#2: DOT Paris

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.

blue pitchermini gratin dishes

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.

french cutleryDOT

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)

Never miss a post!


  • Eileen
    August 18, 2008 10:28am

    I am so jealous! Flea markets in France are one of my favorite things to do. Sounds like you made a great haul ;)

  • August 18, 2008 10:39am

    Those gratin dishes could be used in so many ways! I love the photos of the shop. It looks like one of those places I could spend hours roaming through.

  • August 18, 2008 11:01am

    that turquoise pitcher is gorgeous — and beautifully photographed as well.

  • August 18, 2008 11:48am

    For you, it’s probably been done to death, but Eric Ripert posted clafoutis in little gratin dishes…

  • Lu
    August 18, 2008 12:39pm

    These photos have me salivating. Great shots and great items.

  • August 18, 2008 12:39pm

    I love your pitcher and the other photos are making me drool. I need to haul my but out of bed early one of these days for the Rose Bowl Flea Market. I’ve been dying to go for ages. Good to have you back on Twitter too! xoxo

  • August 18, 2008 12:51pm

    WRT the gratin dishes, I’ve heard of grilling peaches and what-not, and I’ve heard of things like tians (is that right?) where you layer zucchini and tomato, so how about either:
    1. Half a peach, peeled and pitted, in one of the gratin dishes, with some kind of syrup and butter, and then maybe topped with a crumb topping?
    2. or some kind of fruit gratin, with layers of different fruit slices and maybe butter and sugar, and maybe something crunchy, like slivers of toasted almonds or something?

    Or maybe they’re both terrible ideas. Anyway, I love the blog, and always look forward to reading it.

  • August 18, 2008 12:51pm

    Nice haul! Love that pitcher, the color is fabulous!

  • Susan
    August 18, 2008 2:04pm

    Good haul. I’ll take those 3 small colored cream pitchers that I saw in in the open bin shelf..and that larger pink one too. You lucky devil! I love shops and flea mkts out in the country, in any country!

  • Cristina
    August 18, 2008 4:38pm

    I want one of those metallic gratin dishes! Elizabeth David often refers to metal egg dishes in her books for making oeufs au plat as they can go directly from the top of the stove to the table, but I’ve never seen anything like them in stores in the US.

  • Rona
    August 18, 2008 4:40pm

    I love hearing about flea market finds! I was lucky enough to visit DOT a few years ago and loved it. The women who owns it was so nice and had some wonderful and very reasonable items at that time also. I bought a few little silver spoons. There were also great bargains in the cellar.
    I am in love with the color and shape of the pitcher you bought. I don’t know how you resisted buying everything…that’s my problem, I don’t know when to say when.
    Can you make little plum upside down cakes in the tiny gratins? Whatever you do, I’m sure it will be wonderful.

  • Dana
    August 18, 2008 5:22pm

    I’ve been obsessed with making stone-fruit upside down cake from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Those pans look perfect for mini-versions. So far I’ve made plum-rosemary (which is what the actual recipe is for), blueberry-white peach-lavender, and peach-nectarine. I’m coming to Paris in 3 1/2 weeks and I can’t wait!

  • Haley
    August 18, 2008 6:08pm

    I suggest some kind of upside-down apple crostata for the gratin dishes.

  • August 18, 2008 6:19pm

    Oh ! Flea markets, Les brocantes! J’adore!
    I love your pics and your findings. What about some slices of fresh figs covered with sabayon and a sprinkle of brown sugar, in those little dishes? Or the same figs with some thin slices of pecorino and a touch of honey?

    If you like flea markets and any garage sales like that, just wait 15 days and came in the north of France, for Lille’s great garage sale. Just imagine this huge town covered everywhere with people selling their things, some professionals do too. The tradition is to com early and then to eat French fries with mussels à une terrasse, with a fresh white beer. In the streets you can see funny and HUGE pyramidal amounts of (cleaned) mussels shells, as a competition between restaurants :) . this flea market party takes place from the Saturday afternoon to the Monday evening, the first week end of September. Believe me, it worth it :) .

  • Kathy
    August 18, 2008 6:29pm

    Jacques Pepin does a pink grapefruit gratin with light brown sugar, butter and Cognac that might be nice. Serve it warm and slightly caramelized. Yumm!

  • August 18, 2008 6:39pm

    Kathy: Those sound good, except these are aluminum, so I might try another fruit…like apples in a few weeks.

    Rona: Actually, I bought quite a bit more. It’s just that I didn’t know how to show it all off. I just washed and cleaned my new storage jars, and they’re gorgeous. (But am still nursing a sore shoulder from shlepping it all back to the car..)

    Alice Q: Yes, if only I could get me internet back, plus a few other things around here to work, I’d be in business : )

  • August 18, 2008 10:19pm

    Those pictures are great! I’m sure the flea markets in France have way better stuff, but did you ever go to the Alameda antiques flea market when you lived here in Berkeley? We go once a month and ususally find great stuff, I can only imagine how much better the stuff would be in France. Though with our crappy French we probably wouldn’t get good deals.

  • August 19, 2008 5:07am

    This place looks like a prop heaven! A must-visit. Thanks for sharing David!

  • August 19, 2008 3:27pm

    You’re in France. The flea market etiquette IS that of shoving and pushing ahead of others. I could cry with envy at what you got for yourself. Thank goodness you didn’t post photos of the vintage linens. I have a special soft spot for old linens, it surely would have killed me. Good haul!

  • August 19, 2008 3:54pm

    DOT is excellent, agreed. I also like Au Petit Bonheur La Chance on Rue St. Paul.

  • August 19, 2008 4:00pm

    Cenk: Unfortunately my apt is starting to look like prop heaven too. I need more shelves!

    Milena: I think flea market pushing and shoving is universal. I just washed my linens and they’re lovely, but I realized I have too many now.
    Which is probably killing you! ; )

    Barbra: Au Petit Bonheur la Chance is good, but the prices are much higher and they’re not particularly nice in there all the time. In their defense, they probably get a lot more people browsing through than DOT. But they’re close enough so folks can do them both in one afternoon.

  • August 19, 2008 7:24pm

    Love the images of the flea market…I also am VERY jealous…
    love the flea markets outside of Paris…you are so lucky.
    I know what you mean about props…But I do so love that
    50’s turquoise pitcher and the gratin dishes…great jobs on all these finds.
    Stunning images and great post as usual.

  • Allegra Smith
    August 20, 2008 12:57am

    For the tiny impossible not to take home gratin dishes, slice a coconut macaroon, put a drop of cognac or any liqueur at the bottom of the dish, a slice of the macaroon, a fresh fig peeled and cut in half – if big enough the whole fig otherwise the half only – a tiny bit of creme fraiche, a sprinkle of turbinado sugar and under the salamander it goes. It works wonderfully well with apricots or even fraise du bois, The size of the dish
    pretty much dictates the fruit to use. Enjoy, easy and quite tasty.

  • August 20, 2008 2:34am

    Came here looking for sorbets & have been here ever since…WOW…I love it here & have been obviously living under a rock. I love flea markets & am too scared to go anywhere near now! The cupboards are all threatening to explode. Those little gratin sorta dishes are like Indian woks…very sweet. Can also serve individual portions of main course in ’em. And crumbles & crisps would look great! YUM!!

  • August 20, 2008 5:46pm

    What fun! Years ago (almost 20) my mother and I were driving through Normandy and saw the sign for a “bric-a-brac” . I still have some of the items I bought there and still remember the things that were too big to stuff into my bags to fly home.

    Besides some actually bric-a-brac my mother got a beautiful vintage limoges dry sink set. That pit stop was truly an unexpected highlight of our trip.

  • August 23, 2008 9:32am

    Lurv those tiny gratin dishes! My favorite dessert gratin is seasonal fruit (a mix of stone fruits and berries right now) tossed with grand marnier or eau de vie, covered with your (or my) favorite pastry cream (also spiked with a bit more of the liqueur), sprinkled with brown sugar and brûléed.

  • August 27, 2008 11:26am

    What great finds! I am taking note of the address!

  • September 3, 2008 10:17am

    I want that pitcher! Stunning stuff, and getting the prices reduced would definitely induce me to improve my French!

  • Rachel
    September 7, 2008 11:36pm

    I love that turquoise pitcher. Now, the first thing that came into my head when I saw those gratin dishes was individual quince tarte tatins, served with a scoop of buttermilk ice cream. Heavenly…

  • Al &Roberta
    September 10, 2008 3:20pm

    What a delight! Based on this column my wife and I stopped by DOT on our Paris trip last week. We had a great time talking to the proprietress and her son, and found some truly unique (and affordable!) gifts for folks back home. DOT will now be a regular stop on our trips!

  • September 14, 2008 9:24am

    I am planning a trip to Paris in october (finally!) and will definitely have to stop by…I love vintage kitchenware.

    My french is pretty rudimentary though. I will have to start brushing up.

  • Sarah K
    January 1, 2009 7:05am

    I think they’ve re-opened, as I was just there a few days before Christmas 2008. Although they were having a big sale, maybe a going out of business sale?

    Yes, unfortunately it was a going-out-of business sale. Someone told me they were moving the business to Belgium, but I asked, and they said they were closing for sure. Hope you picked up a few lovely things at the sale! -dl