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Les Puces & the Cobra Battling Mongoose

First things first! Congrats to Anne Nelson, the lucky dog winner of our FLOR giveaway! And big hugs to those awesome guys at FLOR; you rock.

When Jess asked if there was anything we must do during our short trip to Paris – the sights, the food, the shops? – our thoughts went to the romantic (to us, anyway!) idea of a Paris flea. After a few online searches, all signs pointed to Les Puces, the largest flea market in the world. Yes, please! We followed these instructions from Oh Happy Day, and they were spot on. (Thank you, Jordan!)

Similar to the photos we shared on Monday, we had no idea where to point our many cameras. There were things everywhere, therefore, Scott and I shared photo duty and just sort of shot… anything. Our snaps have virtually no rhyme or reason, but isn’t that the same thrill you get at the flea anyway?

We were browsing for all of ten minutes when Scott found these (below) – it’s a mongoose battling a cobra!, he said – and after replying, are you kidding me, Vargo?, he gave me the eyes. The same weapon I’ve used time and time again to let him know that this is serious. I begrudgingly agreed on the print (only because I invented the eyes), but then I spotted a bison – and for some bizarre reason, we seem to have a thing for them (there’s one in our bedroom and one in the studio). At the same time – and this is when all hell broke loose – our eyes locked on an anteater with a baby anteater on its back (a baby anteater, people!), and what happened next, well, needless to say, all 3 prints came home with us.

The flea was set up in long, thin aisles, with vendors bursting out of their enclosed garage-like spaces. Some of them were set up as adorable little shops, perfectly merchandised with beautiful displays (many of those we couldn’t photograph), whereas others were a bit more haphazard. Shit was everywhere, and I say that with endearment. Those are our peeps; word.

The hardest part was being mindful of what we could pack in our bags and bring home with us. If shipping items back to Chicago was an option (which, for a pretty penny, it technically was), I would’ve left with (at least) 10 frames (you know we love ’em, the gaudier the better), some with art, some maybe not. My heart practically exploded with joy in this room:

We spent the better part of a day at Les Puces, stopping only once at the mid-point for a slice of pizza and a coffee – and believe it or not, this was all done on the same day as the Lively’s vow ceremony! By the end, we came home with 3 things (well, 8 things if you’re feeling saucy), starting with the – ahem – prints. Again, I will stress the absurdity that is an anteater family. As for the cobra fighting mongoose, I have no words. (15 euro)

And while we weren’t able to pack up giant frames – they were a dime a dozen there, those lucky Parisians! – we did leave with this little guy: (50 euro – a sorta splurge, but how often do we go to Les Puces?)

The frame is in good condition, but the glass and backing have seen better days – an easy enough fix. The print is sweet, and the colors used were practically made for our home (soft greens and golds – done!), but what really caught our eye was the boat’s name. We like to think of it as a sweet sentiment: Onward! (You know, and upwards!)

And finally, we sifted through a box of vintage photos. With Scott’s help, I picked out four. You might know I have a thing for old photos, having already framed 2 of them (from the Randolph Street Market) for the studio. Over time, I’ve collected quite a handful, and one day I’d like to frame them with crisp white mats and over-sized frames – like this or this. (2 euro for all)

We’re so lucky that Mr. & Mrs. Lively were down a day of hunting, and they were troopers. Flea hunting is practically our favorite sport (it’s neck and neck with hockey; go Pens!), and when it comes to the dig, as my dad-in-law likes to say, you don’t know what you need until you find it. Have their been truer words? Eh, doubt it.

Have you picked up any flea finds recently?

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  • AnnabelVita8.22.12 - 6:10 AM

    I looooove les puces! What time of day were you there? Last time we went was lunch/early afternoon – I loved how all the stallholders set up perfect little tables with a three course meal (and wine, of course) and then dozed off in their armchairs all afternoon. Ah, that’s the life.

    (Picture of a sleeping stallholder here http://annabelvita.com/2011/05/30/probably-the-largest-flea-market-in-europe/, I neglected to take any pictures of lunch!)ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.22.12 - 7:14 AM

      Hi Annabel! Love your recap. We were there morning through afternoon, and I did notice a few vendors with lavish tables of food! So cute.ReplyCancel

  • Staci @ My Friend Staci8.22.12 - 9:53 AM

    Great finds! We came back with a modest 2 prints (magazine ads from 1933 and 1929!) and a super-old science book for my MIL, who is a science teacher. Like you, I could have shopped for days and filled up a U-Haul truck with all my finds if it was possible! And to think we were there on Monday afternoon when most of the vendors had already closed up!

    An old photograph of a bored-looking white lady in North African garb lounging on a chaise smoking a hookah stole my heart… but it was over 200 euros for the 8×10! Obviously the dealer knew they had something special. The photo still haunts me!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie @DreamGreenDIY8.22.12 - 1:26 PM

    Dying. Seriously dying. That looks too epic for words!! Thanks for sharing, because I doubt that I will ever actually make it there in person…

    P.S. Speaking of artwork, is it Frames By Mail that you use for your custom order mats? I’m working on a drawing now for a family friend that needs multiple openings and don’t feel like cutting it myself, haha =)ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.22.12 - 1:53 PM

      Staci, we totally know the feeling of leaving something behind. Perhaps it’s worth a trip back to see if it’s still there? :)

      Carrie, yup! Frames by Mail is awesome. They have a mat designer tool and a ton of color choices!ReplyCancel

  • ann8.22.12 - 3:42 PM

    Weren’t you wishing Dave was with you at the Paris flee??? By the way, Kim I love your bangs.ReplyCancel

  • Dave8.22.12 - 5:03 PM

    Kimbo,
    Zach and the boys gave me a T-shirt, for my B-day, with a print of a honey badger fighting a cobra. I truly get the mongoose/cobra print. Nice job finding what you need.ReplyCancel

  • Trude8.23.12 - 6:15 PM

    Oh wow, what a slice of heaven! So glad you guys didn’t leave empty handed. That ship print is brilliant!ReplyCancel

  • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode8.24.12 - 7:13 AM

    Oh my goodness, I am so slow. I just was reading this, thinking “how funny, that other blogger I follow was in Paris getting married too!” and then I put 2 + 2 together and realized you were AT her wedding! I had no idea you guys were friends. Or maybe I got the recommendation to her blog from you . . . who knows. Anyway, how neat! We’re off to France and Italy for our first anniversary next spring – I can’t wait to hit up some good flea markets!ReplyCancel

  • Kim8.24.12 - 7:23 AM

    Ann, thanks!

    Dave, why am I not surprised?

    Jane, too funny! You’re going to have a blast on your anniversary trip! We’d love to go to Italy, too (I’m half Italian). Maybe next time…ReplyCancel

  • Katharine8.25.12 - 1:50 PM

    OMG. That room filled with books everywhere = my idea of heaven. Have you guys been to Berlin? If you haven’t, you must go next summer. You would LOVE it. It’s filled with interesting sites/people, and is super artist-friendly. (I spent ~6 weeks there for a summer program a few years ago). There’s this giant flea market that happens every weekend… it was fantastic. Tons of cool/inexpensive stuff. There was also an enormous communal karaoke session happening at the same time. What else could you want?!ReplyCancel

  • paris in photos | Jess Lively8.30.12 - 12:42 AM

    […] Kim and Scott led the way to the Les Puces flea the morning of our wedding. Simply incredible. […]ReplyCancel

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