Passing the Portobello shop window on a side street near La Coupole, at the edge of the 6th, red and ivory linen tea towels caught my eye. Tea towels are one of my favorite Paris souvenirs and gifts: they make fabulous large napkins.
There was also a red lacquered breadbox, a silver teapot with filligree, a bamboo coat rack, china the color of saffron, and two sets of drinking glasses, one clear, the other blue.
More glasses occupied an adjacent window, which announced “Brocante”, or flea market. Inside, the shop has hundreds of items, and a chic, upscale thrift shop feel.
I found more linens, crisp and colorful; teacups and espresso cups begging to be held; etched wine glasses I was sure I couldn’t live without. Limoges china, garden tools, trays and pillows beckoned. I wasn’t looking for jewelry, hats, or paintings, but there were plenty of those as well.
There were also larger items—tables, lamps, chests—and stories behind each item I inquired about.
Portobello has become my new flea market—more expensive than Vanves, but closer to the city center, and the quality is better—and certainly less expensive and crowded than St Ouen.