Saturday, August 07, 2010

marché aux puces de vanves

Somehow the word puce sounds a bit unsavory. Literally the dark reddish-brown or purplish-brown color of the belly of a flea, puce sounds like the distressing color of a bruise -- or a flea. :) But that doesn't keep crowds of people from swarming through the blocks of over 300 vendor tables lining the flea market area in Vanves. Take the metro to Porte de Vanves, follow the posted street signs on the corner, and one end of the market is just around the block.

Stockman mannequin modeling an exquisite long-sleeved collar

During the past two Saturday mornings, I've entertained myself by looking and listening and marveling at the wide array of stuff proffered on tables, under umbrellas, and under the acacia trees. From one Saturday to the next, most everything was different. Prices range widely, much is open to negotiation, but politeness in the form of appropriate greetings and a little conversation will make any transaction easier. Some vendors are especially offended at photographs taken without permission. In addition to your purchases, you may wind up with a new history lesson, a recipe for acacia cake (I don't dare pass on my iffy translation of the ingredients), or a tale about a difficult older woman with a mother-of-pearl buckle.

Painted shabby metal chandelier among the fallen acacia blossoms

Tourists are not the only component of the crowds examining all the recycled ex-possessions, although their purchases tend more to fit in a corner of a suitcase. Many of the flea market shoppers are French, looking for home accents. If I were living here, I'm sure I'd do more than just photograph the larger items.

Crystal chandelier in dire need of a wash-up

Vanves has a plentiful selection, but the flea market at St Ouen/Porte de Clingancourt is the big one with quality furniture, paintings, chandeliers, and shipping agents to send home your crated armoire and all the bric-a-brac you can stuff into it. These photos are a very small sampling of Vanves' offerings.

A gilt mirror just like one I bought on a trip to Paris over 20 years ago.

Nightgowns fortuitously monogrammed with my initials came home with me.

From this vendor I purchased a beautifully stitched large linen sheet (bottom left corner) for my new bed and learned the history of some of her linens.

Napoleon III bronze candle stands

Marble table next to rusty watering can

Tortoise shell and silver vanity set

Keys to Paris


Catherine said...

Oh my, what a wonderful way to spend time in Paris.

carol wingert said...

I've just read through all of your Paris posts...from the most recent to the first...and I wish I could be there with you. Shopping, eating, walking and snapping pix. It all looks wonderful! Can't wait to see your finds and hear about your adventures. Hugs, Carol