Monday, October 19, 2015

Les Marches en Paris

On Saturday we had a leisurely morning before heading off to shop at some of the best flea markets in Paris.  I'm used to American markets that start early and you have to be there at the crack of dawn to get the best picks, but here we didn't start out until around 9:30 with our croissants and cafe to get to the markets that open up around 11:00.

The whole group of us found our way, like experts, obviously, on our second day, on the metro.  Our destination:  the Marche (yes, I know it's missing the accent to make it look and sound French, but I'm typing this on my iPad and it's too hard to figure that one out right now) aux Puces de St-Ouen off the rue de Rosiers.  We had to wander through some "normal" markets filled with Italian leather, jeans, scarves, watches, and junk to get to the real "tresor"...streets jammed with stalls of antiques.  Furniture, housewares, and general awesomeness was all around.  I'm not good at shopping with other people because I like picking at my own pace.  Sam, one of the girls here from Australia, is actually of similar mind and was searching for the same goods, so we ended up together quite a bit during our hours there at le marche.

Yes, found myself a few Parisian kitties along the way.  But, more importantly, we found some nice ephemera to use in our collage works this week.  The point of our shopping trip was to look for materials to add texture and unique spirit to our artwork.  This doesn't make sense to a lot of people, but the best finds I got for the day were the ones in boxes deep in the stalls that I had to dig through and get my hands dirty.  

Old papers with handwriting are always a huge score in English, but in French they are a real prize!  I found a small journal that appears to have handwritten songs in it.  I want to translate it a bit and see if they are hymns or original poetry before I tear it up and start coating it with glue.  I'll share more about that in another post once I figure it out a bit.  Here's an example of one of the pictures from an old French storybook that will get some additional treatment on it later with paint, pencils, and whatever I feel like at the time!

In the meantime, here are a couple of pics from around the market:

A stall jammed with old tools.  With so many tool-hoarding friends, I laughed out loud when I saw this one.  If only I had more suitcase space!

The hours passed quickly, and before I realized it, I was starving.  Luckily, some of the girls had gotten that idea earlier and I ran into them in a cafe near our meeting spot.  They shared their crisps and chicken (which wasn't all that yummy), and I finished it off with a little bit of heaven:  crepe nutella.  No napkins, of course, so I looked like a crazy toddler who just finished off the best snack.  

We got back to our hotel on the Rue de Lyon early in the evening and spent some time in the classroom working on our books and drawing a bit.  Jane gave us a lesson on a face turned sideways, and we've all been working diligently to keep our chins from disappearing and our necks turned in some natural way.  I'll share some shots of that later on when they get some paint on them and you can't see the crazy chins and weird neck angles.  haaaaaaaa

I've been surprisingly comfortable reading signs and dealing with merchants and locals.  I think the vocabulary that has been buried in my brain for so many years is actually coming to the surface, plus I really enjoy that I'm just a visitor here and don't have to deal with the day-to-day frustrations of trying to set up a home in a different country.  When I was stationed in Italy, I came to dread going out on the town and dealing with folks in the market or on the street.  It was just so painful.  I remember one particular cold day when there was a vendor selling roasted chestnuts in our square.  I got sideways looks from folks and never did end up getting to the table in front because I wasn't aggressive enough, apparently.  I just gave up and went home.  I don't get that sensation here at all and that's a huge relief.  I know I've only been here a few days, but the overall feeling I get is so positive and exciting that I already have ideas swirling in my head about coming back as an art student!


  1. Keep it coming! Awesome! I do want you to come home! I'm afraid we will lose you to Paris.

  2. Have fun dear friend!!!! Loving be able to be on your journey with you!

  3. Keep posting these wonderful experiences! I am living them through you! I think that Tam LaPorte may be there? I have been following the LifeBook 2015 this year (won a spot last year in the class) and it is quite amazing. Unfortunately, my life has been so far out of whack that I haven't had time to participate as much as I wanted to, but I have been following along the incredible journey of the other 3200+ souls. Miss Tam is dynamite. And Miss Jane is, too! She is a teacher on the LifeBook and I bought her book about beautiful faces but haven't dived in yet. So jealous of your art-venture, but also so excited for you that you can do this. Treat yourself well, my friend! Enjoy the day. Erin

  4. gf, you look like you are having a blast! congrats! i picked up an old mag this am and saw your smiling face on the contributors page- then picked up another one and there you were. who knew you were so famous! have fun. sandy


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Charleston, SC, United States
I'm a retiree/artist/student who makes things. It's a nice kind of lifestyle!

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