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Down to the Provenal Details

An Antique Stall at the Paul Bert Market at the Marché aux Puces, Saint-Ouen

Down to the Provenal Details

Parler Paris…
Your taste of life in Paris and France

Monday, August 7, 2006
Paris, France

Living and Investing in France Conference
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Living and Investing in France Conference
September 16 & 17, 2006
Sheraton Suites San Diego
San Diego, California

If you’ve always dreamed of moving to France, starting a new life in Paris, enjoying a “pied-à-terre” of your own part of the year or perhaps investing in property in France, this power-packed conference is a MUST. Hosted by Adrian Leeds, Editor of the Parler Paris Nouvellettre® and French Property Insider weekly e-zine and John Howell, lead attorney for John Howell & Co., Law Overseas, London, these two days in San Diego will arm you with all the information you need to make it happen!

Plus, earn $100 for every friend you refer…see the Web site for details.

For more information, visit Living and Investing in France Conference San Diego or email Schuyler Hoffman, [email protected]


Dear Parler Paris Reader,

Some people party on Saturday night. Me? I hang drapes.

Remember what I said a while back?…“Travaux” Twice the Time, Twice the Price.” Another expression I have learned since undertaking this project is “The devil is in the details.” So right they are.

At 6 p.m. my “entrepreneur” (contractor), housekeeper and I thought it wouldn’t take long to clean and put the (almost) finishing touches on the studio apartment I have been renovating for short term rental on rue Charlot. Four hours later we couldn’t do more and sat back to admire our work. Every inch of it is clean. All the “bricolage” (di-it-yourself work) is almost complete, the curtains have been hung and the blinds are attached and working.

Three things still remained to purchase of any real significance: a “secretary” style desk, a “table de nuit” (night stand) and a mirror for over the bed. I had been looking everywhere and not coming up with just what I had in mind to follow in the Provençal theme. Frustration was beginning to set in.

It had been years to have made a trip to the Marché aux Puces in Saint-Ouen, but it seemed to be in order for just such an occasion. A friend agreed to join me as she was also looking for a few things and knowing her good taste, was assured to have the perfect antique-hunting companion.

There is nothing more expansive than the Marché aux Puces of Paris — not actually IN Paris, but just outside the Périphérique (outer ring road) in the suburb of Saint-Ouen. When you take the number 4 Métro to the end of the line, Porte de Clignancourt, do not be fooled by the open air market stalls between the Métro station and the ring road into thinking this is the Marché aux Puces. Just keep walking north until you run into rue des Rosiers (yes, another rue des Rosiers) where it all really begins.

The story goes that “between 1880 and 1900, the visitor who left Paris via the Porte de Clignancourt would travel past the glacis of the fortress, the hovels of the rag-and-bone men and the makeshift market stalls and inns set up in the middle of the fields and market gardens. It was against this colorful background, along the ‘passageway’ which separated the capital from the town of Saint-Ouen, that the Flea Market set up home.” To read more about the “biffins,” “chiftires,” “crocheteurs” and “pêcheurs de lune”…these “rag-and-bone” men who travel led through the city by night, searching for old objects that had been thrown out with the rubbish, visit the official site (in English) at

Today it is the world’s largest antiques market with as many as 150,000 visitors every weekend from all over the world who come in the hope of finding rare and treasured objects. Yesterday I was one of them.

August can be both a good and bad time to be there. About half the merchants are closed and on vacation, but those that are open are willing to make a sale at an off-season price. There are fewer buyers, too, so wandering among the stalls is pleasant and the dealers are happy to give you their time.

There are 15 different markets, each of which has a particular flavor and style. It doesn’t take long to recognize which would be the wrong style of furnishings or wrong price range with a brief tour. We started at the Vernaison Market, the fir

st you come to off rue des Rosiers and within a few moments, found a secretary that would be perfect. It was missing the door that hinges down to make the desk, but the dealer assured me it was currently in repair and would be sold with it. Seeing as it was so soon, we continued on to search for something even better.

The Paul Bert Market we knew to have more French country and provincial style furnishings and there we quickly discovered twin night stands we both fell in love with…each miniature with three drawers, hand painted flowers and motifs on a mottled yellow background, light and delicate. Perfect. The dealer made a fast offer and we made a quick deal handing over the money, agreeing to each take one (creating a new special bond between us) and to return to pick them up later after lunch.

Lunch at his recommendation was at Le Paul Bert, at 20, rue Paul Bert, and he said, “Have the chicken.” We did, and he was right. Le Paul Bert is a great restaurant find!

Renewed, refreshed and after perusing most all the markets while carrying our two “petites tables de nuit,” not having found another secretary to suit my tastes or budget, nor a single mirror I’d want to call my own, we started to head home with a stop at the stall in Vernaison.

There it all came together. Le Monsieur suggested he have the secretary refinished to match the night stand, in the same color. Then I noticed a frame against the wall along with many others that matched the two pieces of furniture perfectly, but in need of repair. He suggested to repair the frame, place in it an antique mirror, refinish it in white and deliver them all at the end of the week — all this at what I believe was a very reasonable price, certainly within my budget.

I paid him half, the remaining balance to be paid upon delivery and now I’m anxious to see how it all fits in Le Provençal as I imagine them!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]

P.S. Le Provençal is getting booked up fast for the fall, but is still available for now through September 23. To make your request, visit /parlerparis/apartments/rentals/provencal.html or email [email protected] To see more apartments for rent in Paris, visit/parlerparis/apartments

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Under the Tuscan Sun vs A Year in Provence

SPECIAL OFFER — only until August 31! Right now, subscribe to French Property Insider for TWO years and get TWO EXTRA months, absolutely FREE!

This Week in French Property Insider…

Often I come across people who are confused about their feelings toward Italy vs France for good reason.

In some ways, the two European countries are quite similar. They have quite a bit of shared history and shared territory, the borders having changed over the years leaving remnants of each other’s cultures on the terrain…FPI Subscribers Read On…


Learn how to buy property in France. French Property Insider is an e-mail newsletter from the editors of Parler Paris. Learn all the insights, recommendations, and discoveries about buying and investing in real estate in Paris and France that French Property Insider readers get every week.

To learn more, visit /frenchproperty/insider or go directly to subscribe at /frenchproperty/insider/subscribetofpi.html

Starting a business in France…

Excerpt from the Insider Guide to Practical Answers for Living in France
By Jean Taquet

I do not have a 10-year residency card and I want to work legally in France.
Could you tell me what the legal formalities are to fulfill in order to get a “Carte de commerçant étranger?”

First of all, I hope that you have legal status in France. If you do, you have the right to work. Some restrictions exist if you are a student. You do not need any other documents if you want to be an employee. If you want to be self-employed, start a company, “S.A.R.L,” “S.A.” or others, be the manager of a branch, then you do need a “Carte de commerçant étranger.” The legal requirements are that you have resided legally in France for a minimum of 3 years, that you do not have a criminal record, “extrait de casier judiciaire vierge,” and that you have not received court order that would prevent a Frenchman from being a “commerçant.” …
For the complete answer, see the guide….

The Insider Guide to Practical Answers for Living in France is packed with almost 300 questions from real people, for real people…and the practical answers that will save you countless hours of frustration. If you’re moving to France, this guide is a must! Get your copy now!

To read Jean Taquet’s latest column, visit /parlerparis/practicalanswers.html

Perfect Your French!


* Now is an excellent time to brush up on your French. With a subscription to Champs-Elysées monthly audio magazines you’ll never run out of interesting and authentic cultural audio material and you’ll soon find that your language skills have moved from good to near perfect! Available worldwide, visit:

Leeds Marais Apartment
Available in its entirety September 8 – 19, 2006


* Rent the personal Marais apartment of Adrian Leeds
September 8 – 19, 2006!

Located in a 17th century Le Marais Hôtel Particulier, this 70 square meter two-bedroom apartment with lots of light is nicely furnished and is perfect for up to 4 people when she’s traveling. Includes high speed Internet access, free international calling, housekeeping one time per week and all linens.

Pictures and more details available here: /parlerparis/apartments/rentals/leeds.html
Email [email protected]

* “Le Provençal” Studio: Available as of August 2006

Located in a very charming and quiet 18th-century building in the heart of Le Marais, this sunny studio is perfect for one or two seeking ultimate Parisian calm, flavored with the beautiful colors of Provence.

Pictures and more details available here: /parlerparis/apartments/rentals/provencal.html

Parler Paris Apartments



Parler Paris Après Midi

Come for a drink and to meet and chat with other readers in Paris:

The next gathering is September 5, 2006

Please note: There is no meeting in August.



Parler Parlor is Open All Summer Long!

Practice speaking French and English. Make friends, discuss interesting topics, learn about other cultures, progress in understanding and speaking, naturally and easily. Meets three times a week — come as often as you like.


Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group


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