On the Hunt for Hidden Treasure


My friend Marilyn is spending a month in Paris and her emails about her adventures along with photos of sidewalk cafes, spring flowers and a Parisian dog or two, are giving me a severe case of wanderlust. 

I asked her if she planned an expedition to the Paris flea markets. 

When my mother and I traveled to Paris a few summers ago, a French flea market was at the top of my can’t-miss-list {after the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower of course}. 

I was hoping to find a few French treasures there, but now when I remember that day, I think of a taxi driver, a group of men at a pub, and a delightfully delicious pizza.

Before I went to Paris, I’d seen glorious photos of stacks of French chairs with curvy legs and tattered fabric lined up on the sidewalk, rows of gilded mirrors leaning against each other and crystal chandeliers resting carelessly on the ground at the flea markets. 


I knew I could never afford to buy anything, let alone figure out how to ship it home, but I still wanted to visit an authentic Paris flea market to find something small enough to fit in my suitcase.

Concerned about pickpockets and the Metro trip, my mother and I decided to take our chances with the Porte de Vanves flea market in the 14th arrondissement instead of the much more famous Les Puces de Saint-Ouen {at Porte de Clignancourt}. It was supposed to be easier to navigate so we took a taxi there. 

Our driver spoke little English but asked if we wanted him to pick us up when we were done. We thought this was amazing and agreed to meet him in 3 hours where he dropped us off.

We crossed the street and when I spotted the gold cherub candelabra wrapped around a tree, I knew we were in the right place. 





We browsed up and down the rows of shoes and clothing, knickknacks and dishes, looking for treasures.  

My mother bought a vintage magazine. I bought a pen and ink drawing of Place de Concorde signed and dated from 1932, a page torn out of a fashion book, and a tiny painted portrait that I thought was beautiful. 

I’m sure I overpaid for all of them, but I wanted souvenirs from a Paris flea market more than I cared about getting a good deal.

I wanted to be reminded of Paris every time I saw my treasures. 






I've been thinking about what God treasures. 

I think it’s people. You and me. 

And I think he wants to be our treasure. 

He wants us to spend time looking for him, lingering in his presence, sharing our secret desires and clingy fears with him. 

He wants to be the conversation we look forward to at the end of a day, the confidante we cherish, the one we bare our souls to. 



He longs to join us in our search for purpose in life, our pursuit of holiness and our quest for happiness.

We can spend a lifetime knowing him and never unearth all the treasure that is God. 

It's a great mystery that the more we know of him, we discover there is far more to adore, more to worship. 
My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. - Col. 2:2-3


In Paris, when my mother and I were done shopping, we went back to meet the taxi. But he never showed up. 

We searched for a taxi stand, asked directions and couldn't seem to find anyone who spoke English. 

We headed toward what seemed to be a cafe. But it was really a pub. Where we were the only women. 

The bartender finally understood we were looking for a taxi and offered to call one. We thought it might be better to wait outside on the street than stay in the pub.

But a few minutes later a man from the bar came out and in his limited English told us he wanted to wait with us until the taxi arrived. To be sure we were safe, he said. 


Now when I look at my Paris purchases I not only remember the taxi ride to the flea market, but I remember the kindness of men spending their Saturday in a pub.

And I think of the pizza my mother and I ordered as we chose an Italian restaurant in the middle of Paris for lunch after the flea market trip. 

We were famished after our adventure and we thought it was the best pizza we'd ever had.

By the way, my friend Marilyn said she wasn't planning to go to the flea markets since her 90-year-old mother is with her and they are avoiding crowds.

But I wonder if they'll sample the pizza in Paris? I think it's some of the hidden treasure of Paris.



I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart. Join me there for more inspiring posts from my blogger friends!



Comments

  1. Your adventurous spirit is contagious, friend. I think I travel the world vicariously through your beautiful stories.

    And I love that you have little momentos to remember your journeys by. And faith applications that really hit home.

    Beautiful ...

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    1. Linda,
      I love having you along for my travels! :) I laugh that you think I'm adventurous because I'm really a big scaredy cat, but I go anyway! :) Thank you for coming along for the ride!

      Delete
  2. I've been 'through' Paris, but not 'to' Paris ;). I passed through on the subway system on my way to Calis and England from Spain, and only had enough time to run up the stairs to street level and buy a pastry before making my connection. One of these days, I'll have to go back--because I love flea markets ;). My experience also reflects what some 'Christians' experience. They're intimidated by the city, the language and the legends and only pop up once or twice so they can claim they 'have been with Christ'--but they don't linger long enough to discover the treasure and the truth of a real relationship.

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    1. Love it -- just enough time in Paris to buy a pastry! And I have yet to visit England and Spain so we have to share each others' experiences! Thank you for being here and sharing your words with us!

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  3. Beautiful enchanting memories!! Flea markets are my love language too...LOL! Thanks for the reminder of God being our true treasure-- and we are His! I was just thinking this week that his love and mystery is so deep and vast I'll never understand it all-- and that's ok! But much like a flea market, each time you pass through, you see something you may have missed before-- God's word is similar :) A new treasure on each trip! Love and blessings on you today my dear ♥ xo

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    1. Heather,
      LOVE what you said about flea markets giving up new treasures each time you pass through them, just like our experiences with God! Flea markets are so fun, aren't they?!

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  4. As always, your photos are lovely, Valerie. That pizza made my stomach growl... How true it is that there are ever deeper treasures to find in God. This fills me with longing to spend more of my time like this - "He wants us to spend time looking for him, lingering in his presence, sharing our secret desires and clingy fears with him." And what a blessing it is that we are His treasures! :) Blessings and hugs to you, my friend!

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    1. Hi Trudy,
      Glad you enjoyed a little virtual stroll through Paris! And I enjoy mining for those deeper treasures of God too!

      Delete
  5. Valerie,
    What a sweet treasure to enjoy that adventure with your Mom! And, when you mentioned "I think of a taxi driver, a group of men at a pub, and a delightfully delicious pizza" at the beginning of your story, you made me so curious I almost wanted to jump ahead & find out what treasure they would involve! Thank you for stirring my heart of curiosity to ask God what Treasure He wants to show me in these days of walking with Him! May you be Blessed today!! *Hugs*

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    1. Hi Bettie,
      I'm so delighted my hook drew you into my little Paris story! :) I feel like you do -- there are treasures in every day if we just look for them! So grateful for your kind words.

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  6. Hi Valerie,

    I lived in France for a while, and enjoyed smiling through your memories, nodding along with you. It's a warm place, isn't it?

    Your line: "It's a great mystery that the more we know of him, we discover there is far more to adore, more to worship. It's a great mystery that the more we know of him, we discover there is far more to adore, more to worship" --is what most grabbed me today. Thank you. :)

    Jennifer Dougan
    www.jenniferdougan.com

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    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Oh I would love to hear your stories of living in France! It is so delightful! Thank you so much for dropping by and for your very kind words!

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  7. Oh my goodness, I just love coming here and seeing your treasures. My favourite 'downtime' places are home decor stores. And, always new treasures to find whenever I visit. And so true, that the more we browse with God, the more we find the treasures He has for us. And He already paid the price. What a gift!

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    1. Lynn,
      I think we are kindreds in loving the home decor stores and searching for treasures! So glad we learn more about God together!

      Delete
  8. Oh, Valerie, I LOVE the photos and the story and just all of it. A delight to my eyes and soul.

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    1. Debby,
      Paris is a place to take photos, isn't it? Only wish I'd taken more . . but I'll have to go back again, I guess! :)

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  9. Valerie,
    What lovely photos and memories of your time. And this: "And I think he wants to be our treasure.

    He wants us to spend time looking for him, lingering in his presence, sharing our secret desires and clingy fears with him.

    He wants to be the conversation we look forward to at the end of a day, the confidante we cherish, the one we bare our souls to. "

    What a gift to know God loves us so much. Blessings to you :-)

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    1. Dolly,
      It IS a gift to know and experience God's love in our lives! Thanks for being here!

      Delete
  10. Hi Valerie!! I loved reading about your adventures at the French Flea market! How wonderful and exciting! I have a few antique shops an hour from our house that I just love. I never know what I am looking for - just a treasure- (this is hard for my husband to understand-!! ;) ) Anyway I love the idea of hunting for God like treasure- It is so god to do and I know if we are looking he will show us more of himself ! So wonderful that He longs to do that! - He is the best forever treasure!- loved this! thanks xo

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    1. Susie,
      That's the best way to shop at antique and vintage shops -- look for nothing in particular then something can strike your fancy! :) xo

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  11. You are so right Valerie. He wants us to look for him.. seek him out. And when we do, we find the best treasures ever. This was definitely a good reminder for me.. so thank you. I loved this post and those chairs.

    Kia / KTS
    www.houseofkts.com

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    1. Hi Kia,
      We do have to look for him but he promises to be found, when we do!

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  12. How sweet that they wanted you to be safe! I love stories of travel, you learn so much about people. Beautiful post.

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    1. Brittany,
      I think that's when the unexpected happens, when things go a little off-course! But sometimes in the best way!

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  13. It's always such fun to see how you are going to spin a life lesson from your photos or trips. I never thought about Paris having flea markets, what a great idea! I'd love to visit one, one day. Putting it on my bucket list :)

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    1. Alecia,
      My photos get me thinking and it's kind of fun to follow the story line when I look at them again -- I notice what I've missed!

      Delete
  14. I enjoy hearing of people's travels around the world, the culture, the things that challenged them or made them feel uncertain but to compare it with God looking for us as His ultimate treasure is too cool. I am glad I stopped by. visiting from #98

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    1. Hi Kristina,
      Thanks for stopping by! Appreciate your sweet words!

      Delete
  15. Valerie, what a nice surprise! We have tried pizza and a traditional Italian restaurant and both were delicious. A boulangerie down the street won "Best Baguette in Paris 2016" ,so we are eating artisanal breads and croissants and hoping to walk it off. Like you, the unexpected experiences and encounters with the locals are the things we remember.
    Bisous!
    Marilyn

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    1. Hi Marilyn,
      You inspired this post! So glad you told us about the pizza -- it's unexpected to find it in Paris and that makes it even more fun!

      Delete
  16. We are His treasure. Yes, that sounds good, to be anyone's treasure, let alone the King of Kings'! Lovely post, as always!

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