Friday, Part 1: Antiques

As part of my grand prize, Toma The Antiques Diva gave me and Cathy a guided tour of the old Foire de la Brocante et aux Jambons outside of Paris in Chatou. The unlikely combination of ham and antiques turned out to be a winner, and because it was a glorious day and I averaged about 200 photos per day on the trip, I’m breaking it up into two sections. First, the antiques.

I have never wanted to own a home in France quite so much as I did while walking around the fair. Nothing is cheap, but haggling is expected, and if your tastes run to the unorthodox there are deals to be had. I was looking for an old kitchen knife, but didn’t find any. I did find an old ceramic cheese mold, which I bought, and dozens of other items that I would have bought if I had that previously mentioned nonexistent house in France. This trip turned out to be particularly great because despite my best intentions I never actually made it down to Porte de Vanves for the weekend flea market, where I used to go every time I came to Paris.

Here’s Toma, checking out antique jars (and being checked out in return).

Seltzer bottles, which look like an army of antique robot ducks:

Everything is very nicely arranged in elaborate booths. There’s a lot of high-end furniture, china, and silver, but my taste favored the more rustic things.

Right near the exit I spotted a couple of things that I really wanted. This old picnic hamper, with a complete set of tin plates, glasses, bottles, and containers, all in protective wicker sleeves, which made me consider throwing away my carry-on bag and replacing it with this:

Cathy and Toma were very taken with this piece, but like Yogi Bear my heart belonged to the picnic basket.

And last, most appropriate of all, I found this little iron grill with a pig’s head at one end and a tail on the other. I’m still mad at Cathy for refusing to make Dennis carry it home for me.

Toma gives all her clients tote bags, but since I am a dude she had Di, her bag-making person, whip up this bespoke shoulder bag, which is perfect for my camera and the iPad I’m totally going to get one of these days; I had to bring along a rather cumbersome old briefcase/shoulder bag thing to function as my camera bag on this trip, but that will not be a problem in the future.

IT’S EUROPEAN. So many thanks again to Toma for putting this lovely day together. Up next, the ham portion.

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  1. March 12

    Did you purchase the picnic basket? I do hope so.

  2. March 13

    Love the pig. Would die for that picnic hamper though. Lucky you

  3. Was my absolute pleasure to spend the day shopping with you in Paris!!

  4. Mem
    March 13

    Great photos…so much fun to live vicariously through you until I get back to Paris and other regions of France!


  5. BJ
    March 13

    Ha! Those bottles totally look like an army of antique robot ducks! Thanks for the laugh! (Nice writing, by the way)

  6. March 13

    I visited the ham and antique market in Chatou last spring, and had a wonderful time. Just re-read my old blog post, after reading yours. What a fun day!

  7. Carla Beaudet
    March 14

    Ooo. The thing that inspires my object-lust is the pair of scratched-up old metal chairs in the super-saturated turquoise. Want.

  8. Peter
    March 16

    Zoomie: Sadly, no.

    Anuja: I wish I could have brought it home.

    Toma: Thanks for a great day.

    Mem: The camera deserves all the credit.

    BJ: Thanks.

    Vickie: Yes, it was fun. And sunny, which is not nothing over there.

    Carla: Even worse, there were FOUR of them.

  9. June 12

    Really great blog about your travels – the pictures are super too. You have a way with words!

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