The Mother of all Auctions

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Hotel Drouot is the largest auction house in the world. On a quiet day, there will be five or  more auctions taking place simultaneously and it is possible to wander from one to the other to take in the drama of this special and intense world. On their website, you can find out which auctions are taking place and even access the catalogues to see in advance if anything interests you and learn  the estimates. Today, the auctions included  Eastern Art and Antiquities, Fashion, Nineteenth Century Art, Furniture and Objets d’Art and Jewellery. Thousands of Euro’s change hands by the minute and there are many surprises as the hammer comes down. I love to see big bargains, even if I am not the one taking them home.


Uncharacteristically for me, I was going to see jewellery today. I don’t have a lot of jewellery; what I do have is good and classic, although I also have a weakness for vintage brooches. More on that another time. Let’s say that you are in Paris, and you are celebrating what the French would call an Important anniversary, and your dear Parisian friend, Genevieve, more on her another time, said that you had to go to the jewellery auctions because the bargains were just, well, ….. (she shrugs). My indefatigable husband and I boarded the bus 67 and a mere ten minutes later, voila!photo 1

You can tell you’re there because the neighbourhood has so many antique stores of many kinds.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3Store windows with lovely prints, stamps (still big, who knew?) and antique books. I have never been in these stores. Seem a bit scary….

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Inside, the auctions are hotting up. Standing room only.

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Look closely at the fashion auction. The Louis Vuittons are stacked up on the runway.

Now let me explain a little something. I am a prudent shopper who does not give in to impulse. I like to check out all my options and when I see something I want to buy, I wait til the next day and see if I still want it. This shopping style does not work at the auction, so I have had to change. However, I did my online research and knew what i might bid on and had an idea of how high I would go. Still, in the thick of the auction/action, it’s a heart-pounding, high adrenaline moment. SOMEONE IS BIDDING AGAINST ME, HELP!

Fear not. I won the day, my husband next to me,  clutching my hand and beaming. Here is my trophy, an extraordinary bargain, bought well under the Drouot estimate. As we strolled away, I found myself humming the Marseillese. photo

Lot number 14, an eternity band, diamonds set in a platinum cross setting. C’est magnifique, more than I could hope for. Thank you, Alan, for so many great years.