{Paris 4.30: Saturday Antique Market, La Grand Epicurie and Gluten-free sweets at Helmut Newcake}

I made myself a baguette sandwich to bring along in my purse for my full day of antique market exploring. {Avocado, arugula, cherry tomatoes, proscuitto, mimolette cheese, ginger onion confit and grainy mustard}

I walk past this canal every morning on my way to the metro. I sometimes find people sitting along the sides drinking a beer or two. A great place to relax and people watch.

Space invaders are everywhere in Paris. A project started in 1998, where the “invader” puts up these tiled characters in the most random places around the city. Apparently he even got a couple in the Louvre! Of course they were taken down a day later when they were found..

I took the metro up to Porte de Clignancourt, situated in the 18th arrondisement. This is where you’ll find Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, the largest antique market in the world! It covers up to 7 hectares and welcomes 120,000-180,000 visitors every weekend.

Lot of random knick knacks..

Letterpress blocks..

Vintage cameras..

And aisle after aisle of…STUFF! So much fun!

The market is split into different sections, most of them are open air, while others are enclosed like this one.

Vintage photographs, postcards and more. I saw some beautiful old animal and plant specimen posters..Alas, I have learned from previous travels it is a major b***h to carry a poster tube with you home on the plane.

A bag of roasted chesnuts for an afternoon snack.

You can buy items to decorate your house to look like a palace if you have enough euros. Speaking of which, I saw on CNN the other day that some asian billionaire in Virginia is planning on building his version of the Palace of Versailles in his backyard..what?

Me being the accessory freak I am of course ALWAYS gravitate to the jewelry..

I picked up these antique art deco earrings. I’m really digging the antique silver and black onyx look lately..

As well as some random kitchen items to use for my blog, all of them costing 1 euro or less each..Hurrah for bargaining.

If you are a coin collector, you’d be in heaven here. There is one here as old as 1366! Craziness..

After the market, I did some more walking in the Saint Germain district in the 6th arrondisement. When you come out of the metro, the first thing you see is this 7th century Saint-Germain-des-Pres abbey church.

This area is home to many of the upper-class Parisians and to artistry in general. Lots of galleries, jazz clubs and famous cafes. I loved the art nouveau decoration of this restaurant.

Snack time..A tarte fine aux pommes.

I have a soft spot for apple pastries..

A few blocks away is the Grand Epicurie. I like to imagine when a foodie dies, this is what heaven for them would look like.

The pastry case is a feast for the eyes. The mega store is filled with aisle after aisle of spices, cookies, condiments, etc from all over the world.

I had a couple must buy items I picked up, including a jar of mango jam by Christine Ferber. A world-famous fourth generation French master patissiere. Chefs throughout the world have long prized her delicious creations. She is known for her unusual flavour combinations including strawberry, black pepper mint jam or lemon, lemongrass and raspberry.

The aroma when I opened it up was like Hawaii in a jar. Such a bold mango flavour – sweet, fragrant and filled with chunks of fruit. THIS is how a jam should be.

Here are some other items I’ve randomly picked up to add to my growing collection to take home. A buckwheat caramel, Provence thyme confit, ginger and onion confit, orange and chocolate jam, tomato spread (which I bought on my last trip here and LOVED) and the rosemary honey I’ve been using daily.

I always look forward to the evenings when I get to prepare dinner at home. Although I do have to admit I miss my japanese knives at home SO BADLY. The best knives in this kitchen are about as sharp as my butter knives at home…

Caramelized leeks, smoked bacon, zucchini tossed with Bordier butter, shaved pecorino, garlic, chili flakes and finished off by stirring in an egg for a nice creamy consistency. Dinner for one is served..

For dessert, I walked a around the corner a couple blocks to try out the sweets at Helmut Newcake, the only gluten-free bakery in Paris, to see if they measured up to their gluten filled counterparts.

First one was the financier, which is made mostly of almond meal. Sweet, tender and just the right amount of sweetness. A perfect accompaniment with a coffee or tea in the afternoon or as a treat after a meal if you’re too full.

Next up was this caramel and chocolate tart. Decorated with chunks of milk chocolate and a gluten-free shortbread wedge.

I could tell the crust was different, more crumbly and fine in texture, but still tasty. The real star was the filling…oh my the filling. When you cut into it with your fork, the thick chocolately interior slowly pools out onto the plate. A slightly smoky flavour and super silky, it was pure decadence. And the flavour…Mind blowing. It definitely passed the taste test.

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