Monthly Archives: August 2012

Antique-shopping: An exercise in nostalgia…

Antique-shopping: An exercise in nostalgia…

Once upon a time, in my *other life,* [the French one,] I loved to go antique hunting. 

During field trips to les marchés aux Puces (flea markets) in St. Ouen, Vanves, or Montreuil, or to local brocantes and vide-greniers (garage sale,) I spent hours browsing, rummaging through dusty boxes, scanning shelves for the unique object – reasonably priced – that I would take home that day. I did not have a big budget, nor did I have much room in my cramped Parisian digs with limited storage. No Louis XVI furniture, rare statue,  or expensive Asian rug ever made it home with me, but no matter, it was the thrill of the hunt I enjoyed. 

For Paris offers an endless variety of options for amateurs of antiques and miscellaneous vintage goods. From the high-end vendors at le Louvre des Antiquaires or le Carré Rive Gauche, on the Left Bank’s quai Voltaire, to less intimidating neighborhood brocantes and flea markets, anyone can – with a trained eye and enough patience – unearth treasures, valuable or not. 

Once in the United States, I have kept indulging in my old guilty pleasure: chiner (antique shopping.) I have been rewarded by a few trouvailles (finds,) even though most objects I have brought home would likely be discounted as couillandres (*) by my [very Southern] grandmother. 

There is a special place in my area I visit often. Welcome to historical Snohomish, WA. I have written about this charming local town in the past. Last Saturday, les Boys and I headed back and hit antique stores. 

The three chineurs (one of whom could not help shooting away as she made her way along First street,) had a wonderful time. It was *almost* like being back at les Puces, (the flea markets) in Paris, except you could tell you were in the United States. First, there were these guys: Harley Davidson riders LOVE Snohomish as much as I do. I had never noticed it before, but they can really accessorize: Everything is coordinated, from their cool rides, to their cool clothes with matching head gear, and their tattoos. 

Yes, Snohomish loves beautiful machines, and if you blink, you will wonder if you have just experienced a blast from the past. 

See what I mean?

Once you manage to pull yourself away from the great show happening in the street, antique shops/malls/dealers are waiting, often located inside refurbished historical buildings, old barns, and moldy basements. The selection can be overwhelming.

As I was browsing, I spotted the American versions of the French vintage goods I had once admired in Paris… For each Fantômette comic book, Bécassine doll, Pernod-Ricard adorned tableware, I saw nostalgic mementos of Americana.

It is a well-known fact the French love studying the past; savoring it; cherishing it. American society is said to always look towards the future. It is not that apparent in Snohomish, WA, and I dig that. In Snohomish, children can browse antique stores and, under their parents’ tutelage, learn about American heroes. Pourquoi pas

Buffalo Bill

“Frankly, French Girl, I don’t give a damn!”

I love discovering old objects, looking for clues, and wondering where they came from and who owned them once…

Fripes (vintage clothing)

I love being surprised as I turn a crowded corner, by mysterious finds… Qu’est-ce-que c’est, ce truc? (What on Earth…?!) immediately followed by: Quelle horreur

Too scary, even on Halloween night!

Pressure cooker? Artisanal bomb? Canning device?

Cool centerpiece for the average geek’s dining room table

“Tell me,  ma chère,  do you know the way to Versailles?”
It does not hurt that Snohomish, WA. offers a plethora of attractive dining options. A sign of the times: Many eateries specialize in organic, locally grown ingredients. A favorite is la boulangerie. It feels so good to sit down and rest for a while (window tables are the best!) before moving on to the next section of shops…

But if vintage-style food is what you crave, Snohomish has that too…

Apparently, antique shopping makes one very thirsty!

When, enfin, it is time to go home, you will leave feeling good, and comforted by the sightings of so many old friends…

A bientôt.
A heartfelt “Merci” to all the friendly shop keepers and antique dealers of Snohomish, WA.
All photos by French Girl in Seattle
Please do not use without permission.

(*) couillandres: Junk. Worthless objects with sentimental value.
Use this word with caution, or suffer the consequences!

39 Responses to Antique-shopping: An exercise in nostalgia…

  1. Veronique, you have me dreaming about my times in Paris at all those wonderful markets. I dare say it’s one of my favorite pass times! And I’ve been to Snohomish too. Years ago when my husband would have business trips to Seattle, I’d tag along. While he was working, I’d explore the area for antique shops. 😉
    Thanks for taking me along tonight……..Sarah

    • Hello Sarah. How cool is that? You live in Texas and you have visited cute Snohomish, WA? The town has changed a bit since we moved here. Old-fashioned antique shops have had to share top billing with new, fancier, shabby-chic boutiques, but I love them all.

  2. Bon, moi j’ai vu plein de trucs qui feraient bien mon bonheur sur tes photos!
    Est-ce que les prix sont élévés ou pas? Il y a moyen de faire de bonnes affaires selon toi? et as-tu trouvé quelques trésors à ramener?..Une ballade bien agreable en tous cas!La voiture de ta première photo est… bien tentante!!
    Bonne semaine!
    “couillandre”?Dans la Nièvre, on disait “abeurtas”(orthographe non garantie..Ü)

    • Apres avoir visite quelques boutiques de souvenirs a Nice avec toi, je suis certaine que tu trouverais pas mal de choses interessantes dans les magasins de Snohomish, Marie. 🙂 Les prix sont assez eleves, surtout sur les beaux meubles et “vraies” antiquites, mais je crois qu’il est toujours possible de marchander. Si tu viens dans le coin, je sais ce que nous ferons ensemble 🙂

  3. Blog hopping early this morning and found your delightful read. Loved shopping with you as I have a love for the old too. Love the photo of that cat! Would I love to have him for Halloween!!!! Following now and look forward to reading more. Have a wonderful day. ~ Lynn @thevintagnest

    • Welcome Lynn. I knew that cat would find a few takers. I find his face a tad upsetting, don’t you, but I guess that is the point on Halloween night 🙂 Thank you for following my blog. I will visit yours this morning. Come back soon!

  4. Oh, you found my old Peanuts lunch box! I bet the thermos lid is still screwed down super-tight by my mom. That $3 hot dog and drink sounds like a good deal to me.

    Hee hee, you taught me a bad word–your grandmother would be so proud.

  5. we (my brothers and sister) grew up with an extreme appreciation/love for things of yester year, right down to our 67 mustang that we all learned to drive in and still own,well my younger brother does-how that came to pass is still a mystery- living in a city like philadelphia,old stuff is all around -even in the neighborhoods that sprung up away from the city center- i still frequent 2nd hand stores thrift shops and antique stores-flea markets are a rare stop for me – it really is just a timing thing-i love old things and this post as USUAL was a wonderful share of your resources for vintage- that truly looks like some superior vintage shopping-your pics are BEAUTIFUL!have a nice week -until we talk again…….

    • Welcome back, g, my dear friend from Philadelphia. You do live in a beautiful city. Even though I have only visited once, I remember loving the old part of town and all the history there (but that is true of several cities on the East Coast.) I miss the East Coast, in fact. Different vibes, different lifestyle, here on the West Coast. Mmmm… Maybe a trip is in order in 2013. I will start working on that soon. PS: Junior would love to see that 67 Mustang!

    • Bonjour Jeanne. No, you are right, it is not quite les Puces de Vanves, but that is all right. To each country its own vintage goods, culture and history. I do love that little town. It has what so many “towns” lack in American suburbia in my humble opinion, a soul and a real personality. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  6. Veronique, I was thinking of you yesterday when a friend of mine and I made a trip to Pacific Galleries in SODO. Have you been? You can find treasure there, but there’s equal amounts of kitsch and creepy. Which I guess is part of the fun! But I’ll stick to my $12 blue and white porcelain bowl and leave the doll heads (totally creepy!) behind. XO

  7. HA, reminded me of the “Grand Brocante” that Mary drug me to in the 20eme once. We got all the way there and it was street after street of some real junk. I told Mary that French junk looked exactly like American junk. Our favorite item was a bowl of used lipsticks! Yikes.

    Loved your photos especially the portrait of the man on the cell phone. Beautiful light!

  8. Ah Veronique, you are a girl after my own heart..j’adore fossicking around antique markets and vintage shops, I found a wonderful vintage dress last weekend, so nice! but I have to say I have never come across anything quite so bizarre as the 1950’s Electronic shock therapy machine, what the!! and in pink as well haha! Loved the B&W’s, it really is such a fab medium for street shots as you say. Wonderful post and I’m already looking forward to your next adventures.

  9. I enjoyed your tour of antiques in Snohomish – I would like to go there too. My grandfather (paternal) was an antique dealer (real antiques) and my father used to love to go to the auctions aux Ventes aux enchères Drouot in Paris – he brought back some beautiful pieces. In Atlanta there is a monthly huge antique and flea market where I have found some great buys- I always look for vintage postcards. I used to buy bone china tea cups but now I have so many that I should sell them instead of buying more. It’s fun to look though.

    • Merci de ta visite, Vagabonde. Love those vintage postcards, or old photos, too. Easier to store than bulkier items, right? I have never been to les encheres Drouot but I am certain none of the items pictured here would have made it into the venerable Parisian auction house 🙂

  10. Harley Davidson folks are the best.
    This July when in Paris I made it to Port de Vanves because at the local Antique market in Toronto I’ve met very interesting vendors from Montreal who frequent this marche and bring some hunting trophies. Obviously they know better as I didn’t find anything remotely as interesting. Alas..

    • Hello Natalie! Your Toronto vendors know their antiques indeed: Professional dealers visit les Puces Porte de Vanves more often than the other Parisian markets. They arrive early in the morning before tourists and the general public show up– or so I have heard. By the time I usually got there (it’s a bit out of the way as you know,) the selection was often “hit and miss.” 🙂

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A stroll at Pike Place Market

A stroll at Pike Place Market

 This article was originally published in 2012. It has been updated.    Seattle can be absolutely magnificent in the summer, beautiful summer skies, greens and blues everywhere I look. Locals are relaxed, enjoying summer parties, barbecues, or trips to the beach.   One of the best places to experience the Emerald City is the Pike Place…

47 Responses to A stroll at Pike Place Market

  1. ça va, le sol ne tangue pas trop sous tes pieds?ça me faisait toujours ça qq heures apres avoir debarqué..
    Jolie galerie de portraits, le genre de photos que je n’ose jamais prendre mais pourtant que j’adore voir! Magnifiées par le noir et blanc.(J’adore le vendeur d’huile d’olive, mais d’où vient l’huile?!)
    Je te souhaite une bonne reprise! Bises !

    • Hello Marie. Tout va bien. Le “roulis” s’est un peu calme… C’est bon d’etre de nouveau sur le plancher des vaches. Ce magasin d’huile d’olive est sympa. Les produits viennent des USA (Californie) et du reste du monde. L’huile se deguste comme un vin, ce qui me fait toujours un peu sourire.

  2. Oh boy, this made me very homesick! There’s nothing like Seattle on a beautiful summer day. I used to work a block from the market and went there frequently. Thanks for bringing back happy memories.

  3. Fantastic! This could be published as a book, Véronique. Like the black and white effect! Takes me back to lovely memories of visits to Seattle.

  4. once again thanks for taking us along!and now i know why starbuck’s always available brew is called pike place-another fine post for the books. enjoy your week in your land home-la rentree is right around the corner-

    • Bonjour g, my friend. How is summer treating you on the East Coast? I must confess it is good to be home. I feel I have moved a bit too much this summer. Junior is camping this week and I have the [quiet] home all to myself. Bliss.

    • Thank you for stopping by… and with great recommendations to boot. I have heard of the pink door but have never been. Just checked out their website and I must say I am really intrigued by that charming cabaret… Will make sure to go soon! Thanks for the tip.

  5. You have such a great eye Veronique..and love how you (naturally) bring out the French side. Today, marking Julia Child’s 100th B-Day we can thank her and First Lady Jackie Kennedy for that. They came into public view at the same time and really reintroduced a strong French foodie vibe to a wider audience. We’re lucky to have these Frenchy pockets in America….I always make a beeline to them wherever they are.

    I’m very fond of your camera too!

    Glad you all had a fabulous, safe sail and now can rest a little from vacay before school starts 😉 !

    • Bonjour Suzanne. Wonderful to hear from you, as always. Your post on Julia Child was lovely, and well deserved by that “grande dame” of French cooking. We are finally winding down at home. This has been a[another] busy summer!

    • Hello Peter. It was a sunny day… and that makes people happy here, in Seattle, and everywhere else too I suspect. This was my very first street photography attempt but I predict there will be many more. Glad you had such a fantastic time in Italy with the family.

  6. Thank you for taking me on a stroll through this wonderful local market. (I enjoy visiting markets – French ones of course are a real treat and I recently spent at least an hour in the market in Munich). I love the way you have captured the various stallholders and visitors and I especially like the black and white photos. Great post, Véronique.
    P.S. Thank you very much for your wonderful comments about my Hong Kong post. We certainly don’t need walk-in fountains in the UK – we just need to step outside the door. We need some of your warm , dry weather here!

  7. Summer in Seattle sounds super Veronique. It must be quite nice to be ‘aground’ again! Love your street shots and your choice of B&W, I’m a big fan of the Lumix as well, so light and easy to use oui! I can’t imagine anyone minding having their picture taken by you. Enjoy the rest of your summer, thankfully we’re almost at the end of winter..spring soon yay!!

    • Summer in Seattle – whenever it does arrive – is, indeed, a special time, Grace. The last few weeks have been beautiful and VERY hot, and that is unusual here. I can’t believe your winter is already winding down, but I guess it makes sense, since fall is fast approaching here. We live in a funny world, don’t we? 🙂

  8. Back on terra firma once again, my fellow City Girl. So nice to be home again. I remember a wonderful two weeks in Seattle during the summer quite a few years ago. I think we stayed at the Edgewater Inn right on the Sound. We could walk to Pike Place Market. I don’t think I’ve ever had such luscious raspberries. And I do remember all the great French eateries.

    We were there for the “Ring Cycle” at the Seattle Opera, which was very well done.

    Your fabulous pix made me think about a return visit.

  9. It has been about five years since I was at Pike Place and love the unique perspective of this area. I remember the Inn at the Market and its delightful French café chairs and views of the water.

    You have really taken a step out with your street portraits – Bravo!! Most people are willing to be photographed and you have surely found your talent here. Love them in black and white, bien sûr!


    • Merci Genie. Great to hear from you! Inn at the Market is my favorite hotel in Seattle (well, if I did ACTUALLY need to spend the night downtown, of course 🙂 Street photography is a lot of fun. I predict more of these shoots in the near future…

  10. I have enjoyed my visits to the Pike Place Market over the years including pausing a few minutes to watch the fish guys toss whole salmons. We have had some very nice meals in the places you mention. I am headed up on Tuesday for the day for meetings but won’t have time to get to the market as I am turning around and headed home the same evening.

    • Dear Michel. Too bad you will not have time to return to the Market next week, but I hope you can do it soon. Good thing about Pike Place Market, is that it has been around for over 100 years. I am pretty certain it will still be there for many more… Bon voyage to you!

  11. Loved the visit to the Pike Place markets. You aren’t so far away from home after all with some markets around. Your photos of the locals are just gorgeous Véronique 🙂 I loved meeting them. Isn’t that just what makes a market? A world even? The people. Bisous de Toulouse

    • Exactement, Ange. It’s the people, the people first, then the place 🙂 I always look at people, wherever I go. You never get bored looking at them… Take care and keep up with the French posts. You are doing great!

    • Hello Angela, and welcome. Darn. It would have been fun to meet you, especially if you were around for a couple of months! I just visited your blog and I can tell we would have a lot to talk about. Maybe later…

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22 Responses to Lessons I learned on a boat… (Cruise log #3)

  1. La solidarité des gens de mer n’est pas une légende, et elle est internationale!
    Les bancs sont magnifiques (enfin, leur localisation et leur vue) mais sur ce post , la photo qui me touche le plus, c’est la vitrine de la petite librairie!Je la trouve carrément magique!
    ça va être dur de reprendre la routine terrienne , non ?..Avec des paysages pareils, et de telles rencontres on voudrait que ce voyage n’en finisse pas , autant pour toi que pour nous :o)
    Bises !

    • Eh oui, Marie, mais il faut bien jeter l’ancre tôt ou tard… et toutes les meilleures choses ont une fin. Ne t’inquiète pas: Tu me connais. Il y aura d’autres aventures avant la fin de l’été. Et puis je dois encore trier toutes ces belles photos de Nice qui me donneront certainement matière pour de nouvelles histoires 🙂

  2. Eh bien, Véronique, I have thoroughly enjoyed following along on your wonderful boating adventure and these photos are stunning once again. So much to comment on….. you have obviously met some amazing people and the WildFLOUR (how clever!) bakery is the cutest bakery I have ever seen! I’m sure you will return home completely refreshed and with very fond memories.

  3. I’ve been sailing along with you from my arm chair. Looks like a fabulous vacation. We only did lake sailing with over night anchoring in coves. It’s been far too many years to think about taking up this sport again, but I do miss the quiet of cruising across the water. I think you are spot on about sailors and motor boat owners. 😉

    • Dearest Sarah. Lake sailing is fun too, especially if you get to anchor out and spend the night on the boat (my favorite part…) Love our “floating home,” and already looking forward to some fun weekends on board this fall. A bientôt.

  4. Dearest Véronique,

    Quite an interesting wrap up about your cruising experience. So glad you made the most out of the entire trip. Funny that you too evaluate things the way our friends and both of us did. Each day together in Italy we would ask at night: ‘What did we learn today?…’
    Hugs and love to you,

    • Bonjour Mariette. Well, traveling is about learning, isn’t it? 🙂 After 15 years + of boating, I still learned a lot during this three-week trip, thank goodness. I am glad I am not the only one who loves to recap at the end of the trip! Hope summer is not too hot in Atlanta.

  5. Grand adventure, thanks for taking us along. Here in Arizona where temperatures are 112 and more the water is so appealing. So many great photos and information. Best seat in the house would be hard to choose. Also loved the Goldie greeter.

  6. Your part of the world must be really fantastic for boating! However, from your nice pictures, I have a feeling that wind must have been missing? Maybe taken during calm morning and evening hours?

  7. Oh my what a pleasure to read the last two posts, you’ve really described it so beautifully in words and images for us Veronique. Sounds like you’ve had so much fun, read so many great books (the view from Darvill’s Bookstore is brilliant), but I think the best thing is all that wonderful quality time spent together as a family. I’m definitely going to be looking for a few of the mentioned books, The Paris Wife looks intriguing. Hope it doesn’t take to long to get your ‘land legs’ back. Catch you soon.

  8. Thanks, Bentley. Rosalie and I were (C C) sailors from 1977 thougrh 2004 and cruised extensively on vacations with our 1976 C C 24, and later our 1983 C C 29 MkII that we traded for the new Twilight Zone (2004 36 FBS). The main reason for this was that we simply didn’t want the hassle of a larger sailboat. It struck us that a large number of our fellow Duck Island YC member were switching from sail to steam. I had a few comments and was wondering about how others felt 1. The freedom to hang out in the harbor in the fog for an extra day and then catch up with the cruising itenerary is priceless to us (I have a 100GT Masters Lic. w/Sail endorsement so we can handle fog, just DON’T like it) and2. I’ve found that the cost of fuel simply doesn’t matter to me. I was blown away by how much engine oil I had to buy for an oil change, though We came to view the Twilight Zone as if she were a second home on Cape Cod. I think overall the annualized costs are about the same.All in all, it was a great move for us and we are using the boat more than we ever did before. Comments from others in this situation?Also: Rosalie is asking everyone she knows, has anyone ever gone back to sail? Cheers Steve!

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