Artnotes Italy Daily

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Marche aux Puces Vanves: closer inspection Laurie Fox PESSEMIER Acrylic on canvas 5.5 x 9 inches
Marche aux Puces Vanves: Document Laurie Fox PESSEMIER Acrylic on wood 6 x 10 inches


Marches aux Puces Vanves: buying Jewelry Laurie Fox PESSEMIER Acrylic on canvas 5.5 x 9 inches

“You must go,” our friend S says of the market at St. Denis. “Look at this swimsuit I got for 5 euros! It would be at least 40 in the regular store.”

So Tuesday we went to the marche St. Denis. We had to change trains at St. Lazare, one of the most circuitous stations, but the market was everything she promised. Our first purchase was battery-powered lights for our closet and “cave”(cellar).

Outdoors, around the main building are stands selling everything from bathtub stoppers to Tunisian sandwiches. One booth was entirely dedicated to sewing supplies: a thousand colors of thread; a multitude of needles, fasteners and details. Other stands sold fabric (there are certain styles one can’t buy ready-made). Jewelry abounded and women held out their arms to admire their bling. There were all sorts of clothing – I bought a skirt with (rather loosely attached) sequins for ten euros. There were stands featuring large sizes – some things I’d never seen so big!

We were there for a couple of items: the lights, and window treatments. I had hoped to find rollers for roller shades, to which I could apply “panel” paintings (full body portraits of Vladimir Nabakov, Amelia Erhardt, and a Pilgrim I just happen to have around). We didn’t find them. Instead we purchased yellow-green draperies for 10 euros a pair. I will attach butterflies and flowers to take the curse off the plainness. But now, dear readers, if you come to visit, drink too much champagne, and miss the metro, you can sleep in the living room.

At the same stand as the curtains we bought (mid-size) bath towels for 2 Euros each. Our bathroom is white with an icky orangey-brown glazed tile. Our current towels are green and blue. After much discussion we settled on one towel in a red, orange and white argyle, and my towel in the same shades but striped.

We still hadn’t attacked the food hall. It is an enormous production. We decided to eat sandwiches first, so we wouldn’t buy out of hunger. Chicken or tuna stuffend into that wonderful flat middle-eastern bread, made fresh that day. The bread itself was the biggest seller at the stand, or you could get it with an uncertain reddish filling that looked as if it could be spicy.

The food hall held meats, vegetables, spices and fish. It was hard to select a stand, and by noon, some were completely sold out. One could purchase a whole sheep for 60 euros, an entire goat for 49. We bought a rabbit and a guinea hen at the poultry stand, 4 euros each, a far cry from the 10 to 14 at our local market (for rabbit). We bought some potatoes and onions, shallots and garlic – for a very small price.

Armed with our purchases, we descended the subway and turned toward home. Harika was thrilled with our meat choices, which we cooked up tout suite.

The next morning, I popped in the shower, eager to use the new towel. When I turned over the tag, it read, “made in the USA.”


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