Sunday, April 22, 2012

Paris Day 8 or Looking at Old Stuff

Picking up where we left off at the flea market...

We woke up, grabbed our morning pastries and headed back out to the flea market at the Porte de Vanves (on the southern outskirts of the city).  Russell couldn't stop thinking about the beautiful antique piece we saw the day before.  After talking to his parents about the logistics of shipping furniture, the quality of the piece etc. He was pretty sure we would be taking it home.

We perused the flea market for awhile- I was looking for lace for my mom, skeleton keys and maybe a vintage couture find and Russell was fixed on furniture.  I found some beautiful vintage jewelry but we couldn't get the lady to go down in price (being American and haggling isn't fun), no lace to speak of and an overwhelming number of keys.  I ended up getting no keys because I couldn't decide on which ones I wanted or what I would actually do with them once I had them!

Russell decided that we would definitely get the buffet.  I'll have to say, it IS beautiful and we're really excited to put it in our new house (that I will be blogging about very soon).  Ms. Lawrence, a gravelly-voiced character who smoked like a chimney was a very kind woman and a hard worker.  When we told her we were "in" as long as we could get a reasonable shipping price, she called shippers for an hour until she found the best one!  She was so excited to sell the buffet, I don't think she often had pieces of this quality in her "shop" (aka van) and this was a very big sale for her.  We were beyond happy to give her our business!

Here's a picture of the beauty!  It's a King Louis the XVI? (or one of those Roman numerals)

From this flea market, we traveled to another...the biggest market in Paris, I think, at the Porte de Clignacourt.  We, of course, got lost but this time we got lost on the edges of the Paris ghetto.  It was a "little" scary...ok, it was pretty significantly uncomfortable.  We got off the train one stop early and then got lost walking blocks to places that looked like they could be flea markets. 

This underpass was filled with sketchy folks peddling fake Rolexes
and who knows what else!
Once we finally found it, we had to walk through this counterfeit goods market...the kind of counterfeit goods that are a total joke (think Cancun tourist markets).  There were sketchy men thrusting perfume and watches in our faces, loud heavy bass music playing and sketchy patrons buying fake Nike tshirts.  I was pretty stressed and overwhelmed trying to get out of there.  It was the strangest thing- once we got to the edge of this madness there was this invisible line drawn where you entered into this quiet antiques market.  You could feel the "exhale" when you crossed that line.  I definitely loosed my grip on Russell's hand and we were both smiling again.  

We could've stayed in this market for DAYS we didn't even scratch the surface! There were antique chandeliers, clocks, furniture, clothes, dolls, fabrics, buttons, figurines, art, windows, I could go on and on...beautiful things that are so hard to find in US antique stores and flea markets.  It was amazing what good condition much of it was in and just how old it really was!  I walked away with some beautiful lace and if we were bazillionaires, we would have outfitted an entire house!

After our long day looking at old stuff, we headed back into the main part of town to wrap up our trip...

First to Sainte Chapelle.   It's undergoing quite the refurbishment process. It was beautiful!
Pic by Trey Ratcliff (you should follow him on Google+)

And then to the Pompidou Centre, a contemporary art museum that is AMAZING!  For some reason we didn't know anything about Pompidou and Russell had never been there on his previous trips to Paris.  We probably should have spent more time here but we just didn't know.  This was a place where our museum pass DEFINITELY came in handy.  Upon arrival there was a ridiculous line just like at the Louvre.  We saw a sign that said "pass holders this way".  We couldn't believe it possibly meant that we skipped the entire line of people, but it did and we saved ourselves at minimum an hour of wait time!

One of our favorite works at the Pompidue Center
Outside view of the Pompidue Center
I will have to say, I don't have an appreciation for all modern/contemporary art but I do love some of it.  I especially loved seeing the van Gogh paintings- that's right real van Gogh!

Unfortunately, my hunger monster emerged after about 2.5 hours and we had to go find food!  We headed to the Marais District because it's one of the only places that is actually open on Sundays. Since we hadn't planned ahead, we were just going on looking at menus outside of restaurants and quickly checking their trip adviser reviews.  We had the case of "the next one might be better" and we ended up walking much longer than we really needed to.

We settled on a steak restaurant that got good reviews and had a cozy looking atmosphere.  They had a huge wood fired oven in the back of the restaurant and a little basement area that was super-cute as well.  We decided against sitting by the fire (it was too warm for us) and headed downstairs.  Our service started off great with wine and a cheese plate.  I'm pretty sure everyone in France thought we were bizarre for always ordering cheese as our starter instead of as a dessert course.  From there we seemed to have been forgotten about and it took forever for us to get more food.  Not the perfect last dinner in Paris, but not horrible!

Before we headed home to pack up and get ready to leave in the morning, we decided to make one last visit to our favorite creperie, Little Breizh!  Not a bad way to end our wonderful vacation!

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