Shop Small Saturday – Featuring Et Voilà!Design jewelry from Paris

Shop Small Saturday- Et Voila Designs

Santa has made his way down 34th Street in New York City officially kicking off the Christmas holiday celebrations. The Saturday after Thanksgiving is known as Shop Small Saturday – a day dedicated to supporting small businesses in the hustle and bustle of finding that perfect gift.

I am so excited to have jewelry designer Sara from Et Voilà!Design as the featured guess blogger for Shop Small Saturday here on The Paris Itinerary…

In the days that followed after Kimberly contacted me to write a guest blog post, I wrote a light and carefree post in my mind, about my travels, experiences and how Et Voilà!Design came about. Abruptly, everything changed. What I wanted to share seems unimportant and vacant by contrast. But is it really? I love traveling, and I consider it one of the most important life altering experiences in life, if anything, I hope this post will inspire you to keep traveling, especially if Paris is on your list of destinations.

I keep that last thought as I continue writing, as traveling (thanks to my parents) has been an important element in my life since childhood. My early childhood was in great part shaped by travel and art, mostly art. Living in Florence Italy during my school age years made it easy, I had access to the most beautiful works of art ever created, and a teacher passionate enough to share it. My love of creating stuck with me. I carried it along with me all the way to the United States and eventually on to Paris, each step along the way collecting new inspirations for what would become my current creative outlet, Et Voilà!Design.

Four years ago I moved to Paris, France, with frequent travels between the United States and France I was always looking for little things to bring back to my friends in the US, souvenirs and such. After a couple years, I started making the souvenirs (how many Eiffel towers and J’aime Paris t-shirts could I really give?). My first pieces were quite simple: Eiffel tower charm, a pretty little feather, a small vintage key. With a little encouragement from a friend I allowed myself to think of this as a business, and that is how Et Voilà!Design came to be.

Two elements of my personality shaped the evolution of Et Voilà!Design, my impulsiveness and my love for collecting “stuff” (old and eccentric stuff), as well as my geographical location.  Paris is a never ending source for inspiration (not only visual), a city for everyone! I found myself taking mental pictures of colors, patterns and movement, seeking ways to capture the subtile.

Living in the northern suburbs of Paris there is no shortage of flea markets and brocante’s.
Flea markets of ParisI quickly found myself with a plethora of interesting old treasures.  Vintage medallions, buttons, rosaries, religious relics, broken earrings, bits and baubles that caught my attention, digging through the bottom of musty, rusty old boxes I came out a victor with my spoils. Most of my treasured pieces sat on display in my atelier, patiently waiting for me to shape them into something new.
Finds from Paris Flea market
Local finds from Paris flea markets

The story becomes more visual on my Instagram feed, where I post pictures of my treasure hunts, the odd little pieces I impulsively collect and what ultimately becomes of them when I create a new piece.

Creating custom pieces is what I love best.

Shop Small Saturday - Custom piece from Et Voila Designs
Shop Small Saturday - Custom jewelry from Et Voila Designs
I love working with people who are inspired by a little something they see in my social media feed, and ask me to create a unique piece based on that. That is the direction I am taking with EtVoilà!Design, along with special collections such as the Joan of Arc collection.
Shop Small Saturday - Joan of Arc collection
Shop Small Saturday - Joan of Arc collection #2

as well as the recently released éthéré collection, exclusive one of a kind bracelets made from French treasures.

Through the month of November I am including one of my most popular pair of earrings, a gift for all purchases of $50/€50.

Shop Small Saturday - Earrings from Et Voila Designs I invite you to sign up for my newsletter by clicking on this link —where you will find exclusive specials, recipes and information about what I am working on.

In light of recent events that have taken place in my beloved Paris, I have made a conscious decision not to comment or express my opinion, a form of respect but also, perhaps, for fear of being misunderstood and rendering the subject as trivial. I do, however, feel strongly about this, and want to encourage people with concerns and fears about travel, to continue on their life journey, wherever it might take them, because, quite simply, “to travel is to live” ~Hans Christian Andersen

I just love how Sara transforms her flea market finds into unique jewelry pieces.

Bises (kisses),

Kimberly

This post is part of the weekly #MondayEscapes hosted by My Travel Monkey and Packing My Suitcase.

Packing my Suitcase

It is also part of the monthly #AllAboutFrance hosted by Phoebe of Lou Messugo.

Lou Messugo

Annie Brahler of Euro Trash shares tips on visiting Paris flea markets

Paris-flea-market

Photo credit: Annie Brahler

Whether braving the enormous Marche aux Puces St. Ouen flea market or browsing a local brocante, visiting a Paris flea market is becoming a must-do for those visiting Paris. But, knowing exactly what to do can be intimidating so I’m sharing an interview with Annie Brahler of the interior design house Euro Trash to give you a professional’s insider tips.

Annie has appeared in House Beautiful and Country Living magazines as well as styled events in Paris. She searches Europe for the best undiscovered treasures that she then imports back to the United States to give new life. Annie believes that “everyone should celebrate their own personal style.”

Annie Brahler of Euro Trash

Annie Brahler of Euro Trash

How did you get started as an importer and interior stylist?

I started my career quite by accident like a lot of people with a passion for something.  After I  purchased a Beaux Arts style historic home,  the first thing I did was remove all the artificial bits that had been used to decorate the massive structure over the years. The time I spent doing that demolition work on my own was hard work, but it  taught me to get to know a space intimately before deciding on how to proceed with its refurbishment or design.  By the time I had spent a full year stripping the home back to it’s original surfaces, I knew I had to do the architecture  justice and be just as honest and unapologetic in my design as the home I felt so much a part of now.  I have always been drawn to authenticity in all things. I don’t mean that to say the things I am drawn to are expensive, just real.

Annie's home Photo credit: House Beautiful/Bjorn Wallander

Annie’s home
Photo credit: House Beautiful/Bjorn Wallander

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Louis Vuitton at Marche aux Puces St. Ouen in Paris

Louis-Vuitton-steamer-trunk

“Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!” One of my favorite quotes from the movie Auntie Mame (affiliate link*) and a perfect sentiment about travel. Traveling, whether exploring in your own city or flying off to Paris, is a banquet of experiences.

Paris never disappoints in providing lifetime memories. I’ve attended a Mass at Notre Dame, stood nearly alone in the Cours Carree at the Louvre and enjoyed a quiet (yes, quiet!) stroll down the Champs Elysee with my mom. Adding to this list was a moment when I stood quietly by observing a woman interact with a seller at Marche aux Puces St. Ouen over a vintage Louis Vuitton steamer trunk. The kind every Louis Vuitton fan dreams of.

If you have read my About Moi page, you probably have surmised that I love fashion having likely been the only child in my grade school who not only knew who Elsa Klensch was but who religiously watched “Style with Elsa Klensch” every Saturday. As a result, I developed a deep appreciation for the classic French designers Chanel and Louis Vuitton.

Every fashion enthusiast is always on the lookout for a vintage Louis Vuitton or Chanel find at a flea market and especially Marche aux Puces St Ouen being that it is the largest flea market in Paris. Sadly, I think the days of finding a vintage designer item for a steal of a price are gone but you can still enjoy viewing some wonderful pieces.

As I perused around the markets, I found a stall full of Louis Vuitton items and later I noticed in my picture, Kelly bags. I was so distracted by the beautiful LV steamer trunks, I didn’t even see the bags.

Louis-Vuitton-at-Marche-aux-Puces-St-Ouen

While I was there, a woman arrived interested in viewing one of the LV trunks. She was there with two young girls who I assume were her daughters. The vendor asked if she wanted to see the inside and as he man opened the trunk, gasps of awe came from the two young girls…and me. I think my heart stopped for a moment. And, then stopped again when the vendor stated the price. Way, way, way out of my price range. I felt so honored to see the inside the fabled trunk.

Louis-Vuitton-steamer-trunk-interior

As the woman and the vendor debated the price, I headed off in search of finding some Chanel jewelry.

Have you ever found a designer find at a flea market?

Bises (kisses),

Kimberly

 

This post is part of the weekly #MondayEscapes hosted by My Travel Monkey and Packing My Suitcase.

Packing my Suitcase

*Disclaimer: The Paris Itinerary is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

What are affiliate links? If you decide to purchase anything through the affiliate links on this post, I will receive a small percentage of money from the company at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance if you do decide to make a purchase.

 

Marche aux Puces St. Ouen – travel tip for getting to Paris’ largest flea market

Marche-aux-Puces-St-Ouen-flea-market

Marche aux Puces Saint Ouen is the largest and most famous flea market in Paris. Located just outside the 18th arrondissement, Marche aux Puces St. Ouen is comprised of 14 markets serpentined together. Interior designers have flocked there for years and Woody Allen romanticized it in the movie Midnight in Paris (affiliate link). Today, it lands on the short list of “must see” for visitors to Paris. The official Marche aux Puces St.Ouen website lists it as the 4th largest landmark in France.

Almost everyone will tell you the way to get there is to take metro line 4 to the Porte de Clignancourt metro stop; however, Porte de Clignancourt is not the best area and to get to the flea market itself, you have to pass through what I call “the gauntlet.” Basically, an area of swap meets and aggressive street peddlers. Personally, I do not like it. (You’ll be surprised once you cross under the overpass and enter the Marche how the atmosphere changes.)

Marche aux Puces St. Ouen overpass

I find a much more pleasant way to get there is to take the bus. There are a number of bus lines that go there but it is likely, if you are coming from Paris center, it will be line 85 or 95. Be sure to check out the interactive bus map to see which bus line is best for you. It will definitely take longer due to city traffic but you’ll be able to see the streets of Paris, how the arrondissements change and most importantly, you’ll avoid “the gauntlet.”

The bus system in Paris runs like the metro system with the end stop denoting the direction. This will be displayed on the top front of the bus. Buses also use the T+ ticket like the metro. Just like metro stops, there will be map at the bus stop displaying the route as well as one on the bus. You’ll have to pay attention on the bus to when your stop comes up because it is not usually announced.

If taking the metro turns out to be your best option due to time or location, then when you get off at the Porte de Clignancourt metro stop, look for the sign pointing you to the Marche aux Puces so you exit the correct direction.

Marche-aux-Puces-St-Ouen-metro-exit

The best instructions to find Marche aux Puces from the Porte de Clignancourt stop are definitely from Oh Happy Day. The map she provides is very helpful. I’d advise studying the directions and map before hand and making a few notes in a notepad before leaving.

This is not really the place to flash “I’m a tourist and I don’t know where I’m going” so I’d leave my print outs at the hotel and not get out my cell phone. This is not meant to discourage you from going, being the largest flea market in Paris, lots of people go every weekend, but I do want you to be safe and enjoy your visit.

Marche aux Puces St. Ouen is open Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Is Marche aux Puces St. Ouen on your Paris itinerary?

Bises (kisses),

Kimberly

This post is part of the weekly #MondayEscapes hosted by My Travel Monkey and Packing My Suitcase.

Packing my Suitcase

*Disclaimer: The Paris Itinerary is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

What are affiliate links? If you decide to purchase anything through the affiliate links on this post, I will receive a small percentage of money from the company at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance if you do decide to make a purchase.