Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Puces de Saint-Ouen & Montmartre

Slept till 8 — eventually made it down for breakfast for 9:45. Lovely breakfast set up in the hotel's breakfast room — flaky petite croissants, OJ, strong coffee, musli and yummy fatty yogurt — a hardy breakfast to get us going the for the day.

We cabbed up to the Paris Flea Market, AKA Puces de Saint-Ouen. We had a great driver, chipper personality, spoke little English, I spoke little French, but we got along famously. The streets were still quiet as we headed north to the market. We were dropped off on the edge of the flea side of the the Paris maket, the Clinancourt side. Tacky stalls going as far as the eye could see with knock off levi's, I love Paris t-shirts and Eiffel Towers in every size, colour and blingness. Having said that,  I bought a lovely huge Eiffel Tower for 14 Euros to add to my collection at home.

One of those towers is now in my living room.

My Mom in the Flea side of the market

We continued walking, under the overpass, and found the proper antique sections I had read about. We found a little bit of everything there — some tack, some outrageously formal pieces, garden ornaments, deco, retro, clothes from every era and price points to match. I bought a wonderful French Army colonol's hat, à la Charles de Gaulle style, my Mom's thought, or Inspector Clouseau's style, my thought. It was originally perched on a stuffed boar named Albert, who was mounted on the wall. The owner of the stall was quite delightful showing me his other  pieces that sat on Albert's head, as well as unique items he had, that were not in my price point. He also had a 1920's French sailor's hat, but my hat just said, "French" to me, so went with the Clouseau hat. I truly loved this little souvenir. It is a massive hat, incredibly, even too large for my Mom's generous cranium — I was drowning in it.

The lure of the antique.

Notions from the past 75 years.

Vintage umbrellas.

The French love their dogs.

My Mom in the indoor antique mall.

Vintage Chanel purses.

Louis items of all eras were popular.

A few stall owners having a very civilized lunch.

 Found a vintage clothing store that had all eras in their collection,  including gorgeous Vogue cover-like show piece hats edged in mink. Had lunch in the Antique flea market area, in a little bistro, that seemed to cater to the neighborhood & tourists alike. We got a jaw dropping bill for lunch. Discovered white wine was 3 Euros more than red wine, for the same size house wine. Lesson learned. Pay attention to the menu before  you order. The meal was lovely, with generous sized portions. I had a salade fromage, with 3 cheeses, egg, mayo & lettuce. Yummy. My Mom had a massive salade nicoise. We shared a tarte au tartin. No way we could finish our meals, with the portions as they were.

Wandered down to the end of the area to try and hail a taxi. Who knew it would be so difficult? I had my arm in the air for cabs with their lights on and without their lights on, as it didn't seem to make a difference. We actually found a taxi stand that had ten unmanned cars lined up. I'm sure the drivers were just standing there at the side, watching us, assumed we were Americans, and just couldn't be bothered. Finally a fare was being dropped off and we snagged that cab to take us down, or rather up to the Sacre Coeur.

A Sunday at church.

It was just starting to drizzle now, and we went inside this impressive church, that Hercule Poirot once called a "wedding cake," to take in all it's divinity. It was packed inside.

A typical street creperie.

Canadian tourists in Montmartre.

This silhouette artist was amazing,
putting this couple in one cut out.

Who doesn't love a good tart?

The Montmartre biscuterie.

The macaroons.

Such lovely artwork to show off the menu.
 The drizzle didn't stop us from roaming into Montmartre proper to soak up the atmosphere. We bought beautiful pastries, biscuits and macaroons from the Biscuiterie de Montmartre. What can I say, I'm a sucker for good packaging, and this place knew how to do it. Lots of yummy shopping. The drizzle seemed to keep many artists off of the streets, but there were still some in the traditional square you expect to see them in. We started walking down to Pigalle, but grabbed a free taxi, when we saw one, because who knows when we would see one again, & my Mom's feet and knees were at their limit for walking for the day.

Back to the hotel de l'Arcade to enjoy our sweets, try on my French chapeau and rest up for tomorrow. Yummy macaroons!

My Mom as Charles de Gaulle.

Me as  Clouseau.


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