Sunday, May 9, 2010

Vive la France! Samedi

It was a beautiful Saturday in Paris. We savored our breakfast ritual at Café de Flore before we were off to scour Porte de Vanves for treasure! I've been a hunter and gatherer ever since I can remember, thanks entirely to my mother who (bless her heart) would chart our European vacations around the flea market schedules in each town. Porte de Vanves is only a few blocks away from the metro bearing the same name and is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8am until around 11am. Follow the historic signs, or ask in your best french accent "oooo ey le marshay O pewce?"

Billy has only one firm rule: "If you buy it, you carry it." This, of course, is a joke for a professional like myself as I'm more than capable of getting just about anything home. Once in a while I'll shop with something very specific in mind, but most of the time I let the object find me. Our souls collide and, despite our vastly different histories, we know we were meant to be together. (My soul was drawn to every single painting in the photo below, but my financial karma kept us apart.)

It was a gorgeous day and les puces were out in full force. It's amazing how quickly people connect - gatherer and hunter can chat about the stamp on the back of a spoon, the date of an oil painting or the story of a rug. I met one such lady (Martine of 2 ou 3 Choses) as I fawned over her collection of silver flatware. She was an absolute delight and very excited to share her trucs. Martine is a true yogi, allowing things to come and go, happy to share her spoils (whereas I, on the other hand, simply hoard and have yet to fully grasp sutra II.39).

I learned some interesting trivia regarding French silver - the engravings are placed on the back of each piece (whereas in England they're placed on the front) which explains why, in a good French restaurant, you'll find the silverware face down on the table (so you can see the silver stamps and the engraving)! I just can't get over the fact that there was a time when you had all of your silver engraved and all of your linens monogrammed and I think this explains why I love old things - they have a past which adds great depth to what would otherwise be just an ordinary object. I left Porte de Vanves with a beautiful set of silver-plated flatware, a very old oil painting (a portrait of a woman) and some linen napkins with my initials on them. My heart was as light and happy as it could possibly be.

Our afternoon was perfectly lazy. More baguettes. More aimless wandering. I felt incredibly blessed to be in Paris with no agenda and so grateful to spend this precious time with the person I love most in this world.

Dinner at Brasserie Lipp was tellement bon - roast chicken and french fries! Lipp is a very old, very smart establishment where you can enjoy classic french cuisine. Seeing as it's directly across the street from our beloved breakfast hang-out, our day had truly come full circle.

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