Paris: Meet the Pusses at the Puces

Lend me your whiskers and pointy ears! (Photo by T. Brack)

Lend me your whiskers and pointy ears! (Photo by T. Brack)

Flying sky high on a lark (Elle magazine, 1954, T. Brack’s collection)

Flying sky high on a lark (Elle magazine, 1954, T. Brack’s collection)

By Theadora Brack

Lend me your whiskers and pointy ears.

Flying sky high on a lark, I knock. Grab a perch because I’ve got a feathered tale to tell. A great ball of yarn to re-wind, so to squeak! Ever since watching Walt Disney’s “The Aristocats” movie at the age of nine on the family television set, I’ve been obsessed with France and les chats domestiques. There. Full fur confession.

Set in Paris, the cartoon flick was a life changer. Not only did I yearn to be the rhinestone-laden, Parisian glamour puss (a.k.a., “Duchess”), but I also fancied running away with her swashbuckling, orange tabby beau, the flamboyant prince of the boulevard, “Abraham de Lacey Giuseppe Casey Thomas O’Malley—O’Malley, the alley cat.”

Oh, c’est très jolie, monsieur Thomas!” I’d purr again and again at my reflection in the mirror, channeling my inner-Duchess.

And now, I see cats. I see cats in Paris. All the time! Where? Where? They’re everywhere! Heck, once, during a winter tempest, I rescued a teeny, tiny tortoiseshell cat found trembling on the wet cobblestones outside the Grand Hotel de Clermont, just a fur ball’s throw from where Édith Piaf made one of her legendary busking debuts in Pigalle. Kitty was coming home with me.

Set in Paris, the Aristocats cartoon flick was a game changer (Courtesy Movieposterdb)

Set in Paris, the Aristocats cartoon flick was a game changer (Courtesy Movieposterdb)

Love Actually

Anaïs Nin once wrote, “What I cannot love, I overlook,” but I’d push it a little further and say that what I do love, I can’t help but notice! Getting all reflective, “Bonjour, dame de chat!” is what I now say to my handheld mirror. With a decade-old Kitty still on my lap, and still meowiing in French, of course.

In celebration of the New Year, let’s spend it with a few glamour pusses at the Paris flea markets: Marché aux Puces de Vanves and Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen.

As Thomas O’Malley the cat once crooned, “Everybody wants to be a cat because a cat’s the only cat who knows where it’s at! Everybody’s picking up on that feline beat ’cause everything else is obsolete!”

I completely concur. Bonne Année!

Bonus Tip

Here are five of my favorite feline-related films. I’ve included romance, mystery, and horror. No spoilers here. Please pass the Fancy Feast. Lights! Camera! Action!

1. Une vie de chat (2010)
Directed by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol

2. Chacun cherche son chat (1996)
Chacun cherche son chat (original title)

3. The Private Life of a Cat (1944)
Directed by Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid

4. The Black Cat (1934)
Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer with showstoppers Béla Lugosi and Boris Karloff

5. Cat People (1942)
Directed by Jacques Tourneur, based on Val Lewton’s short story “The Bagheeta”

Hear Me Roar: #Power of the Pusses #Cats see it all (Photo by T. Brack)

Hear Me Snore: Sleepy Puss guarding the red bell peppers  (Photo by T. Brack)

Say Fromage: Celebrating the new kitten Paris (Image: T. Brack’s collection)

Say Fromage: Celebrating the new kitten Paris (Image: T. Brack’s collection)

Fur Ball: A catnap is always a great idea, Marché aux Puces de Vanves (Photo by T. Brack)

Fur Ball: A catnap is always a great idea, Marché aux Puces de Vanves (Photo by T. Brack)

A Lion King holding court, Marché aux Puces de Vanves (Photo by T. Brack)

A Lion King holding court at noon, Marché aux Puces de Vanves (Photo by T. Brack)

Can you feel the love tonight? Marché aux Puces de Vanves (Photo by T. Brack)

Can you feel the love tonight? Marché aux Puces de Vanves (Photo by T. Brack)

Take Two: Still searching for the love, Marché aux Puces de Vanves (Photo by T. Brack)

Take Two: Still searching for the love, Marché aux Puces de Vanves (Photo by T. Brack)

Big Eyed Blues: Witchcraft Kitty Cat, Marché aux Puces de Vanves (Photo by T. Brack)

Big Eyed Blues: Witchcraft Kitty Cat, Marché aux Puces de Vanves (Photo by T. Brack)

Two Mellow Yellow Fellows, Marché aux Puces de Vanves (Photo by T. Brack)

Two Mellow Yellow Fellows, Marché aux Puces de Vanves (Photo by T. Brack)

Snap Chat: Striking a pose like no other, Paris (Image: T. Brack’s collection)

Snap Chat: Striking a pose like no other, Paris (Image: T. Brack’s collection)

Collect one kitten, and you may want the entire lot, Marché aux Puces de Vanves (Photo by T. Brack)

Collect one kitten, and you may want the entire lot, Marché aux Puces de Vanves (Photo by T. Brack)

Got cats on my mind and my mind on cats (Postcard: T. Brack’s collection)

Focus, T..: Got cats on my mind and my mind on cats (Postcard: T. Brack’s collection)

Sneak Attack Turn around bright eyes, Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen (Photo by T. Brack)

Sneak Attack Don’t turn around bright eyes, Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen (Photo by T. Brack)

Hear me Roar: All Alone in the Moonlight (Image: T. Brack’s collection)

Hear me Roar: All Alone in the Moonlight (Image: T. Brack’s collection)

brack-puss-51

Bonne Année! (Marie France e, 1948, T. Brack’s collection)

A Good Luck Charm (T. Brack's collection)

A Good Luck Charm  (T. Brack’s collection)

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52 thoughts on “Paris: Meet the Pusses at the Puces

    • OH, what splendid words! And thoughtful, too. Yes, cats are everywhere in Paris. I just added another favorite feline. This little critter guards the red bell peppers on rue d’Orsel. Head-over-heels, it was love at first sight.

      Enjoy the week!
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Yes! Yes! I completely agree, Mélanie! Say, have you seen the movie Chacun cherche son chat (1996). Directed by Cédric Klapisch, it was shot in Bastille. I highly recommend it.

      Great soundtrack, too!
      Theadora

      Like

  1. I loved “The AristoCats.” My favorite line was when Marie said “Ladies don’t start fights but they can finish them.” Plus there was great music. “Everybody wants to be a cat Because a cat’s the only cat Who knows where it’s at. Everybody’s pickin up on that feline beat.” Thank you for another remarkable post! You made my day pure sunshine. Meow…

    Liked by 1 person

    • And you made my day pure sunshine! Oh, what a great line. And yes, the soundtrack was fabulous. I also loved jaunty “The Aristocats” in the opening credits by Maurice Chevalier. “Which pets live on cream and loving pats? Naturalment! The Aristocats!”

      The cat’s pajamas!
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

  2. To paraphrase W.C. Fields “I’ve never met a cat a didn’t like”! We know our cats consider us “staff”. And we love it. They become our furry children. I have had a cat in my life since I was five years old and Minnie Jones appeared on our door-step. Minnie was a large male with frost-bitten ears who allowed me to dress him in discarded baby clothes and push him around the block in my doll carriage. I purred with delight at the thought of all the wonderful cat movies I can watch again and again. Miss T. you are the cat’s meow!

    Liked by 2 people

    • What a great quote. What a great cat story, Virginia! Do you have any photographs of Minnie? Lovely name, too. Frost-bitten ears? A rescue kitty? (Again, I highly recommend Chacun cherche son chat. Directed in 1996 by Cédric Klapisch, it takes place in Bastille. Beautifully shot. Very clever. No spoilers here!)

      More details about Minnie Jones, please!
      Theadora

      Like

      • Dear Miss T
        I named my cat after a woman that I became quite obsessed with as a child. Adults dismissed her as “away with the fairies”, but I thought she was wonderful. She wore a hat with purple velvet flowers. I have a pony tail hair clip with black velvet leaves and purple velvet flowers. Whenever I pull my long hair back I use my Minnie Jones Hair Clip. I tell all in my blog. XXOO Virginia
        https://belocchio.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/a-cat-named-minnie-jones/

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Virginia, Thanks for the lovely background story. Purple velvet flowers! I’m off now to read your Minnie Jones post . . .

        Big Hugs and enjoy the weekend!
        Theadora
        (I’m always away with the fairies! Whilst wearing my well-loved and coveted crushed blue velvet track suit.)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, yes, a splendid post and I had forgotten that “The Aristocats” was set in Paris. Thanks for sharing your cats. Your writing style is always so energetic that we want to come along with you on any adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

      • It is full of treasures. Brother (whom I love) is not that recommendable 😉 But I do fing it pleasant how some of us cross each other’s path. On a recent post, I featured a London pub, which as it turns out, is very close to an E-friend’s flat. 🙂
        Enjoy Paris, despite the bl..dy cold. Couvre-toi bien. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Merci! I still have a mad, mad crush on “Abraham de Lacey Giuseppe Casey Thomas O’Malley—O’Malley, the alley cat.” Do your grandkids have a favorite scene? Jaunty tune? I also recommend Une vie de chat. Directed by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol, it’s another beautiful animation.

      Theadora

      Like

  4. Very much enjoyed that post, so many overlaps with our experiences here in Bulgaria. I love that one of the cat in the vegetable basket among the red peppers

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been enjoying your “street kitty cat” series. I noticed a box shelter in one shot. I guess somebody is taking care of them? They’re gorgeous. And not afraid of you. Lovely direct eye contact. (Thanks for your kind words.)
      Enjoy the day,
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Theadora,
    I have no idea how I missed you last lovely post. Your posts all the time recall something from my long life experience. Cats are a big part of my life. I adore them. Through the life I lived with cats. The last one was pretty https://worldinyourimangination.wordpress.com/tag/chicholina/ and left warm and sweet memories. She lived with us for 14 years. Her life was full of sad stories before she came to our family. Unfortunately, she is not anymore with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about your kitty, Alexander. Chicholina. A beautiful name. A beautiful cat. Where did you find her? Or did she find you? Thanks for sharing the portrait. Quite the regal-looking chess player. Fierce. Perfection.
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chicholina had been born from “Royal” parents. Both of them were champions in their class on different cat’s competitions. By the time of birth she was sold by breeder to two Italian guys which have been on business trip to our country for a half a year. Unfortunately, it was really careless decision. These guys have bought her just for fun because she was really cute and funny. They did not care of her after she came to their apartment. She was hungry and dirty. Some time they even bit her. One day my wife’s girlfriend has been invited to their apartment with the other workmates of these guys for the party. When she has seen this terrible situation she asked immediately to sell cat to her. From this moment cat started normal life but the previous bad experience made her really untruthful. She were afraid of every single move to her. But it was not last ordeal for her. This woman had at home another pet – dachshund dog. From the beginning they were pretty good to each other but after dog gave a birth to her puppies the peaceful relations were broken. The dog began to fight cat. This woman loved both of them but it was not good for cat. So she phoned to my wife if we can take it. We did it with our pleasure and gave to Chicholina our best Love and Care. It took time she accepted our Love and then for fourteen years all of us were happy.

        Like

      • What a story, Alexander. I got a little weepy. YES. You and your wife are also my heroes. Fourteen years. You gave her such a great life. Lucky kitty cat. And she knew it. It’s crystal clear in the “Chess” portrait. Lovely, lovely eye contact.

        Thanks for sharing the good mews story.
        Theadora

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Theadora! After she passed away we decided do not have another pet at home. She was part of our family. The loss has broken our hearts. It worth to have animal at home when you know you and your friend can pass away pretty much at the same time.

        Like

    • I do! It’s always fun following your treasure hunts. Lizzie at the Vintage Traveler is another favorite. You both are vintage clothing gurus. (How are your mannequins doing? I haven’t spied them in awhile.)
      Enjoy the weekend!
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks so much, Theodora. As for the modeling girls, unfortunately they can’t come with me when I’m away from Headquarters. Madge, Stella, Daphne, Celia and Marlene are on holiday. They work pretty hard for me, so hope they’re having fun!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Another unique look at Paris life Theadora!! I wonder how you come up with all these fun ideas. My take away from this is that I really want to visit the Marche Aux Puces De Vanves!! And I wonder– Do you have a cat at home?? Thanks for always taking us on an interesting journey through Paris… Happy Weekend Theadora!! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Rhonda. Your thoughtful words always, always make my day. My week. Yes! The Porte de Vanves flea market is great fun. Eclectic and affordable. I recently found an old medical leech jar from 1888 for just a few euros. It’s still a beauty. And yes, I do have a kitty named Kitty. I found her near the hotel and bar where Edith Piaf was discovered.
      Enjoy the week!
      Theadora

      Like

  7. I love the one of the cat guarding the red bell peppers! I’ll have to see about watching the Aristocats again – just seeing that poster makes me feel nostalgic. Cats are great characters and Paris seems like the perfect place for them! You made me laugh with the “fur ball’s throw away” – I hope that kitten is doing better now!

    Like

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