Barn Chic Antiques

Barn Chic Antiques

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Shopping in Paris

Barn Chic goes to France, Part II

In my last post about our trip to France, I shared the reason behind the trip was to attend the wedding of Andrew's cousin. We started our vacation in Paris, and this city is a shopper's paradise (or torture, depending on your budget and luggage).
Let's just say we were way out of my shopping league or comfort zone since I didn't see one Old Navy or Target. I did visit the H & M though.

On one of our many walks back to the hotel, we passed a Couture bridal salon; I can only imagine what sort of price tag that label carries. 


Hope the bride wears a slip with this one.

Nearby the bridal salon were these luxurious cars. 

A Christian Dior window featured geometric shapes and trends for cooler weather. 

The Louis Vuitton flagship store on Champs Elysees

While it was fun to see all the glitz and glamour, this is not my kind of shopping. What I was anxious to see was a true Paris market, so we headed out to find a flea Monday morning. My guide books didn't have too much information about the flea markets (like address or hours), so I picked the 'world's largest flea' in hopes that many vendors would still be open on Monday. We headed north to the artsy district at the top of the hill, Montmartre. 

I asked a man where the market was when we got off the subway, and he pointed us toward a sea of tents. I knew we were getting close! 

But all we found were rows upon rows of new merchandise. And ironically, lots of Louis Vuittons here too, despite not being listed on the company website....

We traveled through aisles of dealers and saw promising signs that directed us to the "Marche aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt" flea market. We turn onto a street that looked pretty quiet. I thought for sure we were in the wrong area, but then we looked down an alley. What I saw was a French flea!

Marché aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt

If there was one piece of advice I was given by both a friend and the guide books, it was do NOT take pictures! Well, what good is that when I want to share my experience with you all?!
Major props to Andrew, who slyly managed to sneak a few shots of booths and merchandise so I could have photos for the blog.

This little store had hundreds of old postcards. 

One of the million alleys. Luckily for Andrew, we only explored about 10 of them.

This table was where I found my one treasure.

Those silver balls are actually French bocce balls, which is played on gravel there rather than in the grass like here in the States.

French chandeliers. Sigh.


Cool old chairs. 

Bad pic of me, but I love those antique French and British flags. 

Yay for signs in English! Everything in this building was much fancier and valuable than my junky taste.

Montmartre is the artists' district, and we got to observe a work of art in progress as a man spraypainted the building wall. Pretty impressive.

Here it is - my prize possession from our time at the French flea! It cost all of 2 Euros, which is 1 Euro cheaper than a bottle of water. What a deal!

I'm glad to have briefly experienced a French market, but there is a reason why the 'professional' antiquers offer escorted tours in Europe - they have the know-how on navigating foreign fleas. Janet from Rubbish said it best: when the purpose of your trip isn't shopping for inventory, it is hard to take time from all the touristy attractions to squeeze in a shopping stop. So, special thanks to Andrew for enduring it, and I hope to one day return to do a shopping excursion! Nonetheless, I was happy to take home a treasure and the memories of an international junket. 

 We next headed to see the Notre Dame Cathedral and ducked into this famous bookstore during a short afternoon rain shower.

The clouds cleared and we got in line to tour the church. 

 It is pretty crazy to think that this was built 850 years ago!

 We had our cultural experience for the day, so it was back to more shopping! This time, we went to the ten story department store Galeries Lafayette - but the end goal wasn't the shopping, it was the sights (I promise!).

Not only is the interior of this 100 year old store spectacular, but it also has a *free* viewing deck with impressive views of the city. 

The next day, we headed out to see a museum. One museum. That is about all my attention span can handle. We decided to try the Musee de l'Orangerie, which is at the far end of the Tuileries Garden and opposite of the famed Louvre. Unlike the mile-long Louvre (which houses the 'three great ladies:' Mona Lisa, Aphrodite, and the Nike of Samothrace), the Orangerie museum is small and manageable with some notable works by one of my favorite artists, Claude Monet. After a quick ride on the metro, we enter the park and head toward the museum. As we round the corner near the entrance, we see...not much. We walk up to the door and use our French language discerning skills to realize that it is closed on Tuesdays.

What next? Well, we were within walking distance of the Louvre; all along we talked about how I wouldn't truly appreciate it enough to warrant a visit since I wouldn't be willing to devote as much time as it takes to even find the exit once inside the Louvre. But as we were standing there, knowing I needed to hit at least one great museum in Paris, we decided to go for it. Why not, right? 

So close, yet so far away...we walked there from the Orangerie, but there were about three metro stops between the two museums. 

As we get closer, it appears that the line is non-existent.

Turns out it is closed on Tuesdays as well.

 I can at least say I tried!

What a beautiful palace and I really enjoyed taking in the architectural design.

But I still needed to see a museum. So, we walked on to the third museum of the morning, Musee d'Orsee, which we saw the evening before on our boat ride. We had high hopes that the third time would be a charm. It feels very foreign to not be able to just pull out the phone and look up information these days!

 Success! After waiting in line for a brief 45 minutes, we were in!

Andrew was standing over a replica of the city.

Look closely at that sign - see the big camera at the top with the forbidden sign around it?

 I thought it was only for paintings. I saw lots of other people taking pictures near the sculptures, so I joined them. And then was politely reprimanded.  The gentleman simply pointed the sign in the picture above. No language barrier there! I apologized and he smiled. I wonder how many times a day he has to tell people.
 This museum is in an old train station. I am happy to report that I spent nearly an hour there and loved seeing several works which I recognized!

This photo was taken from the top round window and gives a great view of so many sights we saw. 

This sums up our time in Paris. It was a great three days, but it was time to move on to Annecy for the wedding festivities. Check back soon for lots of pictures of a sweet historic town at the base of the French Alps. 

Have a chic week!


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1 comment:

  1. Sarah, thanks again for taking us along on your trip. The French brocantes are at the top of my bucket list, but like you suggested, I think I need to save up and go with one of the many antique shopping tours since they have guides who speak the language (and I don't).
    That's funny about the museums. Many years ago on my only trip to Europe (as a teenager), I loved art and insisted my sisters go with me to some of the world's most famous museums... let me just say.. they didn't share my love of the masters, so we didn't stay long at any of them!
    Loved your post.


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