I’m not French. Just a serious wanna be. With that being said and for the record, “soldes” (means sale en Française) happens to be one of my favorite words, shocking ‘eh?
Keeping all this in mind, 2013 Bastille Day Festivities at The French Market give me a perfect opportunity to exercise my inner Francophile! With so many fun fetes packed into the weekend, I’ve decided to take it all in, both days – just like we New Orleanians are so apt to do. My plan goes something like this . . .
First order of business … pack “un chien”, head to Dutch Alley to enter the French Dog contest at 9AM (most shops open at 10AM so this is PERFECT!) Mister Big Stuff (or as he is known in France, Monsieur Grande) my tiny Chihuahua is no poodle but he loves shopping with me at The French Market. Perched from his carrier and dressed in his tiny beret he will be channeling his inner French Bulldog on Saturday.
If your doggie’s costume box is a bit lacking in the French themed costume department, then a quick jog to Nola Couture to pick up a collar featuring a fleur de lis print might just put you in the running for “best dressed!
Nola Couture, 542 St. Peter on Jackson Square
I expect plenty of poodles on parade along with other traditional French breeds and costumes representing the “joie de vive of the day.” It is tres, tres cute dog seeing all the pups and people getting into the spirit. The grand finale is a parade to Washington Artillery Park! Should be quite a site . . .
Of course shopping will be on my mind. So after exercising my inner kid in Dutch Alley, I’ll continue on to The Little Toy Shop to check out the wall-to-wall selection of neat toys for young and old. What have already caught my eye are the hundreds (literally) of Papo figures lining the windows and shelves. A division of this company based in France has modernized the collectible toy figurine focusing on the fantasy world of medieval knights and dragons. Very apropos, since I’m gearing up to pay homage to Joan of Arc on Sunday. The myriad of knights on horses looking very much like Joan herself have caught my fancy. Papo also creates other genres of collectibles like farm animals, pirates and dinosaurs. And Bill and Nickie Gingrow have ensured a full compliment of these neat imagination-stirring toys. A French poodle or a French bulldog might be just the perfect commemoration for a great morning with my pup!
The Little Toy Shop, 900 Decatur at the Colonnade Shops
OMG, literally! This petite store features religious artifacts both vintage and contemporary. And loads of original art. The ambiance is completely warm. And the staff is incredible as well as knowledgeable. On a recent visit I explained that I was on the hunt for French themed items and before I knew it I was holding a 100-year-old vintage french holy water font. Unbelievable piece. Also on hand, a gorgeous acrylic painting of the landscape surrounding the Joan of Arc statue by local artist Jonathan Passage. Prices? Again, OMG. Incredible.
OMG, 912 Decatur Street at the Colonnade Shops
Popping in and out of the stores, I almost popped my shopping cork when I stumbled in Head To Toe and discovered the huge selection of men’s cuff links. What caught my eye were these adorable champagne bottle links, my beverage of choice. Salut! I also found a neat and affordable copper Eiffel Tower shaped cookie cutter. I guess I’ll fire up the oven, open the Cordon Bleu cookbook and start baking some petite gateau!
Head To Toe, 816 Decatur Street at The Colonnade Shops
Really? A breadboard inscribed with the directive, “lassez les bon temps rouler.” Definitely going home with me. Not only did I have to have this nola-centric planche du pain, I actually needed it. I’m a bread and cheese fanatic and a nola fanatic. How did they know?
What’s New, 824 Decatur Street at The Colonnade Shops
An unexpected detour into Pop City yielded a hand-made feather headband by local artist Anne and Laura Guiccione founders of The Little Shop of Fantasy. Anne and Laura’s creations capture a vintage charm. With several different styles to choose, I pick a rather tall, flouncy number that transformed me instantly into a can-can girl from the Moulin Rouge. Chic! These feather creations seem to be extremely on trend. You can count on the girls at Pop City to stay current on styles. Merci mon amies!
Pop City, 940 Decatur Street at The Colonnade Shops
I definitely will spread out my shopping over the weekend. Simply because there is so much to see and do at The French Market. I will be out Sunday morning for the wreath laying for Joan of Arc right where S. Peters and Decatur split. I plan on fueling up with plenty of café au lait and beignets so I can cheer at the Waiter’s Race on Sunday. And, I will decamp to the Flea Market to enjoy Norbert Slama’s music which completely channels you back to post-war Paris where he spent time honing his talents on the accordian. You’ll find me there with my shopping bags in tow, eyes closed with my mind and soul transported to a quaint street in a great French city – oh, wait. I’m already there!
Bon Achets and Merci from Moi!
P.S. Please visit The French Market’s official website for a complete listing of the 2013 Bastille Day activities and start times.
P.P.S.S. My French is non-existant, but my enthusiasm is off the chart. Please, I already know about my grammar error! De Rien!