Paris Flea Market Finds

It’s early Saturday morning.  You dash out to board the Metro for a half hour trip to have about the most fun possible – and still stay within the bounds of the law and morality. Yes, it’s the Paris flea market and it may be at its best in Winter when the Parisians have it to themselves. I prefer the smaller fleas and broquantes to the Puces at Clignancourt in St. Ouen. The large one (15 acres!) is worth the occasional visit but for the real deal, small is the way to go.



After a few visits, you get to know what’s available and  who the different dealers are. You begin to develop a sense of the prices and a shopping list. Do bargain.The vendors are real characters, have a great sense of humour and like it when you are as bold as they are. One strategy I developed was to take along a decoy: one of my pretty daughters. Get her to bid. Sexism working in my favour for a change. However, there was the time a heavily moustached, portly vendor tried to pick up both me AND my daughter. Gosh.



There is serious treasure out there for those with the vision and persistence to dig for it.



Try to know what you are looking for. At least have an idea of a particular color you’d like to collect, or a material – like silver plate or porcelain.

photo This lovely bench was my first furniture purchase at the puces. I proudly carried it home on the metro.

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This lovely treasure was made for cafe au lait, but serves as akitchen catch- all.

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I love my hotel plate cutlery which I collect in different patterns. They normally go for one euro a piece. One day, however, a man offered me a full bag, maybe 15 pieces for 5 euros. I asked him why he was selling them so cheaply and he said he was just tired of them. A bit fishy….


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I found this sconce, which the French call an applique, in a bin with broken wires sticking out. I stripped out the electrical, popped in candles, et photo (7)

The big splurge was a pair of Empire era bergeres chair. I had them recovered in linen.

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They are in our Knowlton house now.

We arrive Monday morning so I will have a long wait until Saturday morning but I’ll be posting flea market sights and finds every week.

Guilty Pleasures

For most of my adult life I have indulged in a guilty pleasure that I don’t often discuss with others. This pleasure gives me a visceral thrill, relaxes and excites me, helps me to sleep, and fills my dreams with exotic scenarios. It is a pleasure that I have in common with many others although I don’t know what sends others to it. I suspect that their interest in it differs from my own. Undertaking this blog, I knew I would have to confess and address my addiction. It is an addiction to interior design.


Why, you may ask, would this pleasure make me guilty? Put it down to a religious upbringing in which the material world is to be rejected. We can also blame the intellectual and artistic communities in which I live and thrive. Art is not interior decoration (it is meaning, remember?) and for an artist to be interested in decor is suspect. Looks like a lack of seriousness. A true intellectual should not stoop to interest in such things. “Fifteen  wonderful ways with sheets” would not be an article considered worthy of my attention as a teacher and thinker. But what the hell I tell myself. I REALLY enjoy looking at pictures of beautiful interiors. Always have.


I don’t look at these pictures and think, “OOH I must get one of those”. Or if I do, only occasionally. I look and feel… intrigued. There is a little brain buzz and my attention snaps into focus. What is it that makes THIS image so appealing? I start to take it apart. The high celings, the play of light across the floor, the unexpected objects and juxtapositions, the symmetry of its arrangements. Voila! Whether I can imagine myself living in such a space doesn’t matter. It is to be enjoyed like a still life painting, a grouping of sculpture.

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What fun for a shelter mag fan like myself, to live in this time of on-line magazines, blogs, pinterest and instagram (if I can figure out how I want to use it). I have to keep my addiction under control, but there are no end of opportunities to indulge. And so now I am out of the closet it’s time to give back to all those whose magazines and posts have delighted over the years, and that I will do in this blog.

 lucretia on couchHere in my own home, a big red couch and one of my pillow designs for the artefact gallery. Is it giving you the buzz?

I quit my job, started a blog and left for Paris. You?

In the Jardin du Luxembourg, Bacchus seems very happy, even in Winter.

In the Jardin du Luxembourg, Bacchus  is happy, even in Winter. Photo: mine

Okay, I haven’t left for Paris. Yet. That will happen on Sunday when my husband Alan and I leave behind our three (for the most-part )grown up children, our aged mothers and  old dog and board the plane. Irresponsible? I don’t think so. There are elaborate plans to keep everyone going in our absence. And forgive me if I think we really deserve this. While others spent their youths hitch-hiking across Europe to Nepal, I had babies. When others were staying up late partying with their grad school chums I was working nine-to five and fitting grad studies into a 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. slot so we could pay the mortgage.  This will be my fabulous middle age experience and I plan to be wild, free and far more interesting than anybody’s mother. We will be living in the Marais, in a small one bedroom, for  the next three months. We will walk,  see art, drink wine, see art, eat great food, see art, cook up a storm, and haunt the flea markets where we no doubt  will see some interesting art.  As a painter I will work everyday to make the best art I can under the influence of all this wonderfulness. Now is my time.

Curious about our apartment? Obviously, so am I since we rented it from an agency sight unseen. The exterior looks much like this.



The bedroom has double french windows like this and so does the livingroom.

There are four blac

There are three black marble fireplaces similar to this one.imgres

There is a tiny kitchen much like this.

That’s all I know. I hope it will be as great as my fantasies of it and that soon it will be home as my drawings and paintings fill the dining room and our market finds soften the emptiness and rough edges. Let’s hope that it’s not located above the noisiest bistro in town.  Let’s hope at the very least for decent plumbing. I hope you will come along with me, not just for the Paris adventure but to share with me as I try to work and live to my fullest capacity. Please leave your comments, ideas, tips and maybe even your own stories.