March 19 2011
Lucia van der Post
If you have a soft spot for all those old-fashioned Gallic delights – enamelled blue-and-white house numbers, drying-up cloths made of that traditional beige linen with the red stripes and cute little monogrammed initials, for those enamelled kitchen containers nicely labelled “sel”,”sucre”, “savon” and so on – there’s a perfect little shop for you in Paris’s Village Saint-Paul.
Its name – Au Petit Bonheur La Chance – perfectly reflects its ethos. It’s a glorious muddle of a place with vintage children’s toys and books as well as textiles of every kind piled high. It’s the bourgeois Parisian equivalent of a soukh – you just have to rummage.
What you find will vary from day to day but we came away with a sweet little pile of vintage drying-up cloths all at €10 a piece, each one infinitely nicer than those that try to be too clever and are embellished with jokes or avant-garde pretensions. Blue-and-white house numbers are around €35 a time, and since there’s nothing of great material value, merely things from an almost vanished, simpler domestic era, most things seem to cost well under €50.