Gifts from Paris

To visit Paris is a dream, just make sure you wake up in time to get some shopping done.

When I was a little girl, I was fascinated with thrift shops and vintage goods and whenever my penny-pinching grandmother would head to the local Salvation Army I’d beg her to let me tag along.

I’d rummage headfirst through hillsides of second-hand goods and come out the other end with rare treasures in the forms of vintage brooches and oil paintings of dogs that looked just like our “Charlie”.

Over time, that love grew into scouring flea markets from one side of this planet to the other just to satisfy the curiosity of what might be hiding there this time. Not to be picked over, I often rise at ungodly hours in hopes of scoring a certain unnamed something that I may…or may not even need, but will always love.

I could spend days writing about the second-hand markets I adore in the cities I frequent most (the Brooklyn Flea in DUMBO and the Long Beach Flea Market in SoCal for starters), but no place ignites the love of the hunt and gather more than Paris. In a foreign city, where I feel strangely more alive than anywhere, I seem to always find treasures that exist for only me.

If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to venture across the pond and spend time in the city of lights then you’re well aware of the plentiful treasures displayed in shop windows from the center of the city all the way to the 20th arrondissement.

My store has proudly sold American made goods for two decades and that will never change, but we are only human and the curiosity of exploration is in our nature…as well as the urge to bring back a whole mess of goodies from said exploration and share them with our country(wo)men.

Our past trips to Paris have been punctuated with boxes the size of pro-wrestlers each filled to their brims with trinkets we couldn’t possibly live without.

This was the first time we’ve ever returned with items that weren’t strictly vintage, but rules are made to be broken and to be honest…it was never really a rule in the first place.

A day (or days) spent at the Paris flea markets can be an exhausting one, so I advise you to plan accordingly. I always start with the smaller and lesser known, Porte De Vanves flea, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday mornings from about 7am (not that you could tell by how the French just saunter in throughout the late morning hours, wine and baguette in hand).

This particular market is a smattering of goods from old handbags to vintage artwork. And if you’re in the market to take home real, albeit gritty French paintings then I cannot recommend this spot enough. No where else have paintings made my heart sing the way they do at Porte De Vanves where it belts out high notes of joy until I’m struggling to fit every last canvas into my carryon.

Then there is Les Puces de Clignancourt, which claims to not only be the largest flea market in France, but the world. The experience of going to Clignancourt is worth just as much as the possessions you leave with. On the way inside you pass vendors in tweed overcoats smoking their pipes and sipping their wine while meticulously arranging their wares and, just like that, after only a few short steps you’re swept away to 1920’s Paris. Even writing this has me feeling nostalgic for that walk. Luckily, I brought enough back to Venice Beach to hold me over.

Hell, we brought enough back to hold everyone over…

I fell in love with these paintings the moment I saw them. They’re dated from 1934 and I knew I wasn’t heading home without them. But once I back in the states I knew I wanted them on the wall of my store rather than my home. So, I invite you all to take a look at them and maybe even make them your own. They’re pieces of the city’s past handcrafted by a Parisian who took the time to recognize a moment of French tranquility when he saw it. CLICK HERE TO SHOP OUR ONE OF A KIND PARISIAN PAINTINGS

But wait, there’s more…

You can’t go wrong with canvas and leather. I know that. You know that. And Paris knows that. These are the non-vintage-items I mentioned earlier, but I think you would agree they still fit the bill.

Tote bags aren’t difficult to come by, but a GOOD tote bag is another story. The cheap ones start to fall apart after so many uses and basic canvas totes are exactly that – basic. When we saw how much storage these durable and stylish, lightweight bags were we brought home as many as we could fit in our luggage.

Our suitcases are spacious but we still only have a handful or less of each style remaining so CHECK THEM OUT ON OUR SITE as soon as you can…starting at only $42.50 I’ll have you know.

What sort of second rate tour guide would I be if I didn’t at least offer you a map to navigate these amazing places?

Happy hunting!

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