Maggy Perry once owned the Fountain Bar at Dundas and Ossington. Her easygoing charm created a welcoming and inclusive environment spawning Sunday dinners and a host of regulars. While she was building her business, she was also falling in love with a Parisian. They've since gotten married, moved to Paris and are expecting their first child.
Maggy's mother-in law is a true Parisian lady and I've enjoyed hearing about the places and experiences that they have had together - my favourite being their trip to Drouot (the Paris auction house) to buy a marble table for 20 EUR. This past Friday, Maggy was my guide into this multiroom megaplex of auctions. We didn't end up buying anything (I did leave with a better grasp of French numbers and a few regrets) and ended our visit at her mother-in law's beautiful apartment in the Marais district. Many of the antiques and paintings came from auctions and fit beautifully in among the exquisite drapes, wood beam ceilings and completely deceiving silk flowers.
I highly recommend visiting Drouet auction house even if you're just visiting Paris briefly (and you like auctions). The facade and lobby are a little intimidating but once inside, the atmosphere is casual yet charged just like a Southern Ontario farm auction. There are video screens above the auctioneers updating where the bidding is at in multiple currencies so even if your French isn't great you can still follow along. The website offers a complete virtual tour of the rooms a day before each auction so you can research what takes your fancy. You don't need to register to buy, one of the assistants will take your cash or credit card during the auction. Everyone seemed to know each other and the regulars were hanging out afterwards, lamenting or celebrating their scores.