Europe shopping list

Marian Parsonsa slice of life, All Things Home, Antiques91 Comments

I already know, before I even set foot off the plane, that all of the offerings in France and Italy will be overwhelming.  There will be so many yummy, tempting European goods to buy that I feel like I need to have some sort of a plan, so my head and suitcase don’t explode.  I’ve learned that it helps to go into intensely exciting shopping situations with a list, even if it’s just a rough one, so that I can focus.  I still might feel all over the place, but I have a piece of paper I can reference to help me take a deep breath and reign in the exhilaration.

These are the things that are on my list…

copper & kitchen gear

MISS MUSTARD SEED TV

I do have a lot of beautiful copper and great kitchen gear and some of it is even from France (and that big copper bunt pan is from Germany), but several of them are antique/vintage and the copper needs to be redone to make them perform their best.  I love the idea of buying a copper pot that is a size I would use all the time and that I picked out myself while in France.  I have my eye on a 2qt saucier, possibly.  We’re going to hit E. Dehillerin, Julia Child’s favorite cooking shop in Paris, and see what we find.  I’m open to buying vintage as well, but it needs to be in great, useable condition.

As far as other cooking gear, I’ll just wait and see what I see.  I love wooden spoons, flatware, bread boards, colanders, jelly jars, and spice crocks.  I also know that dishes are a “problem” for me, so if I find any I can’t live without, I’ll ship them home along with anything else that’s bulky or fragile.

Textiles

I know I can buy them online, but I am definitely going to keep my eyes open for beautiful linens and textiles.  Specifically – monogrammed linen tea towels, napkins, and sheets.  I’ll also be looking for grain sacks and any vintage fabric remnants that would be good for sewing projects.

dip pens, art supplies, & street art

I just love having a yummy assortment of art supplies to create with and it would be awesome to add some French and Italian supplies to my stash.  I’m going to try to look for vintage pieces and supplies I can’t readily get in the US.  Dip pens and nibs are at the top of my list along with a unique ink well.

A calligraphy & paper shop was suggested in a book I am reading (a Paris Year) and I have a few art shops on our “things to do” list.

I’m hoping to buy some street art as well.  I would love to find a sketch or watercolor of a place I’m particularly drawn to.  It will remind me of that place and support a fellow creative and artist.  It would be fun to gather a small collection to hang in a gallery.

something leather

I’ve heard Florence is a great place to buy leather goods, so I’m going to look for something there.  I’m not sure what it will be, yet.  Maybe a wallet, a small messenger bag, a leather journal, etc.  I love my leather pencil and brush rolls, but I’m not sure if art-related leather goods are readily available.

And Marshall wants a mini Eiffel tower and small French and Italian flags!  I think I can manage those.  I’m still waiting to hear what Jeff and Calvin want.

Of course, if I see something I absolutely love, the list will go out the window, but it’s nice to have somewhat of a plan, even if it doesn’t have to be adhered to rigidly.  The most important thing to me is that I make thoughtful purchases.  I want to buy things I really love that I’ll really use or display, so I can appreciate them every day.

I know myself well enough to know another thing I have to prepare for is being drawn to large pieces of furniture that can simply not come home with me.  I just love furniture and that’s what I always make a beeline for in shopping situations.  There will be gorgeous Frenchy chairs and European pine wardrobes that will be calling my name.   So, I have a plan for that, too…  I am going to take a picture of every piece that has me hyperventilating.  I’ll do a little mini-photo shoot with it, appreciate it, maybe open the doors and drawers and run my fingers along the surface.  I’ll take it all in for a moment and then move along, knowing it’s not the time to shop for furniture.  Maybe one day I’ll go to Europe with furniture-buying in mind, but this isn’t that trip.

Of course, I’ll share all of my purchases and European “honey holes” that are discovered with you.  The journey begins in less than a week…

 

Europe shopping list

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91 Comments on “Europe shopping list”

  1. If you go to Montmarte in Paris, you can pick up some great street art. I bought 4-8×10 beautiful acrylics for 25 bucks each and they have been on my wall for 19 years. I got scenery pictures of the lavender fields and countryside. All colorful and lovely. Have a fun trip and don’t forget to get a pastry from one of the shops, they wrap it like a present and it is just beautiful!

  2. One thing I would not buy is any food items. I brought back tomato paste, garlic paste, and a few other food items from Rome for a family member who is a chef, thinking it was a great gift…saw the exact same brands in an upscale supermarket the week after I got back! Enjoy food while you are there but I wouldn’t take up packing space bringing any back.

    Definitely buy handmade leather goods! I have never seen anything like the Italian family-owned leather craftsman stores in my area of the US.

  3. We were in Italy this summer, and Florence has the best leather of anywhere I’ve been. I fell in love with a pair of boots that still regret leaving in the shop instead of bringing them home with me. You should be able to fill all your leather dreams there. Be careful, though. A bag I bought while there ended up not being leather. I was deceived because of all the leather smell in the air.
    My husband kept telling me to wait and see if there were better deals or availability somewhere else, and there wasn’t! Florence is one of my favorite places in the world. The best museums. The best art (my degree is in medieval/Renaissance art history and I was in heaven every second). The best street art–musicians and artists. The best gelato. The best churches. And if you go to the museum next to the Duomo that houses Michelangelo’s final Pieta (can’t remember the name right now), PLEASE STOP at the cafe inside and eat a slice of the fruit tart. It may have been seasonal (berries and cream with pastry crust), but it was LITERALLY the best I’ve ever ever had. My husband and I kept hoping we would find it somewhere else on our travels, but it was a singular experience. Ok. That’s enough. Have a great trip!

  4. I like your plan for appreciating the furniture and moving on. That would be the hardest part for me as well. I find that if I have to pass on any purchase (for whatever reason) of something pulling at my heart, I tell myself that there is someone else out there for whom this piece will be exactly what they are dreaming of. That makes me happy and helps me to “let go”.

  5. Oh sigh. As a lifelong Francophile, I am sooo jealous!! Paris and Italy someday..
    Please please include lots of pics for those of us living vicariously! Both of my girls, ages 10 and 18 , are dying yo go to France and hit the vintage markets and Eiffel Tower. Someday! Enjoy every minute!

  6. Try to grab a box of the famous ‘ macaron’ chez Ladurée, 75 Av. Champs-Elysées in Paris and take a delicious ice cream chez Berthillon Glacier, Rue Saint-Loius, this is on the little island in the river Seine Ile Saint-Louis. Sooo good 😉
    I went to Italy before but Florence is still on my whishing list.
    Enjoy every minute of your trip.

    1. Laduree are lovely but you’re paying so much for the experience. It’s a beautiful shop and cafe and I did enjoy going in there, but you’re looking at $20-30 for 6 macaron and you can probably get an equal experience buying pastries and eating them in the Tuilleries or similar. I did enjoy breakfast at Angelina’s which was the same sort of experience and price as breakfast at the Wolseley in London which in dollars I guess would be $40-60 for 2 people, depending on what you’re getting

  7. I don’t know if this applies to traveling overseas, but when I traveled to Phoenix I had flown with two suitcases. One for my clothes & the other for my antiquing “goodies.” Or can you take a large bag with you also? Or how about sending your clothes home by mail & stuff the heck out of your suitcase!!

  8. Marshall’s wish list is so simple cute. Guaranteed you can find those at the airport shops. Tell him to think bigger!!!
    Have a great safe trip!!! We will be waiting for all the pictures and news. And will be praying for you and mom.

  9. Enjoying your plans! I love to shop when in France-what a great feeling you get for the culture and people. You’ll have a great time, weather will be perfect—and I always say ‘I’m happy just to breathe the air’ – in other words, go with the flow. If you see a street brocante sign, be prepared to follow it- best prices and flowers and food to adore. Don’t leave anything you want behind, getting back to it isn’t worth it. Will you have an interpreter at the markets? Take a small pad and pencil/pen to make certain you’re understanding their price. Bon voyage. Teresa

  10. Bon voyage! Enjoy!

    I tried to add a photo of a painting I bought in Paris on my first trip there years ago… no luck… but I love it and it brings back lovely memories!

  11. When shopping in Florence for leather use a lighter to see if the leather is real. It will not catch fire. Ask the vendors you are buying from to do the lighter test. Also, go to the central market and buy cheese and pesto and olive oil. Also, remember to haggle.

  12. Authentic leather and craftsmen can be found in the Leather School behind Santa Croce in Florence.

    1. So true. I found some beauties at the Leather School but a small handbag was $600. Sadly not in my budget. None the less a must see on your trip.

  13. I second painting shopping on Montmartre. I love the paintings I got there, and they are very affordable. Such a gorgeous neighborhood.

  14. Please remember the Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves. http://Www.pucesdevanves.fr
    Every Saturday and Sunday 7:00 am to Noon.

    Small Eiffel towers are cheapest around Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower itself
    Respectful bargaining is always a recommended.

    1. I second the Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves! Best brocante fair for smaller items and great bargains, and they are also open on Thursday mornings (until 12:30 or so). I’ve gone the past two years and have found lots of very reasonably priced goodies. Definitely learn a wee bit of polite French (say Bonjour to all of the vendors!) and definitely haggle on price. I purchased a small 19th century oil painting, a watercolor landscape, a stack of beautiful hand written letters, some rubber stamps, a pair of candlesticks, some beautiful newspaper covers (satire cartoons), some initialed laundry tape, and gorgeous 18th century French books. Was regretting passing up silver-plated flatware – they mark it with a very high price, but can be bargained down considerably! Have fun!!

  15. When you mentioned street art in Paris I thought of the I Love Lucy episode when she bought street art!

    Can’t wait to travel along! Thank you for taking us!

  16. Give yourself permission to buy that touristy scarf with little Eiffel Towers all over it. You will laugh and remember every time you wear it. Not kidding. Also, there is a Czech artist named T.F. Simon, 1877-1942 who I buy on Ebay. Wonderful etchings of Paris, especially Notre Dame.

  17. I would recommend buying some really good balsamic vinegar and olive oil and bring them back in your checked bag. I just did that and we love having a little bit of real Italy in our kitchen! If you can find a vintage Street market look for the old etchings of Florence. I was lucky enough to find one and it is my treasure from my trip, only €15! And it is gorgeous !

  18. I JUST returned from 2 weeks in Italy and I’m kicking myself for not getting the red leather gloves I saw in Venice. I did buy some olive wood trays, small pottery bowls, earrings and a delicious orange leather purse in Cortona. Also, a scarf and some balsamic syrup for my mother in Sienna. Walk a lot and eat lots of delicious food….I only gained two pounds. Safe travels!

  19. In Paris, go to Maile for the most wonderful mustards! I bought a cheap suitcase over there to bring home all my purchases. Enjoy and safe travels!!!!

  20. It is so funny to read all those ideas on what to do or buy or eat. That is of course because I live in Europe and get the chance to travel by car anywhere we want and most articles are available all over Europe.
    I do hope you and your mother will have a wonderful time.

  21. Marion,
    I’ve had so much fun wandering around the hardware stores (basement level) in the famous old department stores in Paris. I’m still using the assorted paint brushes I purchased there, such as the one that was designed at a crazy angle to fit in between the fins when one wants to paint the wall behind the steam radiators. Brilliant!

  22. My daughter and I each got a copper pot from E. Dehillerin’s several years ago while in Paris. They were our favorite purchase! Love mine (it’s about a 3 quart Dutch oven) and it keeps food warm! Be careful with getting brass handles. They look pretty but get too hot!

  23. I would definitely suggest bringing an empty packable duffle bag so you can stuff your dirty laundry in it, and pack your “goodies” in your regular suitcase for the trip home. Also, best to bring your own lightweight bag for shopping.

    Have a great time!

    1. Yes! We are bringing a duffle bag and half of my mom’s suitcase is filled with bubble wrap. About 1/3 of my suitcase will be empty, too, so we’re set!

      1. My favorite way to do this is to do your actual packing in a carryon-sized bag, then put that bag in a larger, empty suitcase and check it. On your way home, check your (now full) bag of treasures and take your carryon in the plane with you.

  24. Several trips to France, Italy and England on painting trips with fellow travelers was a dream for me. We hit the hardware stores for brushes, painting supplies and beautiful oil cloth displayed on rollers. Real, beautiful oil cloth, you may want to look for that. Also I bought table cloths and fabric that were made into slip covers for several chairs, love seats and bedding, the memory of the trip is brought to mind every day for me as I walk through my home. Oh and the stationary stores and art stores! I brought home a large yellow/mustard color platter with finials that sat on my lap across the ocean to keep it safe and the finials in tack. Oh you have me reliving my travels! Enjoy! 🙂

    Enjoy your travels! 🙂

  25. I love to buy quirky international caution or direction signs in hardware stores. Fun for kids. My favorite was a clergy parking sign with a halo from Italy. Wooden Pinocchio toys from a street vendor for Christmas trees were a hit. Blown glass insects are now family heirlooms. Who doesn’t want blown glass flies on their windowsills? I also love beautifully made kitchen gadgets…great gifts. Bon voyage.

  26. I can totally relate , next year I am going home to Scotland, with two trips to Ireland and the South of France. . I will keep my eye open for linens and lots of soaps. Im so excited. Cant wait to see all your gorgeous pics x

  27. There is a lace factory in Venice with lace to die for – do try to go there if you have the chance. And leather/marbled paper journal books from Venice are reasonable and fabulous….paintings from Monmarte can’t be beat and neither can the pastries, almost anywhere in France. They’ll live in your memory forever! Have fun – whatever you find to bring back will be a treasure and will serve to remind you to return when you can and enjoy each place for its beauty and uniqueness. Bon voyage!

  28. You might enjoy bringing home some Terre Exotique salt. It comes in many flavors (I like Zeste de Citron) in small, attractive, lightweight tins that are easy to fit into your suitcase. Who knew salt could be so good? I have bought it in the Monoprix at 52 Rue de Rennes in Saint-Germain-des-Prés–conveniently located near two of the great, historic Left Bank cafés–Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore. My favorite, Les Deux Magots, is perfect for a wine, coffee, and/or people watching break. http://www.lesdeuxmagots.fr/en/history-restaurant-paris.html

  29. One of the things I always remember buying in Florence was some hand blocked Florentine style paper at a little stationery store just off the Ponte Vecchio, were I also bought some lovely little wax sticks for wax seals, that they wrapped so beautifully you would think I had purchased some gold (Italy is also good for gold jewellery).

    When I returned home, I used the paper to cover some lovely little boxes I made from stiff card that I had seen at the markets over there. The boxes inspired me to buy the paper in the first place & have a go at making my own. I still have them all these years later & I think it was the using the paper purchased in Italy to actually create with when I came home that gives that simple purchase a depth of meaning for me. It’s the purchases with a story that stick in your mind & sometimes your heart.

    Looking forward to reliving vicariously through your photos my past visits to France & Italy – wishing you a holiday with depth & joy – rich in substance for the making of future memories!

  30. I’m really never sure if you read my comments, but I hope you’ll see this one… it’s been a few years since I’ve been to Paris but a Big Point of advice I pass on to anyone headed to Europe is…. supply yourself with COINS !!! Many many times you HAVE to pay to use the WC !!!!! Most likely your not one who can’t Wait..but I bet your Momma is more like me! 😁

    1. Cristie, your story about the coins needed for the WC makes me laugh as I recall my elderly uncle on his first holiday ever abroad didn’t understand at all that in France you have to pay for the use of the public WC.

      He was chased out of a Parisian WC by the lady attendant yelling at him because he walked out without paying! He was also somewhat taken aback with a woman being in the mensroom!

      I’m sure if he had understood what she was saying the term ‘excuse my french’ would most likely have been very relevant that day!

        1. How lucky we are in the US & Australia – free public toilets! What’s more, toilet paper included!!

          I recall in Holland many years ago having to actually buy the toilet paper as well from a dispenser on the wall – but that wasn’t the worst of it – the toilet paper came in small sheets that were more like baking paper with very little absorbency. I carried extra tissues in my bag after that experience. LOL

    2. I do read my comments. 🙂 Yes, I grew up in Germany and you have to pay for most public toilets there, so I am ready for that!

  31. We bought silk scarves for my mom and my sister from Como, Italy. It was only 10 Euro each, friend of ours live in just other side of Como, Lugano Switzerland. They knew where to shop the silk and it was small silk shop. If you go to Venezia,Italy by train, watch for train schedule ,they don’t show which platform to go to until 5 minutes to departure. We had to run for it. And the train entrance has 3 steps that was nightmare with big suitcases. Have a great trip !

  32. When I was in Ukraine, I fell deeply in love with loads of curtains. I wasn’t prepared to buy custom sheers. I’ve regretted it much.
    So my advice? I’m sure you do but be certain you have measurements of all the things in your house. 😂

  33. If you are in Lucca the third weekend of the month’, there is a great antiques bazar in the town. You will find amazing things….

  34. With all that beautiful cooking gear and attention to French and Itakuan food, maybe you can throw in a food/cooking topic from tme to time?

    1. Yes, I plan to do more of that. Cooking and baking went on the back burner when my kids were babies and toddlers and as I started my business, but I’m finding I want to do more of it and it’ll be a fun topic to blog about.

  35. YES to leather boots from Florence. I bought a dusty blue leather pair in Florence a year ago. People stop me on the street to compliment my boots. They remind me of my life changing trip to Italy. On Sunday morning in Florence there is a great street market that you would love.

  36. I remember when my late great-aunt who was a teacher took a three week group tour of Europe one summer. I was in my first year of French so of course I wanted something from France. She brought back three gifts for me. The first was some French perfume, the second was some earrings and the third which was my favorite was a colorful advertising poster of an event at the Louvre. I had it framed and it went on my bedroom wall for many years.

    I remember she brought back a wrist watch for my grandmother from Switzerland and a beautiful silk scarf for my Mom from Italy. It will be fun to see all the beautiful things you find and bring back.

  37. Marian,

    *delicious*

    We live on Guam and fly United among multiple Pacific islands. I buy LOTS of things on my travels and here’s a United approved piece of luggage: a 20” x 20” x 20” box. As long as all the dimensions equal no more than 60” and it weighs 70 lb or less, it can be considered a piece of luggage. In the Philippines these boxes are called Balikbayan boxes. On Guam I can buy them at Home Depot. On the US mainland Fed Ex carries them. Surely someone in Europe (ask a Filipino or Filipino) knows where you can purchase such a box.

    We tape the bottom closed with clear packing tape (which I also carry with me) and cover the entire area of the bottom. I write in large letters my name on a 8×11-inch sheet and put one copy inside the bottom of the box so the print shows if Customs opens the bottom, then I tape one copy to two exterior sides of the box. A fourth copy will be laid on top of the box contents before taping the box closed and covering the entire top of the box with the clear tape. You want to cover every square inch of the box from bottom to the top with the tape. Now it’s ready to pack.

    To pack fragile things, I collect and carry around in my luggage bubble wrap, padded envelopes I’ve saved. Clothes- dirty or clean- can be wrapped around things, as you know very well.

    I guess I’m a tightwad, Marian. If I can check it on free as a piece of luggage, then all my good purchases are still that, good purchases that I didn’t spend additionally for in the long run just to get them home.

    Happy week!
    Kelley~

  38. Wonderful street art at Notre Dame and Montmartre- water colors and pen and inks. Beware of the young gypsy lady with the gold ring along the Seine! Best of all, enjoy the wonderful pastries on almost every corner!

  39. I bought the most wonderful & beautiful leather gloves in Rome – thin leather driving gloves for myself and fleece lined ones for my Mother. She has gone home to heaven so I have her pair now, which really increases their sentimental value. And the paintings, prints and etchings I bought in Paris are still some of my favorite pieces of art we own! Have a lovely and safe trip, can’t wait for your posts on your travels!

  40. “so my head and my suitcase don’t explode”.
    Your enthusiasm is contagious! My heart did a little pitter patter just for you!
    Have a wonderful and safe trip Marian! Enjoy sharing every second with your mom <3

  41. Kelley!

    Wow! Thank you for this incredible idea. We are traveling to Europe for the month of September and I will be using your great suggestion.
    Diney

  42. Trip advisor has a list of the 10 best shopping places in Florence. You can trust the leather stores on that list. I can’t think of the name, but the first or second leather store has great handbags. I bought several as gifts and never bought one for myself. I did go to Ferragamo! (the mother ship) to see the shoe museum and buy a pair of loafers. They are a reissue from 1980.
    To avoid lines of several hours, you can make reservations at many tourist spots, like museums and churches. I would recommend this. Make them as soon as possible, because they get sold out.

  43. Too many wonderful things to taste, experience and shop for! We lived in Europe for 9 years (4 in Germany) and it was nowhere near long enough.
    Hope you have a great trip. (I found some gorgeous antique design prints when we visited Paris. Antique & artistic what better souvenir!)
    Shoes, boots and purses are the best in Italy!

  44. Dear Marian,
    I am laughing so much! I totally understand you and my advise for you is to take 2-3 empty bags more for your return.
    I live in Italy and I can advise you some places to visit, but beware of shops for tourists, look very carefully the quality of good they offer, look for hidden little shops instead of those along main streets.
    In Florence visit a bronze and brass blacksmith shop (“shop” is non the right name for this place, because it’s very small working place full of pieces) his name is Signorini and they are blacksmiths for 4 generations. And it’s not far from the Railway station.
    And, if you visit Venice or Vicenza (where I live) I can take you to a copper master and wood kitchen ware that you will love!
    If you are interested, I can give you their web sites.
    Anyway, I wishi you a great journey!!!

    1. Dear Lilia,
      We are visiting Venice in October and I would love to know the name of a few antique shops and the copper master sounds wonderful.
      Penny

    2. Oh man! We aren’t making it to Venice, but if ever I do, I will take you up on that offer!

  45. You may want to contact Kaari Meng, designer of French General Fabrics for Moda. She has offered tours to France every summer including brocante shopping. She may have some great tips for you. Happy travels and be safe.

  46. Bonjour!
    Oh how I loved the shopping in Paris!! Talk about suitcases bulging! I bought several pairs of shoes & handbags and of course made room for all of them in my suitcase IN the boxes! Ha ha Yes it was like in the cartoons where you see one of those little tents in the desert but looks massive in size on the inside. Of course there’s shipping things back but I didn’t want to take a chance on fashion accessories! One of my goals was to find fabric. We happened upon a little fabric store in the 9th arrondisiment in Paris that fulfilled my list. Sweet success on most of my items. I was limited to Paris & Versailles but oh what a dream to shop anywhere in France. What a shopping paradise it was for me. Have a wonderful lovely safe trip dear Miss Mustard and as they say in France… Bon Voyage!!
    Bisous, Edie Marie

  47. Oh, so excited for you! In Florence don’t neglect the oltrarno (the other side of the Arno River from all the big museums, etc.) there are many streets of all the artisans (like leather!). Also, Giulio Giannini e Figlio for the best marbled papers, notebooks, stationery, etc. , across from the Pitti Palace (oltrarno). And, as much as I want to see everything, don’t forget to put your camera down sometimes and just soak it in.

  48. I only ask for Instagram posts and lots of them, i’m sure none of us will mind. Well, I won’t. So jealous, have an awesome great time. Can hardly wait to read all about it.

  49. So happy for you and your mom to share this experience. Great memories for sure. You asked in the comments what people from Europe buy in the US. It reminded me of a funny story. A friend, whose daughter was a doctor with the military and stationed in Italy, returned for a visit to the US with her family and brought two young Italian men along for their first visit to the US. They loved the home improvement stores and bought something they did not have in Italy…a post hole digger. And, another quick suggestion. I have nesting suitcases but generally only use the medium size. If you have them, pack the medium and pack it inside the large thereby giving you a very large suitcase to fill up!! Just have a wonderful and safe trip. Looking forward to the many posts you will share with all your Miss Mustard Seed followers.

  50. Yes to Florence and a leather purchase! I have a woven bucket style purse from there that I have had for years and it’s still gorgeous! Great place to pick up a Christmas gift for someone special on your list! You are going to have such a great time!

  51. In Florence, visit Passamaneria Toscana for pillows and Santa Novella for cosmetics/creams. Two gorgeous shops! Also, across the Ponte Vecchio, to the left, is a leather gloves shop (they provide the gloves for Burberry). There is a little bakery with “pizza” by that shop (well, there was). Have fun!

    1. 1 loved the French perfume I bought in Paris and would’ve suggested creams too. They’ll fit nicely in your new boots or cookware 🙂

  52. Hi!
    I love your blogs! They inspire me in more ways than I can tell you!
    I wish you a wonderful time in Europe with many adventures that you will share with your fans!
    I don’t know if you read/follow David Lebovitz but I saw this last week and thought this link
    might be of interest to you with the schedule of flea markets, etc. in Paris in Fall. It is in French but you
    could easily translate it!
    Bon voyage et bon appetit!
    Fredda

  53. We’re in the Tuscany country side and going to Florence tomorrow. After doing the museum we are heading straight for the San Lorenza or the “straw market”. to shop for fun things like leather purses!

  54. What a dream trip! We followers totally understand your excitement/obsession and can’t wait to enjoy this trip along with you and your mom. Looking forward to LOTS of pics and posts. Bon voyage!

  55. There’s a really great market on Thursday and Sunday in a small park-like area
    right beside the Bastille monument. I always buy wooden spoons from a vendor there. We tease each other about my coming to Paris to buy his spoons. They are just plain ole inexpensive wooden spoons, but they’re my spoons from Pairs.

  56. If you don’t know cat_in_france check her out on IG and her blog. She and her husband recoat copper. She’s also a great finder of all things French vintage. She checks out brocante sales (flea market) in villages.

  57. I wanted some colorful leather gloves when I was there. Saw them all over Rome, but decided to wait until Florence for all the leather goods! Couldn’t find anything like them in Florence, so I got a belt (a lot of their leather goods aren’t even made in Italy, so do be careful). My friend ended up sending me red gloves from Rome, which I love!

    Street art is great in Florence, for sure!

    Have a fantastic trip.

  58. Eat some gelato in Italy! Bought a gold bracelet on the bridge of shops in Florence. Easy to pack and never goes out if style and reminds me of my trip. Also bought cute and meaningful Christmas ornaments.

  59. I cannot wait to hear where you venture to in Italy. You will be heading home and I’ll be heading to Italy. We have a week in the area you will be…..I love to thrift everywhere I go. If you find yourself in Montepulciano, I’ve read that the local wine is the best! Have fun, be safe, enjoy!! Warms my heart that you are sharing this experience with your Mom (missing mine every day)….y’all are going to make such great memories!

  60. I brought home a suitcase full of small leather backpack purses from Florence in 2006 mostly for gifts and 2 for myself. I wore both of them out. My daughter Honeymooned there in 2010 and brought me home another one. I have a friend going there next spring, and I am giving her a a shopping list. They were under 25 Euros and I always got compliments on them. My nieces told me this summer they are still using theirs. Florence is definitely the place for leather. Have a great trip

  61. Hello Marian. I have a small box of pen nibs from my mother’s cousin who passed away at the age 99 several years ago. I would love for you to have them as a thank you for all the fun and pleasure and education you have given me for many years. I’ve been following you since you were teaching us to paint with Rustoleum spray paint – you made it difficult to even find Heirloom White in the stores! If you would like to have these (made in USA) please let me know how to get them to you. I hope your trip is above and beyond all that you could even think or ask.

  62. Ooh! Can you fit one of those French marble sinks in your bag. One like your friend over at dreamy white has?

  63. If you are a glove person, go to Madova glove shop in Florence! Trying on the different gloves (there is an art to it!) was a unique experience. I recently went in May and bought a pair of cashmere lined leather gloves. I can’t wait for colder weather just to wear them! Also, for top quality leather goods, go to the shops that have store fronts – avoid the street vendors.

    Enjoy your trip!

  64. If I remember correctly, you are going to Lucca. There is a little leather shop there and you can purchase directly from the man who makes many of the items in his shop. Although the selection in Florence will be greater. Actually, the best gelato is in Florence. Have fun!

  65. Italian boutiques always have such beautifulwrapping and perfect tiny paper pouches for purchases, I feel like all things truly feel like something special when they are wrapped so nicely! Not sure if you have any paper projects on the backburner (or if you hoard gift wrapping like some of us) but you may want to add some local paper stores to your hunt. Have an amazing trip and have a nice espresso or coffee for this girl!

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