samedi, avril 07, 2007

Kristy+IynVisit Day 6: Shopping!

The day began with a morning trip to the marché aux puces (flea market) of St. Ouen, which is near Porte de Clignancourt just outside of Paris proper. I had vague memories of visiting this massive flea market nearly 10 years ago, but I had clearly missed out on large parts of the market. This time around, Kristy, Iyn and I did only about 50% of the market's surface area, and we had spent nearly half the day.

The outer fringes of the market are deceiving. It looks like a bunch of tents selling knockoff clothing and shoes. However, once you get a bit further in, to the bricks-and-mortar shops, you suddenly find vendors selling Napoleon III buffets, Art Déco dining tables, and Louis XIV chairs. Although there are antique shops devoted to pretty much anything you can imagine (i.e. silverware only), the real stars of the market are the antique furniture sellers. What is most amazing about the place is how you can shop for 12 000€ dining tables in one place, and haggle over 2€ rusty candlesticks somewhere else. The high-end stores clustered towards the center, with the cheaper garage-sale-type stuff at the edges.

Kristy managed to score an old sketch of Saint-Severin, a book of Dürer engravings, and a color photo of a beautiful royal tomb, while I scored a 12-piece ceramic coffee service with creamer, sugar pot and coffee-maker for 20€. The service isn't particularly pretty, but the coffee-maker is similar to the Peruvian-style drip-brew pots that I am very fond of.

Kristy and Iyn also found a bunch of prints of Rackham and Clarke illustrations (19th-c. English, Romantic / Gothic stuff), including a bunch of lovely black-and-white prints for a book of Edgar Allen Poe stories. It broke my heart to see the pages separated from the original book (it's more profitable to cut out the illustrated pages and sell them separately), although what really killed me was seeing, only a few stores away, the remains of a late-medieval antiphoner, hand-written on vellum, being sold as individual pages. Aïe!

After all of that was done, we swung by home to drop off our stuff and have a cup of coffee, then off we went to Galeries Lafayette for some shopping. We picked up some chocolates and other fancy stuff in the food area of the store, and then headed over to the main building to look at the dome and do a bit of shopping. Kristy was looking for shoes and maybe some scarves, but in the end everything was too expensive. Add to that the fact that the place was packed with people, and suddenly we were all very eager to leave.

We headed over to BHV, where we managed to find some nice cufflinks for Iyn; in a Bata shoe store nearby, Kristy found a couple of pairs of shoes that she liked and that were also in her price range. Yay!

After that, the plan was to go to Pere Lachaise cemetary to wander about, but the cemetary had just closed, so we had to look elsewhere. We headed over to the bassin de la Villette, which is part of a chain of canals that passes through the north-east part of Paris and ends in the Seine. There is a movie theatre (in fact, one on each side of the canal) that has a nice café in front of it, so we went there to sit down for a coffee and a bite to eat.

From there, we picked up some bread at a nearby bakery and headed home to eat dinner (mostly cheese and bread, really) and head to bed.

Well, at least, Kristy and Iyn went to bed. I went out to meet Anatoly at Le Point Ephémère for a minimal techno night highlighting artists associated with Mutek. The main artists included Stephen Beaupré, Pheek, and Frivolous. After a week of running around Paris with Kristy & Iyn, I was too exhausted to do anything very ethnographic, so I didn't take any pictures or go out of the way to remember the details of the night. That much being said, it was a great time! I wish I could've stayed to hear Pheek's set....

...but instead I left the bar at 3h30, got home for 4h00, woke up Kristy and Iyn, and took them to the airport so they could catch their 7h45 flight. I was so tired, I nearly missed my stop on the way back home.

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