I have a "new" desk from the Paris-St.Ouen Flea Market

One of the upsides of being expatriates is that we've been able to collect a lot of unique pieces of furniture from different countries. One of the downsides is that it's not always easy to find a place for all of our "stuff" when we're transferred to a new location.  So, when we realized that we needed a new desk, I proposed an inexpensive one from IKEA that we could get rid of when we move, while Stephane countered with an antique secretary desk that we could keep as a memory of our time in Paris.  Since I need Stephane and his car to get to IKEA, he had the upper-hand and ruthlessly used it to his advantage [please note that this is my blog, so I can tell my version of the story!], which meant that we've been making unsuccessful forays to different antique markets...until last Saturday.

Taking advantage of my absence during an alleged "father and son outing" to the Paris-St. Ouen Flea Market, Stephane located a secretary desk, purchased it, and sent somes photos telling me that it was being delivered early Monday morning.  Poof...gone were my dreams of a disposable desk from IKEA. In their place is just one more thing that I'm going to have to find a spot for in our next home.  Or maybe we could use the desk as a reason to stay in Paris.  After all, we're feeling pretty good here!

Did you know that the Paris-St. Ouen Flea Market is where Owen Wilson's character goes to look for Cole Porter records and meets his soulmate in the recent Woody Allen film, Midnight in Paris?  It's also the largest antique market in the world.

Click here to read Stephane's guest post about our first adventure hunting for a desk at the flea market.

Here are some of the items that caught Philippe's eye. You really can find just about anything there. Need a top hat for your tiger skin?


  1. Now that is a find! Kudos to your husband and save the Ikea for the closets.

  2. Yes, nice find--you can tuck all sorts of things away in that desk. A good cleaning, maybe a little oiling or varnish and you'll be set to go.

    I hope though you don't live in a walk-up, say on the fifth floor. I'd be so distressed to carry that thing up stairs.

  3. Anne, That's exactly what my husband said! I have the Ikea closet that I wanted and he has the desk. Plus we weren't in any hurry to return to Ikea. It's not a fun place to spend a Saturday morning.

    But we do, Joseph! Our apartment is on the fifth floor (6th in the USA) with a tiny elevator. The guy agreed to lower the price of the closet if Stephane helped him carry it upstairs at 6:30 am last Monday.

    I searched your blog to see if you had any suggestions for cleaning leather because one of the things that we're pleased about is that the leather mat (?) is still the original one with a gold border. It does, however, need to be cleaned or polished.

  4. That is gorgeous! Is it Biedermeier? I love all those drawers--much better than a modern desk.

  5. Thanks, Terry. Stephane said that the desk is a Louis-Philippe and that it has two secret drawers!

  6. Stéphane said...
    I am writing this post from "Mary Kay's" desk. Louis Philippe style refers to the King Louis Philippe who reigned in France between 1830 and 1848. It's so much more inspiring to write on this wallnut wood 150+ year old desk than on a piece of pressed wood table from IKEA. Not to mention the fun scouting and bargaining experience at Saint Ouen.


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