If you love to shop there is no better place than Paris.
When you least expect it the unexpected happens. Walking home from the Latin Quarter one late afternoon I walked past two young ladies dressed in vintage. I stood watching them for a good 15 minutes wondering to myself if they were out for an evening of adventure or if they had just finished a day of shopping.
I love how they are playing with time and I try to grasp a bit of how it might have been. To shop in Paris during this era was fun and exciting.
Shoes, shoes & more shoes....
I'd been looking for a pair of shoes to replace my running shoes that failed to make it in the suitcase when I came to Europe. What better excuse did I need to shop for shoes in Paris.
There is nothing more beautiful than a pair of shoes made in France, Spain, Portugal or Italy.
The leather is soft & the shoes well made. No shortcuts are taken when it comes to expensive shoes that are made to last a lifetime. The temptation to purchase a pair or two was eliminated by the prices. Good shoes are well over $200.
I really don't see women actually walking in these shoes. At least not very far. But they are stunning to look at. I like to think of them as pieces of art.
Dare I mention that you don't see even 1 pair of running shoes or walking shoes in my pictures. I had so much fun looking at all the different shoes in any store that sold them. My walking shoes, in comparison are pretty boring and not worth a picture.
Galleries Lafayette is the grandest department store in Paris & of course I had to see what it was all about. This store consumed three entire blocks - with streets in-between. The store has been around for five generations and is still owned by the same family. You can check out the fascinating history here: https://haussmann.galerieslafayette.com/en/culture-and-heritage/
Galleries Lafayette sell pretty much anything from designer wear, cutlery, food, linens, shoes and more. There is no way you could shop all three stores in one day.
There are chocolate departments, organic departments, pre-made food, dining areas, and a wine department that contains a locked room storing the most expensive wines. These departments take up an entire floor of the store that take up an entire block.
Needing to buy a knife while in Paris due to the fact that the property I was staying at did not have a knife sharp enough to cut a tomato. I'm a stickler for having at least one good knife in a kitchen. Plus, I will be taking them back to my Airbnb for guests to use. A big thanks to Franck, Michael & Candice for all their help finding a great set at a bargain price and to Robert for being the handler.
Vintage, swap meets and art galleries-oh my!
My 'favorite' places to spend time are vintage stores, swap meets, flea markets, & antique stores. I can't just walk quickly by these types of shops. In a market setting or a small store, I can spend hours exploring. I must get that from my Mom who was a collector of just about anything old.
Having just come to Paris after visiting my friends at Chateau du Gudanes in the south of France, my mind was still there. So many of the items I saw would be perfectly suited for filling the rooms of the Chateau. Perhaps Karina & I should plan to go on my next visit to see what we could find to bring back. Another work-cation? I'm ready. And I know a great truck driver from Arizona that would be more than willing to haul our finds.
One of the largest markets in the world, if not the largest, is just outside the 20th arrondissement in Clignancourt. I spent two days there and still did not see it all.
These odds & ends from old chandeliers and metal pieces -from who knows where- what intrigued me so much that I spent a good hour looking through every nook & cranny. I would have taken this entire table's treasures had I an easy way to get it all home to Arizona. My imagination was in high gear thinking of all the cool things I could make....
The boxes & cylinders in the first photo are unique to me. I was rummaging through a box of miscellaneous 'junk' when I spotted them. Not knowing what they were I picked one up & asked the men hanging out near the market stall if they knew. Turns out all but one are hot water bottles that were placed at the foot of beds to warm them up on those cold, damp nights. They didn't know what the smallest of the square ones was for. It actually uses coal embers on the inside. You can see a small pile of black powdery residue next to it in the picture. Not sure I would trust that sitting on the foot of my bed with hot embers glowing inside.
Want some tips on this & other flea markets in Paris? https://www.parisperfect.com/plan-your-trip/things-to-see/markets/paris-flea-markets.php
Jacques & Anne own this small yet well stocked vintage boutique at 18 rue de Cotte 75012 Wonderful people and fun conversations here. Please stop by & say hello when in Paris.
Don't dress up when visiting Victoria Antiquites. You will get dusty sorting through all the stacks & bins of old items. They are located at 80 Rue de Charonne, 75011
One of my best finds was just around the corner at the weekly open market. This beautiful vintage window drape is going to be showcased in the new bedroom I am putting together for our Airbnb at home. I loved the colors and the weight of this fabric and am looking forward to making something to represent its beauty & age.
The Art of Paris
I love art. Art of all kinds. Mostly I like art that is out of my price range. Paris is no exception when it comes to having a huge assortment of museums with century old paintings, art galleries and street vendors trying to sell their art. All have a place in Pairs. What one person thinks is a brilliant piece of art worth hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars is to another simply a bunch of paint brushed on a piece of canvas or a strange piece of clay molded to resemble something. Thats the great thing about art... its in the eye of the beholder.
Here's a slideshow of a few pieces I remembered to take photos of. The woman (in photo #2) is sitting inside a cathedral I was visiting and I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. She didn't speak nor lift her head or move the entire time I was standing there. In the end I walk closer and noticed she actually had a cup sitting next to her. In France those less fortunate don't chase after you asking you for money. They will sit wherever with a small cup next to them. Pretty interesting really. I thought it to be as much like art as anything else. What do you think?
Don't leave Paris before you try MACAROONS!!
What I learned about shopping in Paris is - that it doesn't matter where you go in the city there is always something to be surprised about. That the things that appeal to me don't necessarily appeal to someone else. That to find the unique you must be willing to walk the less traveled streets, peek into alleyways, wander the quiet streets outside the tourists zones and most important be curious. And mostly....that you don't necessarily need to have a large budget to enjoy all the shopping Paris has to offer. Looking can be just as fun!
See you next time when I write about some of the interesting parks & gathering places in Paris.