In my “Ask The Antiques Diva™” column from this month’s Bonjour Paris Newsletter, a reader writes in to ask about “Antiquing in Provence”. I discuss my favorite flea markets in Provence and recommend an essential book for travelers in France. Plus, I share tips on why you should and why you should not shop in l’Isle sur la Sorgue!
Until Next Time,
P.S. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can get a FREE Bonjour Paris Premium Membership (a $39 value)!
Angelica Arbulu Photography
The Antiques Diva™ is going Double-Diva on you… not only will you find me writing here on The Antiques Diva™ blog as normal, but twice a month you can also read my column as the In-House Antiques Expert in the Bonjour Paris newsletter – the definitive guide to Paris! I’ll be writing about everything from my favorite flea market towns in France to giving tips on how to bargain in France, what to buy and where and when to buy it.
To find out where the best brocantes are in Paris this March, April, and May see the Spring Parisian Flea Market Calendar in the Bonjour Paris newsletter!
Make sure to subscribe for free to the Bonjour Paris newsletter by clicking here!
La Foire Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambons on the île de Chatou!
After we’ve shoppped until you drop, The Diva will revive you with champagne or café au lait – you name your poison – and we’ll leave the flea markets behind, stepping into Hemingway’s Paris, hitting a bar named after him and parading through the Ritz as if it were built for us alone. In fact, we’ll don an apron and pick up golden spatulas, taking an afternoon French cooking lesson at the Ritz Escoffier – dining afterwards in the Ritz’ kitchen! For an additional charge, you can leave “les miserables” behind while enjoying pampering in Paris at a Posh, Private Day Spa Atelier with a Diva-tested, Diva-approved English speaking skin care and massage specialist.
Well-rested and looking our best, arm-in-arm we’ll stroll past the famous Parisian sites and do a little vintage and clothes shopping in Saint-Germain-des-Prés! We’ll visit the hottest shops, the best boutiques, the obvious and the out-of-the-way in The Antiques Diva’s private Paris, sharing memories and making new ones!
Diva Tour Details!
Tour 1: 12-15 March, 2010
Tour 2: 18-21 March, 2010
Also inquire for tour dates in May, October and November 2010
4-Day Paris Tour costs 1000 Euro per person *
* Discounts apply on multi-person group booking.
Hotel and Airfare are not included in tour cost; however, The Antiques Diva Tours can make hotel recommendations and suggestions on the best areas of the city to stay!
This Weekend – Oct 17 & 18 – get out of the city! Leave Paris behind and head to Senlis and visit this small town’s “Salon des Antiquaires” near Paris at the Abbaye Royale de Chaalis –Fee of 3 Euro includes entrance to the brocante & abbey!
Another out-of-town event nearby Paris that might be interesting to art lovers is being held this weekend on the grounds of the infamous Foire Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambons en l’île de Chatou – The Grand Marche d’Art Contemporain Oct 15-18, 2009
If staying in the city is more your style, visit Brocante de la place Maubert – Sunday, Nov 1.
And last but certainly not least, visit the Antiquites Brocante at the Place de la Bastille Nov 5 – 15, 2009! There’s still time to book a last minute Antiques Diva Tour! I think blogger Tara Bradford of Paris Parfait has the best pics of this sensational flea market! Check them out!
While we at Diva Tours like to keep you informed on what’s on in Paris, we also like to educate you so you can find the flea markets of Paris (and all of France for that matter) on your own. Whatever dates you’re in Paris, you can always look up to see what flea markets and antique fairs are being held in the city of light by visiting the Brocabrac website. For Paris events click region 75 and learn what the fleas have in store for you!
The Antiques Diva™
Visit Parisien Salon to get inside information on what to see, do, buy & eat while in Paris in this e-magazine written by people who don’t just love Paris but who know it like the back of their hands, taking you beyond the landmarks & giving you exclusive entrée to a Paris usually limited only to locals!
Until Next Time, Happy Reading!
The Antiques Diva™
All this talk of Paris reminds me that I meant to tell you about what’s going on in Paris’ Flea Market this June 28, 2009! Normally, you go to this famed French flea market to score killer antiquities – this time, however, I’m not sending you there for the loot, instead I’m sending you for the entertainment!!
A Paris Flea Market Celebration
Visit the Marche Malassis in the Puces de Saint-Ouen for a sensual sensation watching tango dancers get their Latin groove on as the Casa Del Tango, led by Frédérique Behar, helps les Parisians et beaucoup des tourists kick off Summer/ été 2009!
Also, for you French-readers out there, I wanted to let you in on a recent discovery! Did you know The Paris Flea Market now writes a blog?? Visit Puces de Paris for great updates on what’s on at the Paris Flea Market!
The Antiques Diva™
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Get your charge cards ready… On your mark, get set, it’s time for the Paris Sales!
Les Soldes start June 24th and run until July 28th, 2009
Dear Diva Readers,
All over Paris (and France for that matter) prices will be slashed, cut and discounted and rumor has it that the discounts will be unbelievable this year – tout le monde is discussing la crise economique and shoppers can cash in on unbelievable savings!
An American friend visiting me once when I lived in Paris asked, “What’s up with everyone being ga-ga over the Paris sales? What’s so special about them?” After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I explained, “In France, the sales are state mandated. The government regulates the sales and so les soldes occur only twice a year. It’s not like America where there is a sale every week!” My friend, grasping that it was important she understand the finer points of this discussion, inquired “But why would the government care if there were sales all year? Don’t they know it’s good for the economy?”
“Economy-Smonomy!” I responded, “The socialist democracy of France has higher pursuits than the economy!” Barb Wilde, author of The French Gardening blog and owner of the online-shop L’Atelier Vert explains this phenomenon better than anyone else I know. She writes:
To protect the French populace from such outrageous and unfair treatment (on the part of merchants–government bureaucrats are neatly excluded here), the state mandated that sales would take place only for a period of about 5 weeks in January and February, and again in July and August. Only pre-existing merchandise–ostensibly end-of-the-season stuff–is allowed to be marked down.
In fact, this has become an assimilated part of French commercial culture. Before the winter sales, for instance, it’s nearly impossible to find anything springy, for example. May the gods of French shopping have pity on you if you need summery clothes to go someplace warm over the holidays. “Resort wear” simply doesn’t appear at least until the soldes begin–well after the holidays. The markdown of the old wintry stuff miraculously allows the nouvelles collections to start appearing. Out with the old and in with the new. Literally.
The markdowns begin rather modestly–usually at 10%–and then become deeper as the sale weeks roll by, finishing up at a whopping 50 to 70% on whatever’s left at the end. Thus, shoppers play a sort of solde roulette, gambling on whether their desired purchase will stay around long enough to be marked down more deeply. Or if like me, they’re too busy to get out early, they simply get lucky–or unlucky, as the case may be. Wealthy international shoppers are of course crazy about the soldes, and in the large department stores during the first couple of weeks of the sales, you hear almost any language but French spoken by the shoppers who have descended on Paris from all over the world to get a bargain.
But the state-mandated soldes, like so many French rules, have a loophole – promotions.”
Typically stores sneak in mini-mid-year sales called Promotions and thus get around the loophole that stores are only allowed to have sales twice a year.
Prior to le crise financieres you never saw the words “Les Soldes” used outside of the designated period… but when I was in Paris this April taking Travel+Leisure on an antiques shopping tour with Claudia Strasser of Paris Apartments, I saw something that I have never seen before – Quelle Horror! Les Soldes signs were hanging outside of Galleries Lafayette NOT DURING the official sale period!!! What has happened to France? On recent trips to Paris I’ve noticed that vendors – as soon as they heard my American accent – responded to my French inquiries in English (something which pre-Sarko never happened to me!) and they even smiled whilst doing so! Is it possible that France is changing? And now this… sales during a non-sale period?
Discussions with friends surmised that the economy was so low that the big vendors were willing to face the risk of government fines for “soldes-ing” out of “season”. Further supposition among friends-in-the-know indicates that this summer’s Paris sale might just be the best sale yet! And I’m going to miss it!!! Tant pis pour moi! But, my loss is your gain for this year in a special Les Soldes Antiques Diva blog, I’m going to let you in “behind the scenes” on my typical shopping route for the first day of the Paris sales!
“Many top Paris stores, including Galeries Lafayette, have online stores offering sale items. If you’re not too daunted by the French, you can also try navigating specialized websites like 1000 Bonnes Affaires or L’internaute, which provide quick overviews of the best deals being offered in hundreds of stores. Remember, though, that not all stores ship outside of France.”
In the meantime, TaTa for now, I’ll blog to you later!
The Antiques Diva™