HiP's most recent post about what's hip and happenin' in Paris for May - their hip May picks - includes a vintage market out in Belleville and a picture of Charlotte Gainsbourg. These two mentions were enough to make me sad-happy. Wistful pangs of longing, reminding me as I lie convalescing still with my post-Paris pneumonia, of a super fantastic Saturday in Paris on the Paris trip with les filles. For on that Saturday we had some vintage and we had a dose of the ultra hipness of Gainsbourg-ness. For the former, the Wonder Vintage Market out in the hinterlands, sort of: the 11eme. For the latter, a memorable evening....dinner at impossibly so well done in decor and vibe, Pamela Popo in the Marais, named in homage to a Serge Gainsbourg song.
Part I of II: The Vintage:
HiP had reported on their April picks of what to do in Paris, and right on the Saturday we would be there: the Wonder Vintage Market, in the Bastille Design Center. And here's a great thing about traveling with a group - and not just having someone watch your stuff when you go the ladies in the airport. That is great, to be sure. But it means that with the inclusion of many ideas and personalities, you will be getting out and experiencing different parts of Paris. I never would have thought to do such a thing as catch a vintage market but for the fine eye for design that certain in our group have in abundance. So this event, when I spotted it and vetted it to the group, made it onto Shelly's spreadsheet schedule.
This "market" of vintge vendors from across Paris seemed a particularly perfect way to round out the day's multifariousness. It would follow the Robert Doisneau exhibit at l'Hotel de Ville on les Halles pre-destruction, a slow detour through the Marche des Fleurs, then Sainte Chapelle and its 12th century wall paintings. After all that, a trek over to the 11eme for a vintage market in a building praised for how it reclaimed its superlative design features seemed just about right to balance everything out. This building is the Bastille Design Center.
My pictures do nothing to show the mix of materials in this airy architecturally interesting space and what they did to highlight the details of the space and the materials. Only the web site does it all justice.
That we even made it inside to enjoy this experience is a marvel. We were beat by then. We had not eaten. Bad things can happen when you are wandering around Paris hungry and dehydrated. To stave that off, we ate at a random venue there in the 11eme, Boulevard Richard Lenoir, just so we would not faint. But then: A line. Yes, a line outside the Bastille Design Center, which you cannot even see as being anywhere there because it is through a courtyard. There was this line to get in to a place you had to pay to enter, for something we were not entirely sure we had the stamina to enjoy much less endure. But if HiP had it picked as To Do in April in Paris...perhaps it was worth standing in line. And it was.
On entering there were hostesses dressed in head to toe vintage 50s attire: pillbox hats, pointy shoes, the works. But then you enter and, honestly, at first it was underwhelming. Then you hear the soundtrack. You talk to the vendors. There are Pan Am carry-on bags. There are chairs that Mollie inquires on how to get them shipped to Austin. There also is food. And coffee.
And there are many, many things that just cannot logistically be carried back easily on the plane. Alas.
But then there were some things that could be easily carried back on the plane...
like some sweet French vintage sunglasses.
And maybe a couple of bakelite bracelets, that I have absolutely no remorse over purchasing.
And after a final time of chatting with Shelly, the last one standing I think, listening to the soundtrack and Shazaming all I could, we noted how awesome this all was and how glad we were that we soldiered on and stood in line, again....But even we had to admit. It really was time to call it a day.
Mollie picked the route home. She had astutely noted we could take Line 10 almost all the way home to our preferred Metro stop: Maubert Mutualite, right near chez nous. The route took us through the Gare d'Austerlitz and its blue ironwork, where the metro goes straight into the station.
And then we were home. We were tired. Even I was tired. We were hungry. We emailed. We posted on FB. I drafted 2 lengthy status updates about this day that just disappeared. We snacked massively: cheese, prosciutto, maybe some salted caramel...
And one would think that would suffice for a great Saturday in Paris.
But no. There would be more.
Shelly and I left at 8:40 p.m. to meet for dinner my French friends Romain and Anne, at the resto just across the river over in the 4eme. I knew Romain et Anne because they were my across-the-street neighbors in Austin for a time, a time before Shelly and her family moved to the 'hood, but she was keen to go anyway, and the rest of our group had different agendas for the evening. I have now visited with Romain and Anne far more in Paris than I ever had in Austin, when they lived just across the street. Totally my fault for this. Yet at least we are making up for lost time in my getting to know and then hang out in Paris with some of the nicest, coolest people ever. And so in organizing a night out for us, Romain and Anne said they were inviting some friends of theirs, Rob and Adam, and that I might like the place we were going. Romain sent me the link. Seriously? My Saturday in Paris will end here, dining with friends, in the Marais, at this place?
Little did Shelly and I know, as we walked the short walk over the Seine to the rue Francois Miron, all the while I was venting over losing my FB posts, that we would not darken the door of our abode again until....like 4 a.m. or so.
2. The Gainsbourg Thing.
Pamelo Popo and the spanky spanky cocktail. Part II of II -- to follow....