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Bonjour et bienvenue! I’m Claudia Strasser and started The Paris Apartment in 1993.  I’d been working in France as a volunteer on archaeological restorations, and when the projects were finished, moved to Paris to work as an au pair. The family lived in a quintessential fairytale apartment where the walls looked like icing ona cake. Even my tiny room was beautifully appointed, and it was there I realized that even the smallest of spaces can be grand when everything in it was special. On days off I’d hit the flea market which was a fascinating, living museum. It became my playground to study the past and understand the traditions of a formal yet whimsical, playful society. On the card tables were strewn remnants of a delightful era where feather fans, silk and satin fabrics, tassels, slipper chairs and chandeliers were bits and pieces of a bygone era I could excavate. I began to appreciate the subtleties of French design and its incorporation of the feminine in everything from architecture to furniture, textiles, gardening and art. Returning stateside, I wanted to do something using my hands as well as my head. When I came across a 400 square foot shop on East 9th Street in New York’s East village, it became the perfect venue to indulge in my obsession and take the inspiration I’d gotten from France. We filled it with feminine French furnishings and set it up as a petite apartment. It became a sort of creative salon where we painted and repaired flea market finds, reincarnating them into sparkling treasures for the boudoir. In contrast to the gritty neighborhood, it stood out as a little jewel box and I was asked to write a decorating book showcasing the style.  In 1995 we published ‘The Paris Apartment, Romantic Decor on a Fleamarket Budget’ and the rest was history.

Eventually it was time to close the store and work on other projects. After 18 years I said goodbye to New York and moved to Miami Beach. The Paris Apartment now has a variety of new incarnations. I take clients shopping at the flea markets in France, and continue to grow the boutique online. Paris Flea Market Style was published a couple of years ago, and our iPhone app is all about navigating flea markets, titled, Keys to the Fleas, Paris.

This natural evolution has helped focus and define the mission of The Paris Apartment. By sharing knowledge we hope to provide a lifetime education through our services. Taking clients to Paris has been a way to use my experience in decoding the maze of markets. I love introducing clients to my friends in France and their sources, offering techniques to negotiate, showing  them ways to save money, teaching them how to export and handle red tape with taxes, duties, customs and insurance. At the end of a trip they are armed with skills that will last a lifetime. My hope is that the products we offer in our online boutique will become treasured heirlooms. When we decorate, we create rooms that reflect the individual’s style and assist with self expression. We provide personal, top quality service and still stand by the motto that ‘the customer is always right’.

Above all, I’m glad you’re here. So much of my inspiration comes from your passion; my fellow bloggers, photographers, readers, writers, armchair travelers, clients and crafters who share the love of all things French as much as I do.  Thank you for your generous, sweet comments, they mean so much to me. Please say hi when you can and share either your blog or one you adore.

p.s. If you got this far: feel free to use any of my images, just credit and link to it, s’il vous plait et merci beaucoup and we’ll do the same.

p.s.s. if you ever wanted to know why i write the blog in all small letters, i’ll tell you now: it’s cause all day long i have to be miss meticulous with letters and emails and articles and and and and! this is my little corner where i can just write freely without worrying or having to be perfect, c’est tout! et alors, back to work~

~xoc

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