If you come to Paris hoping to find something truly French to take home and use every day then you need to check out the store of my friend François at the Paris Flea Market.
Bachelier Antiquités is a reference here. François tells me that he learnt all about antiques from his mother, who let him help her out from the age of 12. Twenty years ago he established his store in Paris, where he specialises in anything to do with the kitchen and wine. On two floors, it is big and beautifully presented. I don’t know who does the dusting here, but I wouldn’t want that job!
I never go to the flea market without stopping off to say hello, and check out his newly arrived items. I buy here for myself and for clients and I dream of the day when I can find a home for one of his fantastic old stoves – just look at these!
You never know who you’ll bump into in this store, which is a favourite haunt of France’s most well known chefs. In particular in November when, every two years, François and his wife organise a terrine competition. Drawing entries from around the world, the creator of the most delicious terrine sees himself honoured by world class chefs and by the flea market public!
Walking into here is like walking into a candy store. There is copper, and wooden boards, baskets and corkscrews. Ornate butchers blocks, and shelf upon shelf of antique paté moulds and ceramic pitchers. A dedicated cook’s idea of paradise! François is a fount of knowledge. He can talk to you about why one region of France produces green water pitchers, while another will bottle cider in ceramic.
If you have a wine afficionado in the family, then this is the place to come for a special gift. Nothing is reproduction here, each item authentic and dated. And if the copper looks in such condition, it is because François has each piece lovingly restored, so it can be used as well as admired.
Bachelier Antiquités is to be found in the Marché Paul Bert, at St Ouen. And if you meet François, be sure to say hi from me – I guarantee it will make him smile!