Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Vanves Flea Market and Montmartre

On Sunday we went to the Vanves Flea Market and Montmartre. I was sooooo excited to go to a REAL French flea market! It was wonderful. I thought my eyeballs were going to pop out of my head I was so excited. Unfortunately, though, I was asked not to take pictures a number of times although I tired to ask as politely as I could, so after a handful of "no, no photos" responses, I lost my confidence in asking and just didn't ask anyone else, so I just got a few pictures. It was probably my most disappointing missed photo opportunity ever, and I felt deflated and defeated. I tried to remind myself that it was more important for me to experience being there than capturing pictures of it. Oh well, it was great to be there. I did find a number of pictures, some good ones here, in an informative blog post from someone who also mentions the difficulty in taking pictures at this flea market, and some more pictures and info here with one of those pictures being from a vendor who had exclusively headless dolls. Interesting indeed.

A lot of the flea market looked like your standard flea market with bric-a-brac abound, but there were also a number of vendors whose spaces looked like little boutiques, and some vendors who were selling just one thing, which made quite a visual statement. One person just had silver, one just had brooches, one just had old postage stamps (bags and bags of them), one just had vintage shoes and bags, one just had vintage french shop bags and ephemera . . .

one just had buttons--tons of amazing buttons! As Jane Brocket says in The Gentle Art of Domesticity (a wonderful book for anyone who values crafts, cooking or home), "buttons are candy for grown-ups" and that definitely goes for this grown-up. (Below isn't a picture of the amazing button vendor, but the buttons below were great too--from a vendor who let me take a picture.)

After we left the flea market, we headed to Montmartre. I mainly wanted to go there to seek out some of the shops I read about in my Japanese Paris Brocante book, and I did find one of the shops, but we eneded up mainly just wandering around the neighborhood and going to the Montmartre cemetery instead. I've been to Paris once before and wanted to do things this time that I didn't do last time. I didn't go to Montmartre, and we read it was a nice neighborhood with a great view from the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur.
This is the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur. It was quite a beautiful but touristy place. There were tons of people there, but it was a charming area.
The stairs leading down from the hill.

A cute cafe in Montmartre. There were so many cute sidewalk cafes, and to our surprise most of them were packed with people (and heated--burrrr, it was cold). I missed seeing the cafe that Amelie worked in in the movie, but it was nearby.

As we headed to the cemetery we saw masses of rollerbladers. There must have been hundreds of them. The police stopped traffic for them and we watched them whizz by.
The cemetery was lovely. I liked to see all the personal decorative touches to the individual tombs. It is, after all, all that remains to be seen or known of those who have past (in most cases anyway, unless you write some great novel or something to that effect).

I liked to peer inside the tombs and see the stained glass on the back walls of the tombs and see the names and dates of those past on the walls. I think if I were in one of those, I'd want some pretty stained glass lighting the interior as well.

Paris was wonderful, but it's au revoir for now. We are back in Zurich. I will post a few more pictures from our trip later this week. More from Zurich to come as well!


Liz said...

Oh. Sigh. I loooved seeing these pictures. And I wonder why the vendors were so wierd about pictures?

Liz said...

Those insulator lights are crazy, especially since the most I've ever paid for one was $2. :)

I love that idea though.

Ashley said...

I, too, went to the Vanves market and found so many interesting things. Thanks for the pics!

Melissa-Jade Gregan, said...

Oh...I am off to Paris for my birthday in August. I have been trying to find flea markets there, so thank you!! Cant wait to check this one out.