By Jovana Rizzo
Paris is a city rich in culture, food and fashion. Bring some of that style home with items like vintage chaise lounges, elaborate chandeliers and patterned dress screens.
If you’re going to restyle your bedroom in French décor, there’s no better way to understand the design than by absorbing the city. Travel to Paris, dip into the upscale flea markets during the day, and retire with delicious French food in a luxury hotel at night.
Mention the word “antique” to anyone in Paris and you will immediately be sent to Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, the largest antique flea market in the world (parispuces.com). Located at Porte de Clignancourt, you can spend hours wandering the stalls, exploring all types of furniture and accessories, and you’ll be sure to find that exact 1920s-style curvy end table you imagined looking perfect next to your bed. While browsing the market is sure to be great shopping, you might also be overwhelmed by the amount of choices and stands, not to mention the thousands of people who will also be antique-hunting, and possibly even eyeing your end table.
Luckily, if you can narrow down exactly what you are looking for, you can explore Les Puces in a more organized fashion to stay sane. The market is broken down into several smaller markets, each with its own specialty.
If you’re looking for a decorative lighting fixture to brighten up the style of a room, head to the Rosiers Market, where 10 stalls contain different variations on glasswork, bronze and other artistically designed fixtures from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
To cover your home’s bare walls, browse the Antica and Biron markets for lush tapestries, paintings or posters of French films. For more accessories to add character to your tables and bookshelves, head to the Dauphine and Paul Bert markets for Parisian and Renaissance ornaments and rare books.
For antiques, the Cambo and Serpette markets have high quality furniture going back as far as the 18th century. Between the two markets, 150 dealers would love to show you their latest finds of original, and often expensive, French furniture. If you’re looking for something more striking than a rose-embellished chair or mirrored table, head to L’Entrepot Market for larger home installations such as book cases, staircases, intricate woodwork and even castle gates.
The flea market roots can be found in the Vernaison Market. If after touring all the others, you feel like you’ve just been shopping at upscale boutiques rather than a flea market, the Vernaison will give you an old school feel, which is appropriate because this market was Les Puces’ very first in 1920. The traditional space is a series of winding alleys with random, unorganized knick-knacks for you to sift through, and bargain hunters are welcome, since it’s not unlikely to find a treasure.
Just reading about the many markets can be tiring; after an exhausting day of searching and shopping for unique French fashions, the city’s beautiful and luxurious hotels offer haute relaxation.
To relieve your post-shopping tension, relax in the Hotel Ritz’s (ritzparis.com) indoor pool surrounded by columns, make an appointment for a Swedish massage, or relax in your room (which start at 710 euros, around $970, per night) and order the gourmet room service at any time of the day.
Hotel Meurice (hotelmeurice.com) is another of the city’s ultra-luxe accomodations. Built in 1835 – just like many of the antiques you saw in Les Puces – it offers old Parisian charm with modern amenities, including a fitness center, spa and a glass-enclosed restaurant overlooking a garden. Single rooms start at 520 euros, about $710.
Smaller boutique hotels are becoming all the rage in New York, and it’s no different in Paris. Two popular locations are the artsy Relais Christine, an old mansion with rooms starting at 360 euros (around $490, relais-christine.com) and L’Hotel, originally part of Queen Margot’s palace and where Oscar Wilde met his end. Rooms here start at 280 euros (around $380, l-hotel.com) a night.
If your schedule doesn’t allow for a Parisian getaway just yet, visit The Paris Apartment, an East Village boutique that carries all types of furniture and accessories from France. The owner, Claudia Strasser, even hosts a series of shopping tours in Paris, New York and other countries throughout the year. So even if you are just traveling downtown instead of overseas, you will be sure to fulfill your Paris fashion needs.