at home


as both a book and handwriting lover i’m always looking for journals and ledgers. under a table was one from a boulangerie


and i couldn’t resist these artist sketchbooks from the 1800s


suffice it to say i wanted it all


puppet theater

French Books

i have a weakness for what the french call all things ‘gallant’, aka erotica to us, basically all things ‘boudoir’


even the silly postcardsIMG_5168

but as scarlet said, ‘tomorrow is another day’ and iit’s getting late. but before signing off, as promised, have hit the RaNdOm NuMbER Generator to give away the books from the last post. and the winners are Deborah McReynolds and Catherine. 

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if you can send me your addresses the books can go out next week when i get back. but if you didn’t win that one, we do have another, brought to you by richard nahem of i prefer paris. he’s a friend of mine living in paris and has started a monthly subscription of postcards featuring his beautiful shots around the city. the first month’s set is up for today’s giveaway so if you’re interested just say the word and we’ll do another drawing tomorrow. et alors, it’s time to shut it down, good night!



September 25, 2015. Tags: , , , , , . Antique Shopping, Chatou, Paris Flea Markets. 17 comments.

i’m back in love again

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in love with life, that is! bonjour toute le monde,  i hope spring has officially sprung for you. i have to admit it’s been a super long time since i’ve had the urge and/or sheer will to blog. upon a little self analysis, i found it to be a case of the old ‘overwhelmed and burned out’ combo. but tonight i stayed in and surfed the net (for the first time in awhile) and voilà
my passion for my business, blog, blog buds, travel, exploration and a general sense of WaNdErLuST came flooding back! there’s so much running through my heart and head tonight that i hope my hands can keep up!

so…since i’ve got to start somewhere let’s go with this…it’s a site called workaway.com which has the most unbelievable, one of a kind travel experiences imaginable. you can choose locations throughout the world and are hosted in some incredible venues from castles to chateaus to B&Bs in exchange for everything from gardening, decorating, painting, management, teaching english, horse care, babysitting or construction, JUST to name a few. beware if you visit the site, it’s utterly addictive and will pull you in deep!

since i fell victim to the delicious guilty pleasure, you can kick back and do a little armchair traveling to see if any of these experiences would pique your interest. this kind of barter could be a good way to see the world. i couldn’t post everything i fell in love with and kind of ended up focused on europe but did come across so many other amazing things in jamaica, south america, india, indonesia, malta, sardinia, capri, the us, canada, british columbia and more. just mess around see where in the world you’re drawn. here are some of my favorites:


Help with a rural tourism project in Mazzarino, Sicily, Italy

We are a rural tourism project about natural farming, simple living, yoga and outdoor activities. We are starting in Sicily, in a small organic farm.
We will be building a yoga platform, creating accomodations for guests and of course farming, doing yoga and surf, running workshops and other things.
We are a young team of professionals with our rural tourism project in mind.
If you’re curious to join, just contact us.



Help at a Spiritual Eco Village in Sicily

We are a couple living in the mountains in the Maddonie nature reserve, an hour ride from Palermo in Sicily.

We like to define ourselves as ‘the first spiritual ecovillage in Sicily’. This place is a very strong energetic point, and the winds are changing often.

We are in the process of becoming self sustainable.

We are musicians and artists and so music and creativity are very present and alive here. The place was created by Toto, a Sicilian musician, with a dream of creating a space for personal healing. We try to follow the changing currents and be attentive to ourselves and to others who surround us. We give support to each other in difficult moments and a big laugh in moments of joy. We practice energetic work such as reiki and every once in a while hold a sacred Native American ceremony called Temazcal – led by Toto, who has walked the ‘red path’, the shamanic journey.


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Speak English in Exchange for 4 star accommodation in Spain

Our company organises programmes that bring together a group of volunteer native English speakers and a group of Spaniards for a week in a four star hotel.

The goal of the programme is for Spaniards to speak English and improve their capacity to communicate in English.
Volunteers get free **** hotel accommodation and meals during the week.

In exchange, we ask you to take part in activities such as one-to-ones, telephone calls, group conversations, etc.


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Lavender farm in the beautiful Lot valley near Toulouse, France

Ian and Suzie (a Kiwi and Brit) have established a lavender farm in the beautiful Lot valley about 1½ hours north of Toulouse. We have 2,500 lavender plants, which we tend by hand, and would dearly appreciate some help in the spring and autumn. We have travelled and lived all over the world, and got the inspiration for our lavender farm in New Zealand. We now produce our own essential oil which is 100% natural. We are looking for a sincere, energetic couple/two friends who like working outside with plants and would enjoy helping us tend the lavender and garden. By way of variety, you might also like to help with small building repairs and painting jobs on the property – our “To Do” list is shrink-proof!


We would really appreciate help with the maintenance of our 16th century chateau and organic vegetable garden in Crozon sur Vauvre


We are an English couple who live in a 16th century French chateau. In summer we sometimes have music courses and concerts, in which the house is filled with people and music. The rest of the time it’s more relaxed, with friends visiting and parties in the evenings. The winters are much calmer! We love hosting new people and filling the house with music and laughter. We would really appreciate help with the maintenance of the chateau. This includes gardening, especially in our organic vegetable garden, and painting and decorating inside. During the workshops help with cleaning in the kitchen would also be great. Just let us know what area you prefer to work in.


Come and help out with a chateau in Burgundy

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This is an amazing chateau with lots of history. It is buzzing with energy, used to be a monastery long ago, then owned by nobles and artists and still seems to have a special feeling. It is peaceful and nature surrounds it like its clothing. The views are spectacular rolling hills and its pureness touches everyone’s heart alike.
We have big beautiful outbuildings (gallery, event space) that need looking after and finding inspiring activities to do with them will be a pleasure.
This time we are going to maintain it as a bed & breakfast with possibilities as an art, workshop, culture center with a touch of holistic, already established by the high quality of life it offers. We lived in Bali for a while but nothing can beat this place and its magic…come and share it with us.

I am a sculptor, photographer, jewel-maker, writer. My two sons (21 and 23 years) are into creating modern music compositions and we intend to use it! They studied in France, Holland and Bali, making them internationally wise and cool to be with. We are planning something special and invite passionates to experience this with us.

Burnand has a micro climate and nurturing grounds for 21 exotic orchids, making it a protected area. We will serve travelers going down south and who are smart enough to stop over and enjoy Burgundy’s secrets. This is the real France…we are aiming for people from all over the world.

Type of help

Cooking / shopping
General Maintenance
Help in the house
Animal care
Helping with Tourists
Language practise
Art project



Need help in my artistic B&B in Arles, south of France

Workaway,Workagay…..Welcome in Arles,UNESCO-heritage town in the sunny and beautifull Provence for everybody with good heart!

My name is Eryk, I’m a french man in love with ARLES and around.
I’m using the Workaway system in order to help me finishing building my house in a artistic way: that’s why I need a team of good handyman/woman.

I work outside two days/week, that’s why I sometimes need some general help for the B&B as cleaning, check in, general computer communication etc…


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Come to the Côte d’Azur, near Monaco, help with gardening and learn French

In a wonderful surrounding, on the “Côte d’Azur” near Monaco and the italian border. Even in Paradise, trees grow too big, and weeds have to be trimmed! it is mostly for gardening that we need help, but also to maintain cabans built some time ago; we are a group of friends of various ages and origins, living on different spots of the property. I am a teacher of French for foreigners, and could help you improve your French.



Help out in a small hostel in the middle of the main street of a surfy town called Itacare, Brazil

My husband and I own a small hostel in the middle of the main street of a surfy town called Itacare. Itacare is one of the few remaining places in Bahia, Northeast Brazil, where the Atlantic rainforest meets the sea. It is famous for its surf, beaches, waterfalls, rediculous beauty, capoeira, reggae and amazing vibe.
We are a 10minute walk to 4 of the local beaches (there are many more!), 10mins to the town center and next to the bars and restaurants (because of how the property is arranged we don’t suffer with street noise).

Our hostel is very sociable and we pride ourselves on making our guests feel at home and providing lots of entertainment and relaxation. Part of what gives it that homley feel is that our volunteers are like family and enjoy being part of it and sharing it with others.



Help in Greece at a horse farm

We need all year but if you want to come in summer you should stay at least 2 months, from the end of June or July. This should then be someone with horse experience, since we need help with the horses. Also we need help with the garden and the house.
The other months, September to May, shorter stays are possible, but at least one week. Then we are more flexible with work, tell us your skills and we will see if it fits.
All the year we are happy to have volunteers with us who teach our son English while playing with him.



Help in a unique hotel in the Island of Sardina

In Santu Lussurgiu, a little village on the west side of Sardinia, there is my family’s house, built at the beginning of XVIII century by my great grand parents. It has been kept by my family throught out the generations. In 2002 my mother decided to move from Milan to this little village in Sardinia with my sister and I.
My mom has always loved this house very much and when she had the opportunity she turned it into a charming little hotel: she wanted to share her passion with people from everywhere.

Our hotel is an “albergo diffuso” which means that the rooms are spread out in different builings in order to preserve the architecture of the village. Our guests can feel like living in our community and for us it is like being part of a very big family.

Inside the Hotel, we also run a small gourmet restaurant where we only serve local foods and wine. During these years we became friend with the local producers and we often organize visit and classes for the guests in order to teach them how to make cheese, pasta or pastries.
We are partners of Slow Food association: we are a “learning center” of the Gastronomical Sciences University and many students come here to study.



Help us renovate our beautiful chateau in the Loire valley

Hi we are in the process of renovating a beautiful chateau in the loire valley, we are located in the Vendee which is the 2nd suniest part of france next the Cote d’Azur. Most of the heavy lifting is now done but we are seeking help in improving the grounds and clearing out some outbuildings. There are other bits and pieces to do in the house aswell painting etc We are looking for someone who likes outdoor work, dogs and cats and gourmet food as we have our own restaurant here!


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Caretaker couple wanted for Small fairytale castle in Loire Valley, France

and last but not least, the first image leads to this little cherry:


well that will about do it for tonight considering it’s 4am, where did the time go? well i guess i did take a trip around the world so it was kinda worth it. anyway it was fun to fantasize. if you end up going (or have ever done this kind thing), i’d love to hear about it. by the by, i posted some of this on my paris apartment facebook page as it’s been easier to share stories and links than to blog. so if you want a quick update you can get updates from over there.

ok well, good night and sweet dreams of infinite possibility!

May 3, 2015. Tags: , , , . France, the world, Travel. 16 comments.