I’m in the middle of doing inventory and its a painful but necessary process. But I got distracted by the news that L’Eclaireur was opening up shop in the Puces de St. Ouen in Paris. Now, as an inveterate antique and flea goer, I love the Puces de St. Ouen. If I could go every weekend, I would. There is always so much to see and admire and when you chat to the vendors, you’ll find that most of them have been dealing, buying and selling antiques most of their lives. You can sense their hard won expertise. There’s such an ambiance here, something that’s hard to define.
So the news that L’Eclaireur is coming to set up shop was a big surprise to me. L’Eclaireur (literally translates to one who lights the way), is one of Paris’ high end design concept store and they’re celebrating their 30th birthday this year. Whenever I visit one of their stores, I feel somewhat like I’ve stepped into an art or design installation. Fashion embedded within design within art is possibly as good a description as I can give. But how does it fit within the Puces? According to Vogue news, it will open right in the heart of the Puces, at the Marche Paul Bert and it’ll eventually form part of Vintage Village, set up by Habitat. Say what? Habitat in an antique market? (Habitat is a big home furnishing stores similar to Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel)
Now don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with either L’Eclaireur or Habitat. Both are perfectly fine stores on their own. I’m just wondering how they fit within the spirit of the puces. The puces started outside the walls of medieval Paris. It was the place where peddlers were supposed to stay and sell their little trinkets and goods. It has long since evolved into a big antique market with proper shops and all. Its true that in recent years prices have gone way up and its harder to find a really good deal but the spirit has always been about antiques–from Louis XV furniture, to delicate lace dresses from the 19th century to useless little trinkets that you nonetheless have to bring home with you. I’m just wondering how L’Eclaireur fits within such a place and what will it bring to the Puces? Will their presence drive up prices even more? I suppose only time will tell.
Here are a few photos of some of my favorite things that I’ve seen at the Puces (all photos are mine,except the top photo of L’Eclaireur which is courtesy of Vogue.fr)
A collection of antique dolls, end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th
A gorgeous painted set of drawers with marble top, from the 19th century if I’m not mistaken
A basket of mother of pearl buttons and embroidered flowers…
Pretty linens and embroidered handkerchiefs from the beginning of the 20th century
and my favorite, a small Venetian gold work cabinet. I love this piece and I still regret not having bought it!