When I travel to Paris, it’s always on a strict budget. However, I also like to shop and bring something home. I found hidden in the Marais district antiques area a shop that is filled with very affordable “treasures”. Still, my husband often says, “Honey, it’s not trash to you because it has French writing or Paris on it, but it’s trash.”
The antique shops in Paris are rather pricey. Also, the flea markets tend to be overpriced, and there are fewer antiques than imitation sneakers and bags. The days of the fun flea markets, really are gone. When shopping in Paris, bargain is not a word that comes to mind.
Still, I decided I need something to commemorate my visits, so I buy something from the store that sells stuff none of the other antique stores will touch. Old milk bottles, old yogurt bottles, school pencils and maps, old sewing kits, and measuring cups are all to be found there. Other shops have really old antiques, my store has stuff from the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. It also breaks the Parisian rule of being closed on Sunday. Sunday finds me hunting through boxes and trying to read dusty price tags. The person behind the counter will not speak English well. He or she will be unsure what an item is. If you want it, buy it. Don’t insult the worker either by trying to bargain. As an American I was really upset once when an “artist” tried to talk down the store owner on the price of some old house numbers. He kept saying “Oh come on, support the arts.” I had to look him in the eye and say “I truly suspect this place is just a front for some illegal activity since they can’t make enough to pay the rent at these prices. Just shut up and buy it or not, but really don’t embarrass yourself with haggling.” One reason I’m not giving the name of the shop is because who knows what’s really going on…all I care about is I buy some lovely memento for not too many Euros. (Go to the Marais District, look for the really good bakery. Eat the quiche for lunch, with a soda it’s under five Euros. You’ll find the store.)
Here are some of my finds. The one is a “mystery”. Some people think it is a bird water container, however putting water in it is just about impossible. The top does not come off. An inkwell that was disposable also has been suggested, as the store has a huge box of them. Since the store carried a lot of surplus school supplies, inkwell seems a fair guess also. The internet has one store that insists it is for watering birds, but that is also simply their best guess.
- Confessions of a Button Hoarder (handofbelapeck.typepad.com)
- Flea Market Find: Bradley & Hubbard Inkwell (bohemianromance.wordpress.com)
- How to Experience Paris Just Like a Local (beontheroad.com)