I just spent a long weekend in the French countryside, trying to enjoy the last bits of summer before the rentrée, when everyone in Paris returns en masse, usually bronzed to an unsavory crisp.
And because last Friday was a national holiday, I spent a prodcutive morning at a vide grenier, an enormous and pretty fabulous flea market in the town of Esterney.
Like anywhere, once you get out the big city, prices drop substantially and I can’t believe the stuff I hauled back to Paris!
Stacks of vintage linen sheets and kitchen towels, plus the tiniest gratin dishes I ever saw. I don’t know what I’m going to make in them, but I couldn’t resist. (Any dessert ideas appreciated.) And I unearthed a whole slew of huge, weighty glass jars with red Bakelite lids in perfect condition, for just 5€ a pop, which took a bit of haggling—I’ve learned as my French improves, the prices drop exponentially. (Another reason to improve your French.) For those of you with kids in high school struggling in French class, perhaps telling them that will be extra incentive?
Plus I had to stave off a rather anxious woman, who had the nerve to jam herself against my elbow as I was sealing the deal. Doesn’t she have any flea market etiquette, or know not to mess with me when I’m in such a highly-agitated state? Sheesh…
But if you don’t get out of the city much, or are just visiting Paris, it’d be worth your while to stop by DOT. I always forget about this shop, which I passed by last week and noticed that they’d consolidated into a more compact space. And for those of us who know all too well about dealing with cramped spaces, the only place to go is up.
Scanning the floor-to-ceiling shelves, I spotted some really good bargains: four thick-glass wine goblets for only 3.5€ each, a wide 1970′s melamine speckled cake platter for 7€, and a bedside water carafe and glass with a cursive Bonne Nuit! (“Good night!”) etched across the front for 20€. I’ve stopped going to flea markets in Paris due to the prices and reluctance of the merchants to drop them very far (I guess to Parisians, my French still isn’t up to snuff…), but I can tell you that these prices are pretty fair.
I’ve been thinking about going back for those wine glasses, but I’ve already got three sets and can barely close my kitchen cabinet. But that didn’t stop me from also buying a 50′s turquoise pitcher and a stack of rectangular plates decorated in unusual patterns at the flea market.
Hmm, maybe I’ll have to go back this week. So no one out there better get there before I do.
Or else you might have to deal with my elbow.
47, rue Saintonge (3rd)
(Update: Unfortunately, as of October 2008, DOT has closed its doors.)
Part of Five Great Places in Paris That You Might Not Know About (series):
1# La Briciola (Pizza)
2# Dot Paris (Vintage Kitchenware Shop)
3# Grom gelato (Italian Gelato)
4# Musée Fragonard d’Alfort (Veterinary Museum)
5# Goumanyat (Spices & Specialty Foods)