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Le Mini Tour: Brocantes, Bistros and Baguettes

Oh how I love the food markets in Paris on the weekends…and my favorite flea market at Porte de Vanves!

Because you asked for it, I’m launching a mini version of my Brocantes, Bistros and Baguettes tours in Paris, which will replace the more intense three and four-day tours.

The idea is to share my passion for food and flea markets with you via a Saturday or Sunday walking tour to President Wilson market (or Marché d’Aligre on Sundays), then the Porte de Vanves flea, followed by a visit to the boulangerie that won the best baguette of Paris this year, and an easy lunch at a typical neighborhood bistro. That’s the Cliff Notes version, and it’s about a six-hour tour, give or take.

We’ll nibble on just-made crêpes as we wander through the food stands…and meander at our own pace before hopping on the metro for the short ride to Pte de Vanves. On my tour last month, we decided to stop for a coffee refuel, then spent the next hour or two looking at tables of old sketches, fabric and linens, and leather making tools (I do all of the negotiating — don’t worry!).

These are some photos I took of other treasures I either spotted or picked up along the way. Above, an old linen French postal sack I plan on turning into a pillow and a pair of café au lait bowls.

Six pretty vintage dessert spoons for 35 euros – which I’m sure I could bargain down a little.

I like cows and bulls and I think this is some sort of wall plaque. Cute, non?

Rusty keys, to who knows what…

Old photographs, celebrating birthdays and holidays, just like anywhere else in the world.

I love the texture of these pieces, and I’m sorry I didn’t buy them (not that I’d have a place for them if I did).

More cows. I wish I’d bought them both. See? I told you.

Monogrammed linens. I like to mix them up on a table.

Not sure if this is a box for the winnings (!) or a box for putting coins and bills in to play the loto, but it’s cute, isn’t it?

A sea of café au lait bowl and and a few jam jars. I always linger too long at tables like these.

And at President Wilson, this sweet guy from the Auvergne with some of the tastiest sausages ever — I sampled them all, but loved the ones with chèvre the best. I think. Maybe the ones with walnuts, too.

Something you never see at the markets in the States — real dirt. This alone makes me happy and want to buy them.

That’s right, just 1 euro for a bunch of fresh herbs at Joel Thiebault. This is why I gave up on herb gardening in Paris. It’s just easier — and cheaper — to buy them at the market.

Sound like fun? A bientôt, everyone!