Not that sort of affair – as if I’d tell – but one where I have made a dress from a French indie designer and will be wearing it – weather permitting – to the biggest flea market in the whole of France this weekend and eating copious amounts of moules frites.
Lille was only known to me before as a train station where one would change trains if travelling to Disneyland Paris from the U.K. on the Eurostar but it is also host, on the first weekend of September every year, to a huge, ginormous flea market which usually sees between 2 and 3 million visitors thronging the streets in search of interesting antiques, retro home decor, vintage clothing and everything in between. The streets are closed to traffic and there are all sorts of vendors there from people clearing out their houses to big antique dealers. It is the largest in France and there will be around 10,000 stalls – should keep us busy.
I’ve fancied going there since I heard about it a few years ago and now I have a willing accomplice who is coming with me. We are actually flying up as we are in the south of France and have already started panicking about the luggage allowance – 2kg in the hold and a 55x40x20cm cabin bag allowance – how will we manage when we just know we are going to want to bring back much more? The alternative would have been to drive up but that would take around 10 hours and add another day on to either side of our trip so we abandoned that idea. The hotels fill up really quickly but we found an apartment to stay in which is right in the centre of the activity – – the owner is fleeing the place for the duration!
Apparently moules frites must be eaten and the restaurants have a competition to see who can build the biggest mussel shell mountain outside of their establishment.
We will arrive on the Friday and settle in ready for the onslaught on Saturday. Apparently, making use of the streets being closed to traffic, a half marathon is run through the city on the Saturday morning – we won’t be participating in this needless to say as I haven’t got any room in my case for unnecessary things like running shoes and lycra shorts. Shame, but there you are. The market goes through the night and all through Sunday and I expect to be thoroughly exhausted by the time we arrive back on Monday afternoon not least because my friend who is coming with me is French and takes no prisoners with the speed of her speech so I will be suffering from French Language Overload a condition none the less real just because I’ve made it up.
Thinking ahead about treading the streets of a city shoulder to shoulder with a couple of million other people, I have chosen my armoury.
Comfy shoes – 3 pairs
I have heard much about these Swedish cloggy things and understand that they are very comfortable and made for people who are on their feet all day. We will see. I hope it is true as I’ve bought two pairs – the other pair has higher heels and a completely wooden sole. They are not my ‘go to’ style of choice if I’m honest but, on the day, comfort will be paramount. I will also put my beat up pair of Birkenstocks in as they are very light and I can carry them around in case I need to change halfway through the day.
Bag on Wheels
Oh look it matches the shoes. I hope this isn’t too far down the road towards an old lady bag in tartan with a rigid handle but it’s a cabin bag that I can also use as a flea market shopping bag. It was designed specially to fit Ryanair’s cabin bag size restrictions and, although I’m not flying with them, it suits the other economy carriers too. I like the way the manufacturers have printed the dimensions on the front of the bag as if to say ‘so there!’ to the check-in staff. The plan is to carry it around the market over my shoulder until I can bear the weight no longer and then wheel it.
which brings me to
Portable Weighing Scales
To weigh any prospective purchase if it looks like it might take up too much of my allowance, and to ensure my suitcase, which will be stuffed to the gills, doesn’t go over 20 kilos.
Bum Bag (or Fanny Bag *snigger, snigger* for those of you across the pond)
To keep the thieving buggers, who are bound to be there preying on the crowds, out of my cash. This, after my mother had her shoulder bag split open from behind and her purse stolen whilst alone in a Spanish market – she’s 82, have they no shame? (Just a mini rant there, sorry).
To save space in my case on the way out (it will be packed with bubble wrap), I will wear jeans and just take a couple of tops. However, if we venture out for our banquet of Moules Frites in the evening, and it is warm, I will wear my new dress that I finished yesterday.
This is the Deer and Doe Reglisse dress. Deer and Doe are a French indie design company so it was good to be able to buy ‘local’ and get free postage -a rare thing in France unless you first spend gazillions of euros.
As you know, I will do anything to avoid buttons, zips and other fiddling about but, in order to do so, I generally have to cut on the bias and buy multi metres of fabric – this dress takes around 3 metres – but I love the resulting swishy skirt. I made the dress according to the pattern without any alterations. I’d already made a blouse from the pattern using a hack from another blogger so I knew what size to make. However, the pattern calls for cotton chambray or similar and I thought it would look good in a drapier fabric so, instead of putting bias binding round the hem I did a rolled hem on the overlocker to avoid it looking too ‘weighted down’. Apart from that, no changes.
I think this is a dress I will get a lot of wear out of. It’s comfortable and can be dressed up or down (usually down in my case!) and I think it will be ideal for taking this weekend as my one and only ‘frock’ as, if the sun doesn’t shine, it will look fine with a thin jacket or cardi over the top.
A bientôt .