Originally published in Belle Inspiration
March/April 2012 issue
From my tiny balcony I could see the sign - Antiquités – Brocante, Samedi 17 Diamanche 18.
And all week rue Cler had been busier than usual. Parts of the rue had been partitioned off, tents lined both sides of the sidewalks, vans and trucks squeezed in between tiny cars.
I have never gone to one of Paris' infamous flea markets - I knew that I would find all that my heart could ever desire and...would not be able to bring it back to the States. So I figured it best not to tempt myself. But with a flea market literally on my doorstep, how could I resist?
The rue was filled with people - I was surprised that so many people could fit into such a narrow space. The hustle and bustle was colorful, vibrant, and inviting. And there was an amazing variety of wares; antique, vintage and new.
Antique children's toys
Chinoiserie cabinets - gorgeous!
This vender had tarnished, slightly battered but beautiful silver pitchers, creamers, buckets and trays at great prices. Oui, I purchased a tiny creamer.
But maybe my favorite vender was the fellow selling these helmets. This adorable monkey was the cutest one!
This Union Jack chair was a hoot! And there was a matching ottoman at a vender farther down the street. It would be perfect for my sons' room (sigh).
This flapper painting tempted me almost more than I could bear, but there was no way she would fit into my suitcase (double sigh). Still, I'm going to ask Mimi to keep an eye out for her. You never know!
Cafe Roussillon is half a block from my apartment. Since rue Cler was closed to traffic, the cafe was able to extend their tables and chairs out into the street. After a day of wandering the stalls solo, Mr. Gorgeous joined me for a carafe of red wine and an assiette du formage et la viande (a platter filled with a variety of cheeses and meats). It was great to be seated at the heart of all the activity. We spent a pleasant few hours sipping, nibbling, and talking - to each other and most of the very friendly people seated around us. Every seat was filled, music poured from inside the cafe - it really was more like a block party than a flea market - c'est magnifique! But I had one more stop to make...
My most precious find of the day was this tiny Hippo I purchased from an African vendor. I collect them and she(?) is the second I've bought home from Paris - though 10 years apart. I think that I'm going to purchase a Hippo during every trip to Paris from now on - my own personal la tradition de Paris. What a wonderful idea, oui?
Sincerement votre de Paris,