my stylish french girlfriend – marie-laure

by Sharon Santoni


My girlfriend Marie-Laure Daveau Queysanne is an antique dealer at the Paris flea market at St Ouen.  She has her shop in the marché Paul Bert which is the part of St Ouen that I go to the most often because I love the feel of the place and the mix of vendors, and of course it’s on the doorstep of the restaurant Ma Cocotte !  (a detail that I rarely waste!)

The first time we met I noticed Marie Laure from afar.   The flea markets are predominantly masculine, I’d say that over 60 per cent of the vendors are men, which is pretty typical of the  antiquing world here.    Marie-Laure stands out in the crowd, with her beautiful white hair, easy smile and casual chic clothing.   She is ‘petite’, feminine and she walks with a confident and energetic stride.

marie laure daveau queysanne in her gallery

She has that French chic for mixing a black two-piece suit, with leopard print trainers, a crisp white shirt and beautiful designer jewellry which are part of her signature style.

detail from dressing table

She lives just on the outskirts in Paris, in a house that resembles her: cosy, feminine and filled with objects and pieces that each have a meaning or hold a memory.  The colours and textures are strong and generous.

siting room

 A charming garden that is filled with summer roses , and indoors the careful arrangement of objects, furniture and eclectic art.

ml daveau queysanne in garden with white table

Marie Laure has sold at the Paris flea market for many years.  It  is only open from Friday to Monday, but the remainder of the week is quickly filled.    It’s important that each stand changes its display regularly, and if a piece of furniture doesn’t sell straight away then it may be removed for a few weeks, and brought out again with a different mix of objects, to show it in a new light.

store facade at paris flea market

 A big part of my pleasure in going to St Ouen, is wandering around, enjoying the vignettes created to lure in prospective clients.  These dealers are all creative, beauty loving professionals, who deal in treasure every day without ever growing blasé and losing their eye.  And of course they all love to add flowers to their stand;  Each Friday, a florist sets up a temporary base, as she delivers flowers to the stands and vendors all over the market.

flowers at the paris flea market

A specialised dealer like Marie Laure knows her clientele well.   During the week she spends time sourcing new items to sell, and preparing her next display.

Most of the stands at the flea market are quite small, and at the weekend, as you walk down the narrow alleys, it’s not unusual to see vendors sitting together sharing a coffee or even playing cards.   Because selling antiques is  not just question of choosing your speciality, and sourcing the special pieces, it is also a waiting game.

vendors at paris flea market

The different parts of the flea market are referred to as ‘markets’ or ‘villages’.  And there is definitely a village feel about them.   It would honestly be impossible to visit the whole place in a day, or even a weekend, so most buyers have their favourite vendors and favourite markets and return regularly to see what’s new.

Each vendor has their speciality, be it art, kitchen ware, antique jewellry, or furniture.   Marie Laure has created her niche in art and furniture by designers  with whom she has a personal connection.

marie laure daveau queysanne at her gallery in paris

On her stand this week she has works of art by Fabrice Penaux, an artist who she met and immediately liked several years ago.   She regularly shows his work

She also has a personal connection to the sculptor and furniture designer Alexandre Noll.   She has known his family for years and at the moment she has several pieces of furniture from the Atelier Noll, as well as jewellry by Catherine Noll, the granddaughter.


If you would like to meet Marie Laure and check out her selection of antiques, then I invite you to to St Ouen and visit the Marché  Paul Bert, alley 2  , stand 127.    Like most of the vendors she does not have a website and prefers to talk to  her clients than to sell on-line, but you can see some of her pictures on her Instagram page HERE.




Sue Malizia September 18, 2016 - 7:40 pm

Stylish girlfriend, indeed! Happy Sunday…

Joyce Baez September 20, 2016 - 3:58 pm

Love her gray hair, so beautiful and chic

Dottie Monta September 18, 2016 - 7:58 pm

Her outfit is often my uniform!
And her name, Marie-Laure, is one of my favorites.
Definite stop next trip over, Sharon.
Will plan to see more of her treasures!
Thank you for your inspiration, as ever.

May September 18, 2016 - 8:10 pm

Wonderful read for Marie-Laure. Her style is charming, and worthy of follow.
I think you’ve capture well how much work being an antique dealer requires.
Fabrice Penaux! I’m looking at the artwork feeling its really fun to see. Right away I search online. Wow! He needs a Wikipeda page. Perhaps you can write one for him?

Mumbai September 18, 2016 - 8:15 pm

I love St.Ouen and could spend my entire Paris holiday there…it is
also a good idea to change pieces and display it different… perhaps they just catch your eyes on an other visit…

Pamela September 18, 2016 - 8:21 pm

Great poat and great photos of Marie-Laures collection.

Katherine Bennett September 18, 2016 - 8:24 pm

Oh my, her hair and antiques are beautiful. I didn’t get to St. Ouen in June, regretfully , but hope my next Parisian adventure get me there in 2017. Thank you much for your blog….I’m addicted! Katherine

Bebe September 18, 2016 - 8:53 pm

Love her look. A handsome woman. I wore versions of her uniform to my office for years – but with 3” heels (often red or red/black) instead of the leopard trainers.

I will rethink my silver gray hair and just leave it down instead of feeling a need to restrain it in a high or low chignon (or pony tail on casual days). Great look.

Taste of France September 18, 2016 - 9:26 pm

You can believe that someone who curates her own look so perfectly would also have impeccable taste in other areas, such as art and decor. She is fabulous and fascinating.

Our French Oasis September 18, 2016 - 9:31 pm

She is the epitome of that classic chic look that is so difficult to describe, she just oozes confidence and a casual sophistication, but I would imagine she needs this to survive in the mail dominated world in which she works. A lovely glimpse into her lifestyle and an area of Paris that I don’t know at all well x

Cheri Hansen September 18, 2016 - 9:33 pm

Love it…Perfect for today.

Our French Oasis September 18, 2016 - 9:33 pm

oooops sorry, male dominated world not mail!!!

Arleen September 18, 2016 - 10:23 pm

Stunning is the only word that describes her as well as her shoppe!

DianeD September 18, 2016 - 11:05 pm

She is everything French chic brings to mind. I will be returning to Parisee next summer. I will be sure to visit her booth. Wonderful article.

Lorraine Wafer September 18, 2016 - 11:29 pm

Thank you Sharon, Wonderful woman, will be returning to Paris next May and this time will go to St Ouen. Might need a bigger suitcase to fly home to Australia. Following Marie on Instagram.
Cheers Lorraine

Colleen Taylor September 18, 2016 - 11:31 pm

She is the ultimate in French sophistication. I love her hair, such a chic and classy lady. Wonderful post.

Loreen September 19, 2016 - 1:18 am

Lovely! So classy! Everything that I imagine a French woman to be.
Thank you for sharing!

david terry September 19, 2016 - 2:00 am

Well, that was interesting…particularly the business about switching pieces out and letting them “rest” if they’ve been seen to often without being sold. Trust me…I know that feeling full-well in my own career (insofar as I continue to deal with galleries, I find myself telling them, when a piece hasn’t sold in a year, “It’s done its tour-of-duty”….time to let it rest for a while in a closet in my house. It can come out again two or three years from now and be ‘new’ again’.”

Welcome to the business of selling art and antiques (or, for that matter, pure-bred dogs).

There’s a very interesting (if maddenly unedited/repetitive) book given to me by an antiques-dealer pal of mine about year ago……..”Objects of Desire” (written by Thatcher Freund). It’s about three pieces of “Americana” furniture that eventually sold for extraordinarily high prices……but that took a lot of wheeling and dealing over the years, to say the least.

All in all, the antiques business seems as self-consciously cultivated (a polite way of phrasing the matter) as the Westminster Dog Show. and, yes, I know….the entire POINT of the business is to act as though the happiest of accidents had just occured, while the client is somehow persuaded to pay the highest price. No one ever said you can make a living at either business without being smart on on-your-feet.

It’s all very droll….if you happen (as I do) to be observing from a distance and not writing any checks for the stuff-on-sale.

Amusedly as ever,

David Terry

Steven Yancey September 19, 2016 - 6:46 pm

David – your comments on related reading materials are appreciated. I typically will check abe ( after reading the post to see what may be available. I purchased several last week – Sissinghurst and Mrs. Keppel – and have just ordered a hardcover copy (gently used as described) of Objects of Desire for less than $4, free shipping.

Many thanks.


david terry September 19, 2016 - 8:55 pm

Oh….I love that description “gently used” (Amazon employs it, also). I always wonder what range of relationships they imagine I have with my books (and there at least a thousand, literally, in this old house).

It’s not as though they’re ex-wives or former girlfriends……”Scarcely used”, “carefully used”, “lovingly used”, or even “savagely used”.

I always assume that “gently used” means that the books is plain-out-used and, therefore, is too far gone to be slipped off as a Christmas gift to friend, in the hope that he/she won’t recognize that you decided to save some money and give them a used-book.

Still?…I order “gently used” all the time….but only for myself.

Warily yours as ever,

David Terry

Vicky from Athens September 20, 2016 - 8:37 pm

David, you are too funny! You always make me smile!
I see “gently used” as slightly worn around the edges but still presentable.

Eliazabeth September 19, 2016 - 2:15 am

I love the vignettes about your French girlfriends and French life en général and always look forward to your next installment. I too will add Marie Laure’s stall to my must -visit -when -next -in -Paris list.

Leslie Anne Lord September 19, 2016 - 3:28 am

She has lovely skin and her style is fabulous!
I would love to visit that market in Paris…
for now I will be on a mission to find a crisp white shirt!

Judy Lambert September 19, 2016 - 5:01 am

I too will be shopping for that shirt! Love the classic look and think I just may be able to carry it off as well. Love her style.
Thank you for sharing.

Angelica September 19, 2016 - 5:52 am

Tres distinguee.

LindaH September 19, 2016 - 5:01 pm

I need to set up a file where I put all this information from wonderful bloggers like you on what to see in Paris. Marie’s stall would be a definite Do Not Miss on my list. Thank you so much for the beautiful post.

Vicky from Athens September 19, 2016 - 9:00 pm

What an beautiful woman!! So casual yet glamorous at the same time. She just has “an air” about her that not all of us can achieve! I think it’s something one is born with.

stacey snacks September 20, 2016 - 2:28 am

I am feeling “gently used” lately……

Your stylish friend is GORGEOUS. I love her home as well. Collections of things she loves, not “done”.

Only French women can look like this, believe me.

Stunning and elegant.


MARLA September 20, 2016 - 6:12 pm

Another inspiring post from you, Sharon. Merci! Marie Laure is stunning in that perfect French way. Chic confident lovely. Would love to visit her shop.
As always thank you.

This & That: September 23, 2016 - The Simply Luxurious Life® September 23, 2016 - 10:01 am

[…] ~Sharon Santoni has introduced us to another Stylish French Girlfriend and she is lovely. […]


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