Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Paris Market Story

Have you noticed that all over blog-land people are either planing trips to Paris, or posting photographs from their recent trips there. Every time I read a post like this or this, I feel a sharp pang of jealousy.  My love for all things Paris, and French for that matter, runs deep, and I only wish I was planing another trip to the city of light too! I know I'll go back to Paris several more times in my life, but patience is not a virtue I was blessed with. So for now, all I have are sweet, sweet memories from my last trip, hundreds of beautiful photographs and one fabulous story...

I didn't take many photos of the Brocants (flea markets) around Paris because I'd read they could be unsafe, and tourist should be aware of pick-pockets and thieves.  While that was true for an area or two, I'd say for the most part the markets were very safe and friendly. I so regret not having photos of the amazing-ness that is a Paris Brocant to share with you now. We visited everything from open air markets with vendors set up on tables lining the street, to flea markets where every vendor was essentially in their own storage unit, complete with roll-up door.

Before we left for vacation Mom and I both made a list of things we'd hoped to find in Paris. Mom's list was all jewelry items, and mine was mainly ephemera. I'd found some old french legal documents on etsy, and I was really hoping I would find at least one more on the trip.  The documents were folded pieces of large, aged paper that were covered both front and back with the most beautifully french writing.
When we got to the market on the first day, and as I wondered though the booths, I started to realize that these documents weren't quite as easy to find as I'd hoped. The one or two that I saw were in horrible condition, and priced exuberantly high.
As Mom and I wondered from booth to booth, we would occasionally bump into each other, and we were always stoping to point out what the other "had to see".
I spotted mom having a chat with an older gentleman who had a booth along the street just ahead of me. When I walked up to join them the first thing that caught my attention was a huge stack of documents sitting on the table. I gasped, and looked at mom.
"Do you like them?" she asked.  I'm sure the answer was written all over my face. "Oui!"
"I just bought them for you. ALL of them!" I couldn't believe my ears. A friendly nod from the old man reassured me that I had heard her right, as he began to load the documents into a plastic grocery bag.  Total shock and disbelief.
I couldn't believe the treasures I held in my hand as we walked away from the table. I'd been gifted exactly what I'd hoped to find.  Fifty-four of the most beautiful packets of paper I've ever seen. I spent hours that night in the hotel room studying the impecable handwriting and looking for familiar words.
What happened if the writer were to make a mistake?
What did each of these documents say?
What was Parian life like at the time these were written?
How could someone part with something so beautiful?
Be sure to stop by my shop for your own brocante treasure!


Kathy Barrick said...

Such wonderful memories! I want to go back tooooooooooooooo!!!!!!