Yesterday you got Emily and Elliot and today you’re getting a big ole dose of Les and Jess (aka my dad and me). He is also known as DIY Dad for those who have been here for a while 🙂 For years my dad has talked about living in Paris (his and my late mom’s favorite city). Then finally last year he decided to go for it. He applied for his temporary visa, booked an Airbnb in Montmartre, and on January 10th, 2023 he was off. I had my worries (because I’m a perpetual worrier, especially when it comes to him) but more than anything I was wildly proud of him. Anytime I told a friend what he was doing their response would be something along the lines of, “Your dad is the coolest.” My response would always be, “he really is.” Annoyingly, he just continues to be my hero and role model:) How many of us, year after year, say that we want to do something, move somewhere, or just make a change, and here is my dad at 73 saying, “f$#! it, I’m moving to Paris.” A privilege obviously, but scary nonetheless. His girlfriend was only going to be able to stay about a month so he had almost a whole month on his own, exploring this city he had loved for years. Something that little punk from Chicago would have never dreamed of.
And because we’re best buds, I clearly wasn’t going to miss the chance to hang out with my dad in Paris…with a free place to stay, ha. FYI it was his idea first (or he at least said it out loud first)! I also don’t take for granted what a special and rare gift it is to get to have this kind of adventure with him. It’s easy to forget how fleeting life is. I kept reminding myself of that as I made him sit in cafes for longer than he wanted, strolled through streets dodging dog poop, and treasure hunting through seemingly endless flea markets and decor shops in very cold temperatures.
Ok, enough sentimental nonsense because this is a design blog and I don’t know if you’ve heard but Paris is kinda known for its design. To say I was on an endorphin high 75% of the time would likely be an understatement.
NOTE: Remember this was my first real time in Paris (outside of a 24hr layover in 2019 where my best friend and I mostly just got day drunk on the lawn of the Eiffel Tower. 10/10 would recommend). So for those who have been there or live there, I’m sure that fact will be glaringly obvious:) NOOB ALERT.
So Many Different Kinds Of Bistro Chairs
So before we get into the vintage shopping (and what I brought back home with me!) let’s discuss how stupidly cute every. single. cafe’s. bistro. chairs. are. How are they all different? Is there a secret french bistro chair factory? Can we go?
And these were just the only ones I took awkward pictures of! I was basically a bistro chair paparazzi. I really love those light blue ones with that extra loop of rattan on the backrest.
Also those green ones? Or that crazy long bench?? Or that sweet plaid??? I would like some resources, thank you.
Random Design Details
I mean it’s no surprise that the doors are beautiful with equally beautiful hardware. But look at that incredible bistro table at a random cafe. I would LOVE to have that in my kitchen. I even thought the public trash cans were pretty and thoughtfully designed. As my dad kept saying, “the French know how to do cute.”
This brings me to the shopping portion of this post.
Now, I can’t remember if my dad planned to take me to Village Suisse or if we stumbled upon it, but regardless it was a fun place to look around. We were there on a Thursday and I’d say only 20% of the shops (little storefronts) were open. We did find out later that last week was a holiday break for schools so maybe that had something to do with it. But honestly, we discovered business hours in Paris are um, loose or uh, unpredictable so your guess is as good as mine. I’m sure the weekends are better:)
I did fall for that little green pillow but since the shop wasn’t open and it didn’t really work with my living room design, I took it as a sign to pass.
However, this vintage Murano glass striped lamp was another story. I think I said this in the post but in my office reveal, that truly stunning ceramic table lamp was only borrowed for the shoot because I was under a time crunch since it was sponsored. Ceramicah doesn’t normally lend out their lamps for shoots but since they knew me they were kind enough to make an exception. Also, have you seen all the awards and press they’re getting!!? I’m so happy for them and it’s so deserved!
However, trying to replace such a special lamp (since that one was too far out of my budget) has felt near impossible. My main shopping goal of this trip was to find a vintage table lamp for my desk and this was a big contender…but it was our first day shopping and we hadn’t gone to Saint Ouen yet…
Here’s just another cute shop and a cool design moment in the village.
Versailles Details I Want To Steal
Naturally, we had to go to Versailles since it would have been my first time and my dad hadn’t been inside the palace in 25 years. I wouldn’t say February is the best time to check out the gardens but clearly, I was more interested in the interiors and getting some inspiration.
And man, do I have a newfound appreciation for parquet flooring! I think I’ve just only seen bad versions of college apartments in San Francisco but these floors have made me a believer. I want them in my future home.
Also, all the decorative ceiling trim and mouldings were truly to die for (they were all over Paris but very special here, duh). I want to figure out how to add it to my bedroom ceiling. If you have any resources please let me know in the comments!
I even loved the chic simplicity of the guard rails and stair railings. Clearly, these are not original to the palace (ha) but were done in a way that they quietly add to the overall romantic aesthetic.
I had to take a picture of these awesome topiaries for Caitlin:)
This was not at Versailles but at the restaurant at the Louvre. While a bit overpriced and a total tourist trap, we really loved getting to take in the view after we were done looking at all the art. Plus we were averaging 8 miles of walking a day so a nearby place to eat and rest was extremely appreciated. Also, this was probably the nicest photo we took together on the entire trip.
Oooooo baby, many of you told me I had to go here for vintage shopping/inspiration and you were right. This area is a design lover’s dream and is filled with the most incredible vintage. Before I left for my trip an extremely kind reader and designer who lives in Paris, Allison Crawford, messaged me on Instagram and offered to take me around. I was so grateful and PUMPED. Sadly, the one week I was there was the one week she was going to be out of town but she since she’s so sweet she sent me a list of things to see in the area. Go follow her because her account is beautiful and she is so talented!
If you do everything here, expect to spend 2-3 hours browsing the flea.
If you are taking a cab, give them the address of L’Atelier 55 in St. Ouen. Put in the exact address. If you are taking the metro, take the 13 to Garibaldi and walk about 10-15 minutes to L’Atelier 55. You can also take the metro to St. Ouen via another route, however, I don’t recommend that route.
Start at L’Atelier 55 on Rue de Rosier, and peek in Maison Dumas (same owners as 55 but different vibe). For very high-end inspiration, walk across the street to Glustin. It’s inspiration gold and very expensive. Great place to look.
After hitting these shops on Rue de Rosier, go next door to Vernison to wander around for an hour or so. This is a typical flea market experience with less expensive options than other parts of the flea. Remember to negotiate.
After Vernison, go to Serpette to walk around inside. This is the best inspiration and it’s la creme de l creme of Parisian vintage and antiques. There’s everything from De Sede sofas to vintage Chanel jewelry to LV trunks. It’s my happy place!
After you walk around Serpette, go outside to Paul Bert to walk all the outdoor stalls. This will take you 30 mins to an hour.
After that, go to Mob Hotel or Paul Bart cafe for drinks and a meal if hungry.
This was the first place we stopped at 80 Rue de Rosier. I can’t figure out the name and don’t want to get it wrong so that’s the address. It was more of an architectural salvage spot with INCREDIBLE pieces. I didn’t notice until about 10 mins in that photos weren’t allowed in most of the areas so this is all I got.
Look at that rattan pendant and all those stunning mirrors along the wall! I also loved that little sconce and almost asked how much that small mirror was but quickly realized I didn’t actually have a spot in my house for it. It reminded me of Em’s vintage mirror:)
Paul Bert is now my happy place too and I may never be the same. It’s just stall after stall of the most beautiful things. My dad was sooooo patient with my painfully slow pace. I was just trying to take it all in!
Sorry for the terrible and not super inspiring pics. I got nervous about taking pics after that first spot and didn’t want to make anyone mad. I truly hate getting into trouble and sometimes make up rules for myself that aren’t always even real. SMH. I promise this place is actual magic. But understandably not inexpensive. I’m manifesting having at least $10k to spend next time I go so I can really indulge. How I will get that money I do not know. Miracles happen right??
I did, however, make one teeny tiny purchase and that was a studio drawing by Lebanese artist, Joseph Terdjian for 2 euros. Since I didn’t have anything put a large tote to carry it in, it got really crinkled. To ease my sadness and shame, I’m telling myself it gives it character…
The Flea Part
This was the typical feal market area Allison was talking about. Again, do not hire me as your photographer. We were pretty beat by this point in the day but it was fun to walk around for a bit. Had I had more energy I would have done some real digging.
Le BHV / Marais
Ok, so those who live in Paris might laugh at my love for this store but I don’t care. My god, I wish it existed here. It has everything. You can get there directly from the 1 or 11 metro line off of the Hôtel-de-Ville stop where you will be welcomed by a home improvement section. Please see below.
Now, it’s not that we can’t get things like this in the US, but here it’s all in one place, where you can see and touch with your own eyes and fingers!
Look at how pretty this hardware is! This isn’t a discount store by any means but the selection is so good for new goods. These photos are the absolute tip of the iceberg.
Then you go up a few floors and head to the decor section where you are greeted with all the lights you’ve drooled over on the internet but maybe haven’t seen in person, or at least not altogether in one place like this. I was very tempted by these lamps above for my desk but had my heart set on something vintage.
Even my dad was overwhelmed with design joy! JK he was ready for me to be done. Sorry, dad. I almost bought a little triangle pillow for I think 30 euros but stopped myself because I knew I was in an adrenaline overload. I kept repeating to myself, “just because you like it and it’s from Paris doesn’t mean you need it.” I actually said that to myself most everywhere we went.
Y’all this department store even had a good vintage section. DEAD.
I also considered that black and white table lamp for 320 euros but also decided it wasn’t right. Did I text Julie and Caitlin every time I saw a lamp? Basically. They helped me off the adrenaline design ledge a few times.
And here are some other photos of pretty things because this store had endless pretty things.
You wanna know what else this store had?? A gallery exhibit of incredible Ukranian artists – L’art de la resilience. Here is an article about it. I loved everything but those ceramic pieces were definitely a favorite.
If you are in Paris the exhibit is on for a couple more days! You have until March 5th.
We ended up having to go back later because a security tag was left on a shirt my dad bought and unfortunately for him, where we entered was a ferm LIVING display and I needed to check it out.
I have been a ferm LIVING fan for years (my navy velvet pouf and one of my candelabras are from them) and to get to see all of this product actually in person was awesome. I LOVED that striped chair and cabinet. Perfectly chunky:)
What I Bought
On our first trip there, I actually hadn’t bought anything up to this point (sorry this post is not in total chronological order) and I was very drawn to this brass soap dispenser. Look, I really love it but was it worth the 98 euros?? Well, I guess it doesn’t matter now. Ha. The quality is great and it is really pretty. Not a huge regret.
These candlesticks were from our trip back and as you can see they are ferm LIVING. I loved the colors and considering I own WAY TOO MANY candlestick holders and candelabras, I thought why not?! For 15 euros it was a good call since they are harder to find online.
The Flea Market We Had Been Looking For
To no one’s surprise, I wasn’t done searching for flea markets. I figured since it was Sunday there had to be a good one. So I decided to check TikTok (don’t judge me) for help and boy did it lead me to a gold mine. Now, the account I saw said to get there when it starts at 7… I say don’t get there at 7. We got there at 8ish and only some vendors were setting up. Sure you might stop a gem, but 9/ 9:30 is plenty early, at least in the winter. Maybe in the summer when it’s not freezing, vendors are willing to open up earlier. So to not catch frostbite, my dad and I went to a cafe nearby for a cafe au lait and a croissant for about an hour. He was such a champ because we were not properly dressed and he hung in there as I once again slowly scoured each booth. I was in heaven. I should be clear that he also loves this stuff A LOT. However, he likes to blow through and I like to carefully take in everything.
This was the address I put in my phone and it was off the 13 metro, Porte de Vanves stop: 16-18 Av. Georges Lafenestre, 75014 Paris, France.
Great sconce, even greater mirror. Sadly didn’t need either.
Two awesome lights that I passed on.
My father plotting my death but too cold to focus on any follow-through.
A mirror I WISH I could have brought back with me and two cute candlesticks. Don’t worry I didn’t buy them. I know I have enough
Weird but awesome pendants I wanted and sconces that reminded me of Birdie’s room (that I may have accidentally texted Em about at 3 am her time. WHOOPS!)
Plates I would have bought in a second if I could have easily brought them back with me and a cabinet with cute feet.
Wanna see what I actually bought???
What I Bought
A sconce for my hallway for only 20 euros! They technically need shades so you can find me scrolling through Etsy for the foreseeable future. I did also buy the right lightbulbs that cost about another 20 euros.
I got both of these art pieces for 10 euros total. I think that black and white drawing is so pretty and while that wine bottle could easily read “bad generic art,” it’s a real painting on a sturdy board that I think will look really cute float framed in my kitchen.
Clearly, I had to come home with a design book and this square, neutral cutie caught my eye. I should have negotiated down but I paid 15 euros for it. No regrets:)
Now I’m still a little on the fence with this one and I’ll tell you why. First off, if you don’t know what it is it’s a foot warmer that I got for 20 euros (down from 30). My plan is to cut out the back and cover my nonfunctional switch and functioning thermostat with it. They are total eyesores. Functionally this is great because I can open the front when I want to use my thermostat which is not super often, and then keep it closed and pretend it’s not there when I’m not using it. I’m just not sure if the brass is right and think it might be stylistically not what I actually want. I’m not going to cut it until I’m sure and if I go a different direction my dad wants it. Win-win.
Oh, I am so excited about this little switch I got for 20 euros (down from 22:))! I have a big sconce on the main wall of my living room that you haven’t seen yet and it’s controlled by this not-as-pretty plain switch. So my dad and I are going to make a cool plate to cover the rectangle hole and then mount this switch on top of that. It’s going to look so much cooler and very special…I hope.
Here we are after braving the cold flea market, trying to feel our noses on the metro home. In total, I spent about 85 euros (plus 20 for blubs) which I’m very pleased about. What a high!
Other Lights I Looked At
Throughout the week we hit a few other lighting stores. This vintage shop, La Calinière, was cool but hard to really see what was in there because it was so packed with little to no pathways. These lights were at the front of the store which is how I got to them. The table lamp was 350 euros and I didn’t ask about the sconce because I knew I didn’t want it.
This shop, Yonoil, was in my dad’s neighborhood but we kept missing the opening hours. He was excited to show me because he and his girlfriend had bought some lights from there. Very cute but no dice for me.
So did I get a lamp for my desk??? I sure did:)
THE LAMP I BOUGHT
It’s a story as old as time. Girl sees her first vintage lamp in Paris, she’s worried she needs to look at all the other options, no other option lived up to the first one, she gets first lamp. So this gorgeous, Murano glass lamp is mine! Now it wasn’t cheap. My dad was the literal best and offered to buy it for me. It cost 650 euros. I don’t deserve him. It also was quite the scene of us packing it up because we couldn’t find a box that was a carry-on size so I needed to check it. I was worried my entire flight. But y’all it got here in one piece and I lovingly glance at it on my desk every few seconds. Caitlin wanted me to buy the lamp as soon as I sent it to her:)
Oh, and the shop owner Beatrice was so wonderful. Here is her Instagram if you are in Paris!
Then my dad actually spotted this 1930s tray as he was buying the lamp. I instantly fell in love. I paid for that though, obviously. It was 50 euros.
And finally, this was my dad’s cute apartment. Super cozy, full of vintage, and had a ton of character. Much like my father as proven below.
I didn’t read his PJ shirt till maybe our final night and burst out laughing. So while a VERY cringe shirt, the words aren’t wrong. He is in fact amazing and I don’t think I’ve fully processed what a fun and cool week we had yet. It was the best. If you ever get a chance to meet Les Bunge you are a lucky one and if you ever get the chance to go to Paris, uh, GO.
Oh, one more story that may have been the most unbelievable part of the trip! On our second or third day, we were getting off the metro to go somewhere and as we were walking down the street a gal stopped me. I thought she was trying to ask for directions which I was at first really apologetic about since I didn’t know Paris or any french for that matter. But then she asked if my name was Jess. She recognized me from Instagram and wanted to say hi. I was shocked! My dad was shocked! That has never happened to me before. Not only did a Parisian know who I was but she was also just the sweetest. So Marie (I’m sorry if I misunderstood your name!) it was an absolute pleasure meeting you and thank you for making me look cool in from of my dad:)
I hope this was a fun Friday read and that you might even be inspired to take a trip with your parent or a family member. Caitlin and Brenda are big fans too:) I know it’s not always easy to make time but life is short. Go on an adventure if you can and bonus points if it involves lots of flea markets. Au revoir, from Les and me.
Love you, mean it.
The post Jess (And Her Dad, Les) Take Paris! Get All The Vintage Recs, Design Goods, And See Her Haul appeared first on Emily Henderson.