10 February 2010

the fleas

Yes, the fleas.

But I don't mind having these fleas around.

In fact, I adore them. I recently found some at Les Puces du Canal in Villeurbanne.

I went with a friend, armed with a tape measure and stash of cash. I also brought my checkbook just in case, although I didn't expect to buy anything big (we don't have that much space in our apartment) or expensive (we're really not an "exquisite antique" kind of family).

This market is visually and structurally divided into several parts. One is the open-air section (Zone d'Exposition Extérieure) where the merchandise is less "bourgeois", but this is where you might find a real bargain. Another is the arcade area (La Halle) where you start seeing things with price tags bearing two zeros.

The warehouse section (La Hangar) is occupied by vendors selling more upscale -- and bigger -- things, and you can literally spend thousands of euros here. There is also a seperate building (l'Annexe) where only furniture vendors are situated. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, we ran out of time and didn't get to go inside.

It's fun to walk around, just looking and taking it all in. I love picking something up in my hand and wondering who it used to belong to and how it was used in that person's home. I love to think about the history hidden in its drawers and between its pages. Would this tea cup be sad if it had to leave France and go to the U.S. with me? How many children begged their parents to read this book?

There are some vendors here who sell things that are not vintage or antique, but merchandise that appeal to vintage- and antique-lovers. Some sell antique replicas that are more affordable. Others sell things they make with vintage material, such as pillows covered with old tea towels and linens.

This booth belonged to a lady by the name of Catherine Durr, located in La Hangar (in the aisle F or its neighborhood, I think, but I can be wrong -- I forgot to take notes).

These dreamy cards and table-top objects are made by Madame Durr herself.  She also carries artistic objects that her husband makes.   

I got to her booth after I had already spent enough money for the day, and I didn't have the courage to ask about her price range. I wouldn't be surprised if it were a little bit on the higher end, but her creations are all really, truly beautiful.

She was very gracious and accommodating when I asked for her permission to take photographs. Here they are, Madame, and I hope to come and visit you soon again.  

Here are two of the things that I very happily brought home that day: a serving spoon that I negotiated down from 25€ to 10€, and a rusted-all-over license plate that I'm sure belonged to a short lady with curly hair who was a horrible driver. It was 30€, but I bought a game board (initially 25€) with it from the same vendor and paid 40€ for the two items.

You can possibly get to this market by public transportation, but I highly recommend driving. The bigger the car, the better, because you never know what you'll find.


Ngân Đàm said...

I have been meaning to go to this flea market. It looks fun!

I took a peek at your Japanese blog (not that I know Japanese), was going to comment on the photo of Bouillet chocolate, but the blog looks too pretty with just Japanese...Didn't want to ruin that! You've inspired me to go back to the idea of keeping a Vietnamese blog.

cocopuff1212 said...

We should go to this market together. Maybe I'll be brave enough to drive there :)

Have your tried Bouillet chocolate? Their macarons? Are they worth trying????

Next time, please do leave a comment! In fact, it still isn't too late :)