Thursday, May 8, 2008

Antiquites Brocante, Bastille, Paris

I attended the Antiquites Brocante (accents are not permitted by this blog site) at the Bastille area in Paris this afternoon. For 8 EUROS, one could visit nearly 200 stalls, each under a tent (the weather was mercifully kind). It was so utterly crowded that one often had to wait before advancing a few more steps. Taking pictures with my larger 5D seemed out of the question, so I used the small G9 and practiced stealth photography: shooting on automatic from about waist high, and hoping the desired subject was in the picture. I took many pictures without bothering anyone (I think).

The fair was located on both sides of the canal which goes from the river up to and under the Bastille. Some customers were obvious pros, quietly pulling out their special magnifying glasses from leather pouches so they could inspect markings on the silver. Others were equally obviously playing dumb, hoping to get a better price, while some just enjoyed bantering and bargaining to see what would happen. A few people pretended to be looking for something, but even I sensed they were looking for something else, something far more valuable.

Today is VE Day in France, the second holiday of the week, so quite a few shops elsewhere were making a long weekend of it, schools were dismissed, and the tourist areas were crowded, including this fair. I am particularly fond of the hand-pointed pottery and dishes made by Gimper, but judging by the prices, I am not alone in fancying their wares from generations past. These pictures show some things by Gimper, a sign advertising the fair (well-placed so that it can be seen by thousands of drivers daily), a lady brocading while waiting for customers, people intensely examining wares, and stall operators just killing time until someone sufficiently worth (i.e., interested) comes along.