Wednesday, April 16, 2014

10 Modern Accent Chairs You're Going to Love

For this installation of Furniture Fashion, I get to show off my love for chairs.  The article features 10 modern accent chairs and I can honestly say that I want every one of them.  My favorite was the one pictured below, but I also loved the peacock hanging chair, the Arper Leaf chair and the Amsterdam Bucket chair.  Check out the full article to see what I mean and tell us what your favorites are. Don't say I didn't warn you.


Roxy Chair



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Monday, April 14, 2014

Metz Wine and Gastronomy Exhibition

The last part of my trip to Metz, France took me to a Wine and Gatronomy Exhibition.  Flea market shopping and then my pick of French foods?  Yes, please.  It just so happened that the same day as the flea market, they were also having the food expo.  It was in the same building and entry is free.  This is a place where you can sample the finest French and worldly foods, such as beef, cheeses, beers, wines, macarons, quiches, and so on.  Everything was excellent and the people were very friendly.  Mostly everyone there spoke English.  Check out the foods below.

Metz Wine and Gastronomy Exhibition
Metz Wine and Gastronomy Exhibition
French Nougat

Even though I found a lot of cheap scores at the flea market, the food expo was crazy expensive.  You find yourself enjoying a sample of nougat, buying a slice, and then finding out it's 15 Euro! We did buy a quite a few items above.  Here's a list and prices:
Though the food expo was expensive the food was top quality so you get what you pay for.  I'm just glad I could sample such tasty foods. If you'd like to go to the Wine and Gastronomy Exhibition, it's usually held once a year and if you time it right, it's on a Flea Market day.  You can check out the website here

There are also two other parts to this trip.
What would you like to try?







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Friday, April 11, 2014

Metz Flea Market and Tips for a Successful Haul

Metz Flea Market

I explained in my previous post the the whole reason I went to Metz was to explore the Metz Flea Market which is a huge indoor flea market.  I heard things like Metz is an expensive flea market so you probably won't find many deals.  This simply isn't true and I'm about to tell you why.  The brunt of my antique shopping has been done in Germany and Belgium.  Compared to the US, the quality and price of antiques in Europe are usually way better.  I have no problem finding cheap scores on beautiful items at markets in Germany and Belgium.  I think most of the reason that French brocantes are more expensive (or appear to be more expensive) is because French antiques will always  be more sought after, in the world of serious collectors and home decorators alike.  French stuff sells. Period.

So I came to Metz thinking I would be shelling out more money, regardless if it wasn't Paris.  I noticed a few things at this French market.

1) You can haggle.  Just like at any other flea market.  Prices are a little higher than say Tongeren, Belgium, or Nurnberg, Germany, flea markets....but they are willing to come down significantly more on prices.  This is just my experience of one day in Metz, but I would see items that I was looking at and everytime I haggled the response was always "Oui."  Now, the price you are haggling shouldn't be significantly less. You aren't trying to insult the seller, you are trying to come together on a price that is fair.  While I had good luck haggling maybe, 5 Euro off of a 18 Euro item, my husband did not have as much luck asking almost 50% off of an expensive item.  Keep in mind, they are probably making a living off of this so while you want a deal, you don't want to insult them, and trust me, you will know when they are insulted when they just walk away mid convo.  By simply showing interest in an item,  a seller noticed and told me "best price" on one of his items was 50% off of the price tag.  In that instance, he is wanting to sell you the item quick, so take advantage of it if you want it and also, "best price" usually means best price so don't try to haggle in that case.

2) More quality antiques, less junk. When I travel to markets around Germany and Belgium there are a lot of treasures to be found.  But there is also a lot of junk you might have to sort through.  Some people love junk to do restoration projects.  Some people don't want to bother with the junk and are looking for quality antiques.  I think my style falls somewhere in the middle.  But at the Metz Flea I noticed more quality antiques and less junk and this was a refreshing change.  This is also why some of the prices might be a little higher.  My head was spinning with how many amazing things I was finding at this market.  I know in the past I said Tongeren was my Mecca of fleas but I was very impressed with this one.  Plus, since it was indoors, you can conceivable go anytime of year.  There is also a bar/restaurant so if your husband is less than thrilled about attending, you can drop him off there ;)

3) Communicate as best as you can. It is respectful to learn a bit of the language of the country you are visiting. I visit a lot of countries and there is no way I can be fluent in every language, but key words are helpful.  Though I don't know French, it's good to know the basics.  As I mentioned in my previous post, many people in Metz did not speak English, either because they didn't know how or because they just didn't want to and some of my readers have already pointed out that a lot of them don't want to or don't feel comfortable.  I didn't let that detract me from making deals.  Things that helped me communicate were, trying English first, trying German second (we are near the German border in Metz), trying Spanish (some words are similar to French and my Spanish actually did help a bit). And if all else fails, grab your cell phone and use the calculator to suggest prices or use your fingers.  I used every one of those ways to try to communicate.  Plus, one of the dealers even pulled out their phone for me to use.  Bottom line, they are going to be helpful if they want to make a sale.

Metz Expo
Metz Flea Market
Metz Flea
Metz Flea

There are two big rooms filled with French antiques at this market.  If you'd like to visit the Metz Flea (Les Puces de Metz) the flyer above shows you the next available dates.  They are on Saturdays. Entrance is free and parking in the parking lot in front is free. For more info you can check out this website.  The address is:

Metz Expo Evenements
Rue de la Grange aux Bois-BP 45059
57072 Metz Cedex 3-France

Now on to what I bought:

I didn't buy a ton of things, but I did buy almost everything I wanted.  The first item I purchased was this little rusted globe bank.  Anything with a globe is calling my name.  And the little titles are in French. 

French Globe Bank

The next item I bought was this French perfume bottle.  I'd been passing them up at a lot of other flea markets so I finally decided to purchase one. 

Blue French Perfume Bottle

This item I had been going back and forth on.  It was priced at 18 Euro for this Longwy dish.  I loved the gold crackled club design and the beautiful red background.  I decided I needed a new ring dish and asked if she'd take 13 Euro for it and she didn't even hesitate. 

Longwy French Red and Gold Dish

Though we finished the market and were about to head to the food expo, I still had the sense of unfinished business there.  I had long been wanting a French chair and there were many there,  but I was too afraid that the prices would be ridiculous.  I spotted a beautiful 50's French chair with presumable reupholstered dark blue material.  I just decided to see how much it was.  The dealer said 40 Euro.  I couldn't believe that price because I'd never seen a chair in such great condiction at such a low price.  I asked him if he'd take 30 Euro.  He didn't even hesitate and said yes, so I snatched this chair up for 30 Euro. 
Blue French Chair

 Like I said earlier, every price I offered was accepted so there are great deals to be found in Metz even if it appears to  be expensive at first. I would love to take another trip back to Metz at some point.  Absolutely. 

If you want to see what the town of Metz looks like you can check out my last post here.  Also stay tuned for my next post when I talk about the Food Expo.

So do you think you could use these tips at the Metz Flea?  Did you see anything you would buy?




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Travel Tuesday

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Metz, France

Metz, France

Last week for my belated birthday, B took me to Metz, France.  Why Metz, France?  Well, there are several reasons I wanted to go, but mostly because of their huge indoor flea market.  Metz is close to the border of Germany so there are a lot of German influences such as the Neuf Temple above.  I was told that many of the French countries bordering Germany like Metz, Strasbourg, and Colmar were similar.  Although I haven't been to Colmar yet, I've been to Strasbourg, France and Metz couldn't be more different.  It has this almost eerie feel to it as you can see in the pictures.  The buildings were very old and it made for such a dramatic affect. Especially the cemetery.  Oh you must go to the cemetery if you ever go to Metz.  It's very haunting and all of the tombstones are very elaborate.  There is an older part to the cemetery that is no longer maintained and you can't even read some of the headstones anymore.

The St. Etienne Cathedral (Metz Cathedral) is in the center of the town.  It's a good place to start if you want to explore the city.  We were in town on a Saturday and there were tons of things going on.  There was a huge farmers market around the cathedral.  You can also meet at the cathedral if you want to do any tours.  There was a little train trolley that did tours for 6 euro in various languages.

The opera house, Opera Theatre de Metz Metropole is the oldest operating opera house in France and it is also one of the oldest opera houses in Europe.  I was intrigued by the German built Neo-Romanesque, Neuf Temple.  It was built by the Germans in 1904. You should see it from the front and from behind on the bridge.

The Anc Temple de Garnison is quite a tall landmark but if you think it looks like something is missing, that's because there is.  The temple suffered a bad fire and the surrounding temple had to be demolished. 

The last landmark we saw was the Centre Pompidou Metz.  It's a modern and contemporary art museum built by a Japanese architect.  We didn't go inside but it was right next to our hotel we stayed in, the Hotel Ibis Centre Metz Gare, where we enjoyed a reasonable stay.

For lunch I was excited to get my fill of French food.  German food is great, but they don't have a lot of good cuts of beef and seafood. We had lunch at a restuarant near the Neuf Temple and it was delicious.  I will say, that not a whole lot of people speak English in Metz.  Either they can't or they won't.  I expected that since it was so close to the German border they would speak a bit of German so we also tried to communicate in German, but they only spoke French.  I liked Metz and it was visually different than any other place I've been to in Europe.  You can reasonable spend the whole day walking around downtown, shopping, and getting lost in the cobblestone streets.  We did.

Metz Cathedral
Metz Cathedral
Metz Cathedral
Metz Opera House
Opera Theatre de Metz Metropole
Neuf Temple
Neuf Temple
Neuf Temple
Nuef Temple
Neuf Temple
Neuf Temple
Anc Temple de Garnison
Anc Temple de Garnison
Metz Cemetery
Metz Cemetery
Metz Farmer's Market
Metz Farmer's Market
Centre Pompidou Metz
Centre Pompidou Metz

I rated Metz high in food, historical/museums, kid friendly, photo ops, safe for solo travel (IMO), shopping, and a unique destination.


I came to Metz to go to the Metz Flea Market so stay tuned for that later in the week.  Also, during the same day in the same building we were lucky enough to get to experience a Food Expo featuring fine cuisine from all over but mostly French.  I'll share that next week.

Would you visit Metz, France?


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Monday, April 7, 2014

Instagram

I finally have an Instagram.  Truth be told I've always had an Instagram but it was my personal account.  Now I have one for the blog and I invite you to follow as I opened the account yesterday and only have four lovely followers.  Recently I've shared pics from my trip to Bratislava and Metz, France, that I haven't shared on the blog yet.  I've had readers ask me in the past if I have an Instagram to follow and now I can say that I do.

If you want to see images from my travels that I haven't shared yet or won't share on the blog then follow along.  Often times I'll share sneak peaks of stuff I find on my flea market hunts and who knows, maybe you'll tell me that you absolutely need what I am passing up.  Anyways, though I don't have an Instagram follow button yet, you can follow here.  I'll probably follow you back since I need some pretty things to look at.  Thanks!


I'm doing some Spring cleaning today and later in the week I'll be sharing posts from my trip to Metz, France.  Have a wonderful day!




Thursday, April 3, 2014

Bratislava, Slovakia


I visited Bratislava for the first time last week and I'm giving you a list of things to do.  Mostly because when I decided that I would take a day trip to Bratislava, I had no idea what there was to do there.  Other than knowing that Bratislava was the capitol of Slovakia, I didn't know much else about it.  But, I did know that a day trip would be enough.  I remember doing a mini report on Czechoslovakia when I was little, but as of 1993 Slovakia had gained it's independence again.  There is a nice university in Slovakia and a huge castle.  I normally don't do walking tours on my travels, but this time I did.  There are free city walking tours every day in English right in front of the statue below (of a famous Slovak poet) in the main square @ 11am and 3pm.  I suggest you catch one because although Bratislava is a rather small city, especially for the capitol, the stuff you want to see might not be so easy to find on your own.  Also, it's all spread out.  So what is there to do in Bratislava?  Let's find out.

Bratislava Opera House
Fujara.  The national instrument of Slovakia.
Bratislava Castle way in the background
The Blue Church
UFO Tower
Old Town

What to Do in Bratislava?

1) See an opera at the Bratislava Opera House.

2) Walk around and find all of the quirky statues all over Bratislava.  The most famous one is Cumil, the man hanging out of the sewer.

3) Visit the Bratislava Castle.

4) See The Blue Church.  It's a really pretty shade of light blue, even inside!

5) See the views from the UFO Tower.

6) Do some shopping in the Old Town.

7) Take a free guided tour where you will see everything above plus get to hear some fun commentary on Bratislava.

8) Go on a pub crawl.

9) Try Slovakia's national dish; Gnocchi with sheeps cheese and bacon.  It's delicious but very filling!  Or try their garlic soup in a bread bowl.  I ate at Verne.

10) Take a 30 minute car ride to Vienna.

[Fun fact: The creepy movie Hostel was set in a fake town near Bratislava, but not actually filmed there]

Overall, I'm glad I went to see Bratislava.  I was super excited to see the blue church and try their national dish.  I only had a day in Bratislava, but that is really all you need.  I can't say that it was my favorite place to visit, but it had it's moments. Below I rated Bratislava high for kid friendly, historical sights/museums, nightlife, and safe for solo travel (IMO).  It seemed to me that because of the university, the nightlife would be pretty fun, but I didn't stay the night so I can't say for sure.




What would you want to do if you visited Bratislava?



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