Monday, November 09, 2015

Finding Inspiration -- Flea Markets

One of the joys of Paris, and France, is that the things we regard as old aren't really that old to the French. So when you go to a flea market, you find all sorts of things that are charming and old that locals will sell to you for what seems a steal.

There is so much inspiration to be found in a flea market anywhere in the world. You can find old jewellery to take apart and give new life as a necklace; you can find old jewellery you can wear just as it is, since some pieces are timeless; you can find old jewellery that can serve as inspiration for the creation of something with all new components. Not only that, you can find unusual things to help you create jewellery: doll parts, including clothes and accessories; toys; tools and scrap metal; wool, buttons, fabric and thread; and even old craft kits.

Needless to say, I was in flea market heaven on my recent trip to Paris and the south of France. Since we were focusing on collecting treasures to incorporate into our designs, flea marketing was a major part of our agenda. In France, most flea markets take place on the weekend, and a few extend to Monday. In Paris, there is one flea market in the Place d'Aligre that is held on Thursday, so we made sure to take the Metro to visit it before we left for the south of France. It's a mish-mash of food markets on the side streets that radiate out from a roundabout that circles a cement city parkette. Vendors set up for the morning, disappear for a while then some return for a few hours in the afternoon. There's everything from paintings to books, to jewellery to African carvings to vintage clothes and new ones. While there I bought a sweet little vintage chain mail purse and some vintage stamps. Here's a picture of the market and one of some of the goodies I bought.

Image result for flea market place d'aligre paris

Outside Durfort, where we stayed for a week as part of Bijoux Souvenirs Deux, we went to a Sunday flea market in a tiny town called Palleville. You won't find any info on it if you Google Palleville. Our hostess Nese drew a map for us to follow and we found the flea market spread throughout Palleville's small downtown. People parked in a nearby field and families wandered the impromptu booths. Things here were definitely cheaper than Paris, but you also had to hunt a little to find good stuff. I suspect there are weekend fleas like this in most small towns across France. People there seem to love using and re-using old things and they do treat them with respect. 

Our group found everything from lace to leather, tools to toys and, of course, lots of jewellery. I bought a couple of rings for 1 Euro each, and some necklaces to re-purpose for 3 Euros each, some gorgeous lace for 4 Euros and even a brass Stella for 2 Euros and a brass doorknob for 3 Euros!

Finally, back in Paris, we decided to visit the most well-known flea market, Clignancourt. Wow, there were so many aspects to this market, from people selling what looked like junk from sheets spread on the ground, to stalls and stores selling more upscale junk, to organized alleys of established antique sellers. We bought tools, old nails, purses, new hats and gloves, old magazine compendiums, glass from old chandeliers, knick knacks. It was amazing, fun and the bartering was easy. We took the two books of Lisette magazines and shared them. Such sweet little mags from 1932.

I hope you get a chance to visit a flea market in France. There's a treasure waiting there for you!

1 comment:

Jane Perala said...

Lucky you! I am drooling over those stamps!