Post Category: Paris

Lose Yourself at a Flea Market in Paris

Sooner or later, everyone is faced with a lazy and unplanned Saturday in Paris. It’s on these days that the vintage treasures and valuable heirlooms of the attics of this 2,000 year old city spill out into open air markets.

Flea markets originated as junk dealerships where rag-and-bone men would sell off unwanted goods. Nowadays, you snag a vintage film camera for a great price or decorate your new Parisian apartment with an affordable china set that’s so old, it’s retro.

Paris is big on markets, whether they be for fresh foods or recycled treasures. There are a number of regular flea markets or marchés aux puces, in Paris, and the best selections normally take place on weekends. Informal secondhand markets include the brocantes, open-air sales during nice weather that are generally cheaper than flea markets, and vide-greniers, or closet/garage-emptying sales hosted by a community or neighborhood.

Lose yourself for a day in one of these famous flea markets of Paris and unearth one-of-a-kind home decor or add a gem to that vintage stamp collection.

flea market paris

Le Marché aux Puces de Paris / Saint Ouen

Let’s start with the biggest. One of the largest antique markets in Paris and possibly the world, Le Marché aux Puces de Paris is also a well-visited tourist landmark in France. The stalls are both covered and in open air, and the entire market is so large that it includes sectioned thematic strolls that center on old books, travel, cinema, and music. You can also book a 2-hour private tour of the markets to really delve into the grand shopping center.

The market is open Saturdays (9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.), Sundays (10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.), and Mondays (11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.), off metro line 4 at Porte de Clignancourt. You can also check out the market’s brochure to view a map, hours, history and types of antiques sold at the market.

flea market paris

Marché aux Puces de la Porte des Vanves

This marché aux puces is another large open air market, with over 380 merchants present every weekend of the year. This flea market, although not as well-known, always has an interesting mix of antique items, artwork, and jewelry for buyers to sort through. Some may find that this market may be easier to navigate through than the marché aux puces at Saint Ouen, and it’s a favorite of many Parisians because of the size and selection.

The market is open Saturdays and Sundays (7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.), off metro line 13 at Porte de Vanves, with further directions here.

flea market paris

 Marché aux Puces de Montreuil

Les Puces de Montreuil is one of the older flea markets in Paris today, established in the 19th-century. You won’t find many tourists here, but you’ll have much more flexibility in haggling down a price for the wide array of antiques. As with most of these flea markets, you have to fight your way to the center of the market to find the real treasures; most of the stands on the outskirts of the market are selling cheap trinkets or old junk.

The market is open Mondays through Saturdays (7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.), off of metro line 9 at Porte de Montreuil.

flea market paris

6 Pro Tips for Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck

  1. Arrive before the market officially opens to get the best selection. Arrive at closing hours (preferably for the week) to get the best bargain.

  2. Bring change. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone willing to take your €50 bill.

  3. You could spend all day at one of these large flea markets. If you’re short on time, come with a mission in mind to help narrow your search.

  4. Bring your own shopping cart/bag if you’re doing some serious vintage decor shopping. Shipping is also an option at some markets.

  5. If you want any luck haggling down prices, you’ll need to acknowledge the man or woman in charge first. Remember to always say hello, at the very least.

  6. If you’re trying to save money, consider seeking out a more informal brocante or vide-grenier. Two websites great for finding these local informal markets and community garage sales are Brocabrac and Vide-Greniers.org.

This article was originally published on The Peacock Post.

Fête des Vendanges: The Oktoberfest of Paris

People from all over the world flock to Paris in October to participate in the incredible Fête des Vendanges, a weekend of festivities celebrating the year’s wine harvest. If getting wine-drunk with fellow Europeans, stuffing your face with free samples of delicious French cheeses, sausages, and pastries, and enjoying one of Paris’ most artistic and beautiful neighborhoods in the moonlight sounds good to you, then you cannot miss the Fête des Vendanges in Montmartre.

Fête des Vendanges

Literally translated to “The Harvest Party,” the Fete des Vendages is essentially a convention of wine distributors from all over France. You can taste reds, whites, and rosés, buy bottles, or simply enjoy a glass while walking at the foot of the majestic Sacré-Cœur (or trying to, anyway: I’m not kidding when I say it’s the “Oktoberfest” of Paris, you can barely move without pushing).

Fête des VendangesFête des VendangesFête des Vendanges

You can also buy gourmet pastries, hot sandwiches, nougats, and other assorted French delicacies at the festival to satisfy your wine-drunk appetite to your heart’s content. Or, just take advantage of the plethora of free samples, like I did.

Hot meat and cheese sandwiches--Paris Chic satisfaction guaranteed.

Hot meat and cheese sandwiches–Paris Chic satisfaction guaranteed.

 

Fête des VendangesFête des VendangesFête des VendangesFête des Vendanges

The Harvest Party takes places over an entire weekend in October, and normally includes music and fireworks at the foot of the Sacré-Cœur on Saturday night.

Fête des Vendanges

Looking to impress your friends with your knowledge of the coolest festivals in Paris? Take them to the Fête des Vendanges and get a little wine-happy on this year’s harvest.

Premiere Classe: A Showcase of Upcoming Trends at Paris Fashion Week

Ah, Paris Fashion Week: That magical time of the year when aspiring bloggers, couture lovers and people from the highest echelons of the fashion world walk around Paris dressed in their very best, and suddenly you realize what a trendy and beautiful city Paris really is.

Although there are always downsides to a massive international event dedicated solely to materialism, fashion is also art for many people–it really is magical, in that sense. It’s simple art appreciation, watching these new clothes and accessories develop based off of designers’ personal experiences or passions.

Tuileries Garden Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week is also one of the best times of the year for bloggers–it’s like Christmas. We storm the Jardin des Tuileries and the outside of fashion shows looking to get a snapshot of some pout-faced girl dressed in the hautest of haute couture. Or, maybe as this awesome Vice article demonstrates, she was just bullshitting us all.

The posh Premiere Classe is an “exclusive showcase” for the hautest and most eclectic accessory designers of fashion week, and was celebrating its 25th anniversary this year at the Jardin des Tuileries.

paris chic

The event was closed off to the general public, except for students and retailers looking to buy (even though these two groups are on opposite ends of the financial spectrum; another reason why I love France: students are so highly-regarded here). I was able to get a press pass for Paris Chic, saving me from paying €40 for a pass that would allow me access to the salons.

Here are the a few of my favorite chic-est jewelry designs I encountered while navigating the stormy seas of high fashion.

1. Yuki Mitsuyasu

Yuki Mitsuyasu’s line is inspired by her past and personal experiences, which I love. Fashion is truly the most inspiring when there’s depth and meaning behind the design.

yuki mitsuyasu YUKI MITSUYASU

When I first picked up Mitusaysu’s eggshell ring out of curiosity, I immediately shrieked and dropped the ring, because I had broken it. Really. I had cracked a delicate piece of designer jewelry that probably cost thousands of dollars.

The woman behind the counter laughed and explained the ring is actually meant to be broken. The eggshell part isn’t supposed to last for very long–it’s supposed to parallel the life of Cambodians living in landmine fields, where one wrong move could “break the eggshell,” or end someone’s life. After the eggshell is broken, what’s left is a band with a miniature landmine head modeled into the top.

What a cool awareness campaign to sponsor through couture.

YUKI MITSUYASU

I also loved Mitsuyasu’s “Shine” collection, which are beautiful pearl necklaces that clasp together by two magnetic pieces of a star.

“When you choose your partner, his religion, nationality, or wealth does not matter; be with someone who lets you shine, then he is a man worth being with,” says Mitsuyasu on the symbolism of the magnetic necklace. This girl freaking rocks: she knows how to use the power of fashion to change the world.

2. Ekria

EKRIA jewelryEKRIA jewelry

Palm cuffs. They’re the next big thing. And I love Turkish designer Ekria’s take on them–bold, futuristic, simple.

 3. Lotocoho

Lotocoholotocoho

I love this ancient Grecian theme Lotocoho was embodying. My particularly favorite pieces were the chunky gold chokers (making a comeback) and the watch with no clock, as pictured above on the designer’s wrist. The line aims to embody symbols and landscapes into unique jewelry.

So many salons and so little time–the examples above are just a taste of what’s to come in the fashion world. If you’re interested in perusing the hottest new trends of fashion, you can visit the next international Premiere Classe showcase in March.

Warning: This Tattoo Exhibit Causes Extreme Urges to Get “Inked”

Whether you’re a fan or not, tattoos are becoming more common in our world. We wouldn’t double take at a person with a tattoo sleeve today, but just a few decades ago, tattoos were still considered “taboo.” Today, over 1 in 5 adults have tattoos in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and the tattoo trend of expressing oneself through body art continues to grow in other parts of the world.

This recent shift in our cultural values has drawn much attention from art field as well. Whereas before, tattoos were considered a symbol of deviancy by the westernized world, museums and art curators are beginning to appreciate “getting inked” as a true art form, marking the individuality of human beings. An example of this recent appreciation for tattoos as art can be found at the Musée du Quai Branly, which is currently hosting an exhibition titled Tattooists, Tattooed.

Normally, when we visit a museum exhibit, we expect to see arcane artifacts, ceramics, and paintings from ages past. Tattooists, Tattooed is an incredibly unique experience because the museum is exhibiting solely the art on human bodies throughout history.

TATTOOISTS, TATTOOED

When you visit the exhibition, a variety of multimedia hooks you to the walls. There are films with grainy old footage of sailors and veterans showing off their primitive plethora of tattoos, which are basic in their composition compared to the tattoos we see today. There are also drawings illustrating the earliest tribal tattoos and documentaries of spiritual ceremonies applying tattoos to ward off evil non-living entities.

Getting inked has traditionally served a function, which isn’t the case with the more artistic expression of Western tattoos today. For example, in Māori tribal culture in New Zealand, the “moko,” a tattoo normally covering the face, is a rite of passage into adulthood and the ultimate affirmation of identity. The facial tattoo signifies the wearer’s place in his or her family and specific tribe. Another use for tattoos included punitive tattooing in ancient Greek and Japanese cultures, where the forever visible symbol of a criminal would suffice as punishment.

TATTOOISTS, TATTOOED

It was only around the twentieth century that tattoos as a “spectacle” entered their golden age in Western cultures because of traveling circus performers. Tattoos began to spread to mainstream culture in the 1980’s when traveling tattoo artists met with tribes and cultures practicing tattooing all over the world.

TATOUEURS, TATOUÉS

According to the museum, “In urban societies and in the ‘westernised’ lifestyle, [a tattoo’s] marginal character is fading and it is becoming a relatively common bodily ornament.” The exhibition shows that we are currently witnessing an unprecedented revival of traditional tattooing, drawing heavily from traditional Japanese ancestral tattoo styles and traditional tribal markings.

TATOUEURS, TATOUÉS

It’s easy to lose yourself in “Tattooists, Tattooed” for a couple of hours. The Musée du Quai Branly provides an excellent in-depth exploration of the original purposes for tattoos to the evolution to the types of tattoos we see on the streets today. It’s important to know the artistic influences for what we choose to mark ourselves with, and this exhibit provides a context for today’s tattoo phenomenon.

TATOUEURS, TATOUÉS

Tatouers, Tatoués (May 6, 2014 to October 18, 2015)
Musée du Quai Branly
37 Quai Branly, 75007 Paris, France
(Free for students)

This article was originally published on The Peacock Post.

Vogue Fashion’s Night Out: Paris Edition

Free macaroons, $100 bottles of champagne, and the “who’s who” of fashion casually bumping into you in exuberantly-decorated designer stores. I’m talking about Vogue Fashion’s Night Out, an event that’s enjoyable for men and women interested in fashion and free champagne alike.

What is the Vogue Fashion Night Out? The event is held across 32 international cities during the month of September and is meant to “restore consumer confidence and boost the industry’s economy.” Essentially, all of the top-name designers open up their stores on a central street until late into the night, playing haute music, serving haute champagne or other hors d’oeuvres, and showcasing their haute new fall/winter collections.

Vogue Fashion's Night OutLanvin dressVogue Fashion's Night Out

This event is huge, particularly in Paris, the fashion capital of the world. The key to your entrance is to buy a French Vogue September issue–the *exclusive* invitation is inside.

My crew and I arrived at the event a couple of hours late (one must show up fashionably late at a high fashion event, of course). Rue Saint Honoré was filled with fashion-loving Parisians, and trendy soirées in apartments above the street added to the lively atmosphere.

Vogue Fashion Night Out Vogue Fashion's Night Out

Several stores had exclusive lists that your Vogue ticket wouldn’t let you into, but peer inside and you could see top-dressed aristocrats of fashion, either enjoying an exclusive party or watching a private fashion show.

Vogue Fashion's Night Out

A private fashion show at Vogue Fashion’s Night Out.

Other stores were open to those with the golden Vogue ticket, and had photo backdrops set up with professional photographers to take your next Instagram photo. Many stores were offering free glasses of expensive champagne, macaroons, balloons, phone cases–you name it. If anything, buying a Vogue magazine for Fashion’s Night Out is a surefire way to get buzzed.

Vogue Fashion's Night Out

The man who forever owns my heart.

You can also peruse the latest collections and Vogue’s choice of best pieces on Fashion’s Night Out. This is one night in Paris that the bourgeoisie are actually encouraged to walk around and touch (gasp) thousands of dollars worth of clothing (aimed to restore “consumer confidence” again, whatever that means; after this night I’m doubly as confident that my meager paycheck will never allow me to even touch a designer sock).

Vogue Fashion's Night Out

Here’s a insider’s tip: you should always be nice to the person working the door–these people are usually not just bouncers at high fashion events. The man or woman with the guest list is oftentimes the one who organized the event and can be VIP’s who work at Lanvin, Chanel, etc. Also, talk to everyone you can if you’re trying to make it in the fashion industry, especially at an event like Fashion’s Night Out that brings the most elite of the fashion world and aspiring interns together. You might have never known that the women perusing the racks next to you was the head of marketing for a major fashion label, for instance.

The Vogue Fashion’s Night Out is worth the €5 for the Vogue September issue (if you can get your hands on one earlier next year the better–they leave newsstands like hotcakes). Not only is Fashion’s Night Out a night of couture inspiration, it’s a great way to network with the oh-so-enviable VIP’s and climbing members of the fashion industry. Have your business cards on hand.

Artisan Burgers with a Side of Sass

While trying to find a chic vintage designer shop the other night, I stumbled upon this chic-looking artisan burger joint that was dying for customers to bring it’s stoves to life.

burgers paris

The burger joint was Le Petit Marcel, a fairly new restaurant in the République area. Artisan burger joints are becoming the new “hip” fad for enjoying a burger all over the world, and Paris is no exception to this overly-priced burger fad.

How do you know a burger joint is “artisan,” anyway? Well, at Le Petit Marcel, the meat is fresh from a Chaloraise cow grown in France, buns are prepared by an artisan bakery, cheeses are made from raw milk, sauces are prepared on site, and fries are cut with knives (I don’t know why I thought this point was funny). Basically, a lot of love, fresh ingredients, and delicate artistry is put into making this patty an enjoyable and expensive experience for you. 

Tips to Make Your Life Easier When Ordering

  • You can’t customize your burger.
  • The free ketchup for your fries will literally be enough to cover one single fry.
  • You either pay € 12 to take the burger to go (à emporter) or € 13 to sit and eat the burger in the store. Not kidding. You have to pay an extra euro to sit. Don’t make the same mistake I did and pay € 12 to get the burger “to go” and eat the burger in the store (gasp). You will be receiving dirty looks and sassy comments from the chef/owner during your short stay.
  • Everything is expensive. If you’re used to In-N-Out’s under $5 combo meal like me, prepare to pay about $20 for a burger, fries, drink, and a seat.
le petit marcel

Being overwhelmed by the selection of fancy cheeses and sauces I’d never heard of, I decided to try burger choice #1, otherwise known as Le Petit Marcel. Never wrong to go with the original. It was sweet, and truly, you could taste the quality of the meat. France never fails to provide me with the tastiest flavors while draining my wallet. 

If you’re looking for an artisan burger experience in Paris, Le Petit Marcel will suffice. It’s not the best, truly, and here’s why: my buns weren’t buttered and golden and crisp like every other artisan burger I’ve ever had. The buns were kind of floppy and made me feel like I was eating a regular burger. I’m telling you folks, crispy, hot, light bread can make you feel like you’re eating a million-dollar burger.

le petit marcel

I wouldn’t return also due to the sassiness of the owner. I was given so much sass for sitting down and enjoying my meal even when I had paid for my meal “to go” and the small restaurant was completely empty when I walked in. Who wants to feel anxious and unwanted at a restaurant? And why do I have to pay to sit at a burger joint where I clean up my own mess???

Then again, my lack of understanding of the French language may have caused me to perceive the owner’s intentions unclearly. But, you don’t need to speak French to feel tension.

If you like your burgers served with a side of sass and don’t mind ketchup enough for a sole fry, Le Petit Marcel is right up your alley.

Le Petit Marcel

9 Rue de Lancry

Metro line 9: République

Release Your Inner Hipster at Point Éphémère

Got a visible tattoo? An edgy new haircut? Non-prescription glasses?? Come casually mingle with the coolest of the cool Parisians at Point Éphémère.

I decided to visit Point Éphémère after doing some research for cafés where I could connect to wifi and prep Paris Chic’s launch to my heart’s content. Little did I know Point Éphémère would mean so much more to me than a strong wifi signal.

5 Reasons Why You Should Chill at Point Éphémère

Point Éphémère

1. It’s on Canal Saint-Martin. When you sit on the terrace of the café, you’re overlooking the peaceful canal, where hoards of nicely-dressed Parisians and young people flock to.

point Éphémère

2. Calling all writers on a budget: The cheapest beer is Grolsch Blond for €2.8, and wine is around €3 a glass. Truly a steal for Paris. Also, they have an amazing Thai food selection–I recommend the coconut lemon soup. Just by the looks of it, I don’t recommend the dessert…but again, I’m hardcore judging this aspect by its cover.

paris bookstorePoint Éphémère

3. It’s not just a café. Point Éphémère is also a bookstore with almost all its books priced at €1 (these include great classics, although most books are in French), a vintage thrift store, and a gallery for up-and-coming artists.

point Éphémère

4. They say eavesdropping on others’ conversations is a great way to learn a language. Hardly any English speakers are present, for those of you looking to immerse yourself in French culture and language.

point Éphémèrecanal saint-martin

5. It’s all located in an old warehouse. The ambiance is woodsy, urban, grungy, and exudes Paris chic. Cynical manifestos criticizing the state and political graffiti adorn the streets of this trendy area.

Point Éphémère is a top contender for one of my new favorite cafés in Paris. If you want to meet the artists and well-dressed citizens of non-tourist Paris, spend an afternoon at this trendy joint.

Point Éphémère is located at 200 Quai de Valmy, 75010 Paris, France.