Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ile de la Cite, Paris

It's been a little more than a year since I was in Paris. Today I found a bit of vintage Paris in the Sleepy Poet 'antique 'mall' in Charlotte, and I was transported. I'll get to that, but first...

I saw Paris as a 21 year old backpacker, and on this last trip I saw the city with older eyes, and with credit cards in my pocket, rather than rationed traveler's checks! I was able to wander around neighborhoods without a schedule of monuments to see. I paid a bit more attention to the small details that give a city its character. I particularly loved revisiting Ile de la Cite...considered the heart of Paris. Pont Neuf (New Bridge) which spans the Seine was rebuilt in 1607 (new!) to link the island to the Left and Right Banks.

Paris architecture is, in a word, stately. Ancient limestone buildings have gorgeous carvings and gargoyles, sculptural copper downspouts, huge wooden or metal doors and old brass hardware. The city looks well ordered...despite the drama that plays out in any urban center. The shops are colorful and so, well, French!

I especially enjoyed strolling around the little streets, away from the touristy mob at Notre Dame. I love to see the locals going about their day-to-day.

This shop was closed (out of business or moving?), and there was a handpainted note taped to the door.

Le chien lunatique!

In the butcher shop window below, beyond the chicken with their feet up in the air...the metal plaques caught my eye. I thought, "I'd love to have those." The plaques...not the chickens.

My friends Cindy and David visited Paris last year, and Cindy took a very similar the same butcher shop!

Scroll forward 14 months...and here's where I was transported back to Paris. I was poking around the Sleepy Poet vendor stalls today and what did I see?

A pile of 10 plaques!

 They are agricultural prize plaques circa 1980's-2005. The plaques measure 7" or 10" across. I love the lettering and the colors complement my kitchen perfectly! They were originally priced at $25 each, marked down to $15 each. The stall was unmanned, so I called the vendor on his cell and asked the best price for *ahem* "whatever the metal things are with french lettering"...and he said $10 for each. I knew exactly what they were, and I felt that $10 was more than fair.

I'm going to hang 5 each down the outside panel of two cabinets...on either side of the kitchen. I love finding little bits and things that have a story behind them. Old silver, sporting trophies and medals, watch fobs, skeleton keys, etc... Fun conversation pieces!

I Googled "French agricultural plaques" this afternoon and was thrilled to see that they are selling for $25-$85 each plus shipping via, eBay and they are featured in a few blogs!

Whooot--I got a great deal!! Paris came full circle today.

Life is good~~La vie est belle, Level and Plumb.

Mais oui!!

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