Sunday, October 14, 2012

~ Paris: Part I ~

We're finally back from Paris and had a truly wonderful two-week trip.  We are rested and happy and very well-fed. Here's a quick summary of the first few days...

We arrived early in the morning (9am) after sleeping too little on the overnight flight.  We were soooo tired but delighted to arrive at our humble apartment in the Marais (4th arrondisement, central Paris).  The buildings in this area, located a block from Place des Vosges, were originally built to accommodate palace stables almost 400 years ago!

We entered through a giant door on a busy street, passing through a long passageway before entering a charming stone courtyard.  Our apartment was in the back, so we passed through the courtyard and into a second building, climbing four flights to our apartment!
This little kitty wandered in the courtyard every day...

The apartment was a one-bedroom with a good-sized bedroom and kitchen. 
The living room was small but sweet:

The kitchen was spacious and well-appointed (by Paris standards) and the owner left us a bottle of wine (an excellent start!)

The bedroom was spacious and airy, with a third big window and lots of pretty antiques:

We had a great view over the interior courtyard and hardly heard a sound despite being in the heart of Paris:

Another view from our apartment:

The first couple of days we wandered our neighborhood.  We were perfectly located between the Bastille and St-Paul metro stops:
Morning view of the Place de la Bastille monument (the July Column, which celebrates events of the French Revolution)

Our first stop on Saturday was the Vanves flea market (my favorite), which is like a giant yard sale with lots of delightful junk:

I bought a little Impressionist painting at Vanves (I will show it in a future post), from the 1920's.  I also liked these two but only bought one!

The real antiques are at Clignancourt, but Vanves has lots of "old stuff" if you don't mind slumming it a bit:

The next day, we went to the Clignancourt market in St-Ouen, just outside Paris.  This is where the really good antiques are (as well as some mid-priced stuff).  It is divided into many smaller markets, all with different specialties.

At my favorite market (Marche Vernaison), David said I could buy one of these mirrors (he liked them too) but I decided against it.  The smallest one was 250 Euros (~$340) and I didn't love it enough for the price:

We found an amazing booth where I loved everything (porcelain, art) and didn't want to leave:

We had a great lunch near Marche Paul Bert, at our favorite local spot, le Paul Bert in St-Ouen (not to be confused with the famous Bistro Paul Bert in Paris):

We got a seriously huge lunch (see the giant Staub pots it arrives in).  I had boeuf bourguignon and David had Alsatian choucroute (yum!):

On the weekend, we hit some favorite spots.  I like trying to take slightly atypical photos of common monuments.  Here is Notre Dame Cathedral:

One of my favorite blocks in Paris (Ile de la Cite with Notre-Dame's spire):

Eglise (church) St.Paul St. Louis near our apartment:

On the weekend, I visited the first of my favorite department stores, Le Bon Marche.  I loved their unique black & white hand-drawn displays celebrating their 160th Anniversary:

I walked along the rue du Bac, a favorite street, and visited a favorite store Blanc d'Ivoire.  I loved this pillow (and regret I didn't buy it!):

And I also fell in love with this wooden lamp:

After walking along St-Germain, I visited a few shops, including the lovely Flamant, the Belgian retailer.  The shop was busy, so I didn't take any photos in the store (sorry) but I grabbed this graphic, fun shot of their door on the way out:

Stay tuned for Part II and III!

Now...I have lots of blog reading to catch up on!


  1. I was just thinking about you today and thought you must be back. Looks wonderful! It's been MUCH too long since I've been there. I'm afraid I would need a container ship to get all my mirrors, porcelain, impressionist paintings and pillows back home.

    Glad you had a great time and I'm looking forward to seeing more of your trip!

  2. The Marais is my favorite too. Looks like you we're able to do the antique thing. August is not the best time to be there, but since we had the kids it was moot! St. Paul church is sure getting a facelift.

  3. Welcome back, Terri! It looks like you had a wonderful time. I love your photos - they make me want to go back to Paris soon. Tell me, how did you find the nice apartment you rented? That looks like a great way to go. I love that it overlooked a quiet courtyard. Perfect! Can't wait to see parts 2 and 3 of your trip.

  4. Welcome back! How I love pouring over your photos of Paris. Such a beautiful city, and you've shown it well, from different than the usual angles.

  5. welcome home. so much goodness. that market looks so wonderful. I know you had a wonderful time - looking forward to seeing your painting and hearing more about your trip, donna

  6. OOh it looks and sounds like you had a fabulous trip! Love all of your photos but especially the one of you two at lunch.

    Can't wait to see more pics.

  7. wonderful! I have never been, so seeing your pictures is a treat. I look forward to reading parts 2 and 3 =)

  8. Divine, my dear! I just had a feeling you would find a painting or two there. I know you love and collect little paintings. The apartment is very charming. I love peeking into those private courtyards. Can't wait to see more. Don't make us wait too long :)
    Welcome back!

  9. I miss Paname and the flea markets so much - not the same in the Big Smoke...

  10. I would love to visit Paris it it so beautiful. I love all of the little flee markets they are right up my ally!

  11. I enjoyed seeing the different angles and I recognized them as different angles, too, for I've not seen them in any books. Four flights up might not be such a bad plan given all the great food. I'm sure that all the walking and climbing helped a lot. It was fun to see the markets and I wondered if what I thought I was seeing was actually what I thought I was seeing.

  12. Wow what a trip! So wonderful. It's so easy to document things now a days and keep memories forever. Love this post.

  13. Linda in Waterloo, Ontario4:48 pm

    Your photos are absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing them....I enjoyed them very much. :)

  14. Perfect, and welcome home! Great photos and the apartment looks perfect! What an adorable kitchen.

    Looking forward to seeing more!


  15. Looks like a perfect trip, Terri. And you spent you time exactly as I would have liked to. I love Blanc d'Ivoire, wish it was easier to find here, same with Flamant. And taking your time in the markets, how wonderful. I am looking forward to seeing more!

  16. Well I loved this apartment interiors, seems to be really amazing and most fabulous ...

  17. loved your photo's and the one of you in the cafe is precious. when were you there? we may have been there at the same time and i walked thru many of your paths. cannot wait for part 2,3.....

  18. Lovely! we're contemplating going again this year for christmas (if we can brave the cold and wet decembers of Paris). Your apartment looks charming -could you email me the info on it? I'm not sure I want to stay in the same place again this year.

  19. Your images are beautiful and you certainly captured the heart of the city. Welcome home and may all your memories live long.

  20. Hi Terri - what a great trip! You and David really know your way around Paris. I can't imagine all there is to see and do, especially in the flea markets. I'm off to read your second Paris post. Welcome back.

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  27. Your apartments looks beautiful. Would you be able to share the contact details of that lovely apartment? (I'm going to go Paris in September.)
    Thank you.