From a Cartier jewelry exhibit to a white Singer Featherweight discovery in a Paris thrift shop...
that was yesterday!
My play-date with Christelle began at the Grand Palais for a jewelry exhibit of Cartier pieces. We were there bright and early at 9:45 a.m. for the museum's opening at 10 a.m. ...except I was waiting at the wrong place. It's not called the "GRAND" Palais for nothing! Thank goodness for cell phones. Once I got to the right place, we were third in line...third in line to buy tickets at the door. There were two other lines; a line for those who had bought tickets online for a reserved time and a line for groups. We didn't get to go right in at 10...a little bit more waiting...maybe 15 more minutes. Christelle has bought tickets online for exhibitions before and waited hours in line so you just never know what to expect. One thing I can say in admiration of Parisians is they appreciate art in all forms!
The exhibit was purposely set up in a dark space with the jewelry showcased in brilliant light. The first stop was a huge case with a revolving stand of tiaras.
The space was very crowded. There was a little bit of everything. Need a new tape measure and pincushion? Here's a set for you. These were tiny pieces.
I'm glad I didn't see this dress before I got married...I would have wanted this one for that special day. Lots of pearls...love pearls.
There were descriptions in English but the text was not lit up and it was sooo small. I gave up trying to read any of them...besides...I had my own personal tour guide, Christelle! (She had her glasses on so I relied on her to do the reading.)
Many spectacular pieces...
But the tiaras were the main attraction. So many beautiful ones...too bad a girl just doesn't have many occasions to wear them. We got to see Kate's tiara from her wedding day to Prince William.
We had a second exhibit to visit and this was a free one. No crowds here...we had the place to ourselves. It was an exhibit of silk fabrics designed in the Roaring Twenties by Prelle et Cie, a silk fabric manufacturer since 1752. If you have been to Versailles or the Biltmore estate in North Carolina, you've seen their fabrics.
The exhibit had accessories from the era to add to the ambiance...
Like any good design space there were fabric samples from all eras on hand to view.
The prices we saw ranged from $235 to $525 Euros per meter.
And of course...if you meet the minimums you can have a special run of a pattern and colorway done just for you! There are a lot options, as you can look at woven patterns designed from 1752 to the present. Might take you a few days to go through those!
The Real Adventure Begins
At this point we had done a lot of walking. We like walking...the metro is noisy so it is much easier to have a conversation while walking. But it was time to get to the real fun. Christelle has a friend with a nose for thrift shopping. She found a white Featherweight on a French version of Craig's list. It was close...on the outskirts of Paris. I think it had just been listed the previous night so we couldn't dally!
We definitely needed a break from walking so after grabbing a latte from Starbucks (Christelle knows coffee is my primary fuel) we hopped on the metro and took the number 11 to the end of the line, Mairie Des Lilas. A nice little suburb. But no option now for transportation except walking. No problem. The Featherweight owner assured Christelle she was close to the metro stop. Even with our nonstop conversation if felt like a long walk. We hit the town's center where we saw a lovely church.
While Christelle checked out her google map ap (I love smart phones!) I headed to the church's cemetery and saw a different view of Paris. We were on the north-eastern outskirts of Paris. No Eiffel tower in site.
Good news...we were close. We overshot a turn by only a block. Here's our final destination.
Five feet into the doorway I wrenched Christelle's arm to show her this machine hiding under a table.
She even had an American plug! This really kills me now to look at it again...$100 Euros and she stayed there. She was much too heavy to carry home. (I feel like such a weakling now!) I know everyone is going to be commenting about what an idiot I was to leave this gem behind! She had a beautiful cover too!!!! Idiot!!!!
But here is the gem we came for...
First impression...she is in excellent condition.
Plugged her in and she purred!
The answer to your pressing question of how much? $80 Euros...a steal! Christelle got to carry her new Featherweight all the way home...and after five minutes the machine felt like a heavy weight. (I'm just trying to make myself feel better about passing up the other machine.)
Here is what little we know of the machine's history. The thrift shop owner got her for almost nothing. She bought a load of crap from an estate sale and this beauty was in the mix. The machine looks brand new! The box was in fabulous condition. The bobbin case was present though there was a nest of thread in it. I'll update you on the cleaning process when Christelle gets her all spiffed up. Bonnie Hunter would be so proud of this discovery! And...this is not Christelle's first "Bonnie worthy" expedition. I'll have to share her Elna Grasshopper someday...Bonnie's already showed it on her blog!
Another great outing...can't wait for the next!