|Drawings by Dominique Corbasson|
But we girls were taught how to be Perfect Little Homemakers, the term already preferred over Housewives. We were taught to cook, although all I can remember of those two and a half years, one hour a day, five days a week, is White Sauce 1, 2 and 3. Mine were always lumpy. It was my weak point and still, after years in France (where I’m known as a passable chef, even among friends who are chefs), I still pause in trepidation if any recipe calls for a béchamel sauce, which is basically a White Sauce with a bit of nutmeg and a French accent thrown in.
We also were taught to sew our own clothes, right down to how to adjust a store-bought pattern if you, as a flawed female specimen, had too much junk in the trunk or your "girls" weren’t Hugh Hefner-worthy.... or both. (I still remember a friend, Irene, with a 19" waist, but mine was only 21" then, so...) I did better in that, even though I once sewed the sleeves into a dress the wrong way twice in a row - left with right and right with left - but the third time was a charm.
All this came in handy when I found myself in France, and - after three moves - in Montmartre. Once upon a time it was a tiny village on top of the butte, the hill, with windmills running down the slopes. At its foot, a few more small villages grew up, including one on the south-east side called the Village d’Orsel. In time, an expanding Paris spilled over into Montmartre and the Village d’Orsel got a covered market, the Marché St. Pierre*. And that market in turn lent its name to what has become the fabric district of Paris.
Take the métro to the Anvers station and walk up the rue de Steinkerque, where fabric shops still alternate with ever-encroaching souvenir shops. After crossing the rue d’Orsel - the main road of the village of the same name - you’ll arrive at the park at the foot of the Sacré-Coeur. Turn right and you’ll see that old covered market built in 1868 by a disciple of Baltard, architect of the famous Les Halles markets. Just beyond that is a large blue building which many people know as Le Marché St. Pierre and others just as Chez Dreyfus.
|Bed linen section|
If you’re at all interested in what real life in France is like and you’re up visiting the Sacré-Coeur and the artists on the Place du Tertre, drop by Dreyfus on your way back to the métro. It’s a short detour, and you’ll get a colorful eyeful of everyday French living that most tourists don’t see.
Dreyfus Déballage du Marché Saint Pierre
2 rue Charles Nodier
3-5 place Saint-Pierre
1-3-5-7 et 2-4-6 rue Livingstone
in old Marché St. Pierre covered market
*Half of the old covered market
has been a public gymnasium
since the market closed.
The other half provided
parking for garbage trucks
when I moved into the neighborhood.
But in 1986 the garbage trucks drove off
and the premises were turned into the
Musée d’Art Naïf Max Fourny,
also known as the Halle St. Pierre.