Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Vide-Grenier and No Reservations

We had intended to go to Porte de Vanve flea market on this early Saturday morning until we saw a vide-grenier not far from us. My friends ML, Lenny and I set out armed with reusable shopping bags and bubble wrap, and were hoping to put both to good use.
A vide-grenier is like a yard sale with a few professional dealers mixed in. You won't find upscale merchandise here but if you are willing to sort through the junk you can find many treasures. But then again, one persons junk is another ones treasure. Sifting through the vide-grenier can be more difficult than a flea market since you have to spot an item that can be hidden in a jumble of castoffs. The reward is that you can find a gem for chump change. And that we did! ML and Lenny have a great eye and we often find ourselves reaching for the same things. It usually ends up with the person who wants it the most. It was a chilly morning and I didn't have gloves with me and was hoping I'd find some that were ready to start a new life. No luck, but there were many shoes looking for souls. As we passed by one of my favorite boulangeries, I had to resort to a baguette fresh from the oven to warm my cold hands. Not a bad compromise! All along the side of the street and under the train tracks, tables of goods were set up. Here you could buy a doll or just look like one. While bargaining for this fois gras dish, I got to know the dealer a little during a conversation he struck up. I wasn't sure which was more charming, him or the dish! I can be a little daunted by size and weight of what I buy....we do have to cart these things home, after all. ML is not daunted by anything and she has a highly trained eye which is a good, if not a dangerous combination. She found these gorgeous pieces of iron at Porte de Vanve the week before. They are way heavier than they me! Good thing these vintage linen postal delivery bags were lighter. I love the look and the history behind them. The fragile items give the biggest challenge to get home. I nicknamed Lenny and I, Chip and Chipper and won't go into the's too painful! But it is all worth it. We found jars, jugs, a butter keeper, berry bowls, pitchers, lion head bowls, spoons and a grapevine corkscrew. These containers for musical instrument pieces are very decorative objet d'art. ML found some mid century posters from a school that I have first dibs on, but I didn't get any pics. With full bags, fun times and money left in the wallet, we headed back to the hotel. Thinking about dinner, we tried unsuccessfully to make dinner reservations. It was a Saturday evening and all of our choices were complet. We decided to make our way to Relais de l'Entrecôte, a favorite fallback that doesn't take reservations and specializes in steak and frites. A perfect ending to a full day!

Relais de l'Entrecôte

Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves
Addresses: avenue Georges Lafenestre & avenue Marc Sangnier, 75014 Paris
Phone: (+33); E-mail:
Every weekend of the year, 350 stall holders await you: furniture, trinkets, paintings, fabric, glassware, time pieces, jewelry, military objects, photography, music, and curios. In the heart of Paris, an exciting place that will capture your imagination. It's the place to visit for flea market enthusiasts.
Hours: Weekends; avenue Marc Sangnier until 1 p.m.; avenue Georges Lafenestre all day.
Porte de Vanves (line 13)

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