Packing In A Lifetime Of Memories

The hunt for an 18th-century gilded mirror to place above the limestone fireplace began at the Marché aux Puces.

Packing in a Lifetime of Memories

Parler Paris–your daily taste of life in Paris and France

Monday, September 22, 2003
Paris, France

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Dear Parler Paris Reader,

This was one of those weekends in Paris that seemed to pack in a lifetime of memories. The weather was absolutely stunningly warm and bright drawing everyone out into the open air.

A midnight car ride with friends on Friday night found us parked just in front of the Eiffel Tower as La Grande Dame sparkled her 20,000 lights at midnight. I tried, but photos just can’t do her justice.

Saturday morning lots of newcomers and old-timers filed into Parler Parlor at Eurocentres in the 6th arrondissement for stimulating conversation and lunch together to celebrate La Rentrée. We made lots of new friends, but noted the absence of Americans among the very multi-national participation.

That evening, thousands of people streamed into the Place des Vosges for “Paris, du soleil aux lumières” to see the tigers in their large round white cage center in the square and the actors, artists and musicians in baroque costume carrying torches spouting poems of love and reciting from prose. Red banners hung from the lamp posts and candles had been placed all around the fence gently lighting the scene. The Place des Vosges was mesmerizingly beautiful.

Sunday morning I helped Bill Bonner unload antique bricks he had found near his château in the country to reconstruct the 18th century limestone fireplace at IL’s newly acquired apartment on rue de la Huchette, then stopped for a café crème while facing the bright sun at the corner brasserie and watched Paris come to life. Notre Dame was busy with visitors as always and Shakespeare and Company hadn’t yet woken up to display its books out front.

Both Saturday and Sunday patient folks lined up outside of 1400 monuments and sites all over France to see their interiors not normally open to the public during the 20th annual “Les Journées du Patrimoine.” On such beautiful days as this, the visitor counts must have been at an all time high. One friend on a bike was visiting as many as he could cycling from one to the next…what a smart idea.

I missed the visits in lieu of a shopping expedition to the Marché aux Puces with Porter Scott to find special things for the apartment, but we weren’t alone. The market seemed undaunted by the city events and was a beehive of antique hunters. We found some beautiful things — large gilded mirrors (one almost 3 meters high), distressed wood “commodes” in blues and greens, forged iron chandeliers with matching sconces and big overstuffed “fauteuils” ready for reupholstering. (You’ll hear much more about the Marché aux Puces in this week’s French Property Insider)

Exhausted, we headed home after five hours ogling antiques in the maze of “allées” — plenty for one day. In fact, more than enough for one weekend…but then again, there’s always more to do in Paris than there’s time for!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

P.S. See you tomorrow at Parler Paris Après Midi! /parlerparis/apresmidi.html

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* Further resources:

* Can’t get enough to read about Paris and France?

* Where the Black hair salons were, where you could go to listen to soul and gospel music, where to buy sweet potatoes, corn meal and black-eyed peas.

* Get to know the American Artists in Paris

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