Blog/ a bit of buzz about Rome and Italy.

Miss France

Via della Scrofa is my favorite road in Rome, probably because of its schizophrenic views– facing north is a straight shot glimpse to the clean lines of Richard Meier’s Ara Pacis while a turn south invites you into the ant-farm chaos of Rome. I could say it reminds me of. . . well, moi, always with two contradictory view points. A continuation of Via di Ripetta, via della Scrofa connects the dots that make the multi-personality Rome portrait. And it just happens to have the shops guaranteed to make me happy: Arcon at #104 (fabulous furniture- oh sing to me, Kartell!), Volpetti at  #31, (the gastronomist’s dream, location 2), Libreria Dotti at #58 (rare books, first editions), and finally, Miss France at #13.

For a long time, I’d walk up and down Via della Scrofa wondering  what Miss France was. A jam-packed window of stuff hiding a tiny store that was never open. In my head, it was an old lingerie store left to decay, while its two ancient owners watched visitors from across the street, some how locked both in their apartment and in a time warp of never-ending nicknacks.  I always felt a bit nostalgic and maybe even melancholy when I looked in the window- Smurfette gazing back at me, reminding me of growing up in the 80s, my friends and sisters in cities far away.  And inevitably it made me laugh- who in world would possibly be looking for  fluorescent earings, adult-sized Disney t-shirts or a used baby bib? Genius.

This past Friday night, I solved the mystery behind Miss France,  à la  The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vault, G. Rivera, 1986.  Nope, no couple locked in their house, but a very friendly and polite Maryse Fabre, Miss France 1956. Maryse collects things- from clothing and accessories to stories, all of which she willingly shares from 9 pm to 1 am on most Friday and Saturday evenings. Some of her found items are gorgeous (with even more gorgeous labels like Cardin, Chloe and Cacharel), others are not, and most all are used.

Walking the streets on a Friday night? Pop in for a visit.  Note to the curious, Miss France only accepts one person at a time.

Miss France, nocturne

via della Scrofa 13

certain Fridays and Saturdays, 9pm to 1 am

8 comments on “Miss France

  1. this is a good find in Rome- i shall share this with my friends who like used/vintage shopping. i also love via della scrofa- esp the Antico Forno on the corner of via della stelletta. x shayma

    • I love the forno and the salumeria across the street. i think i just love the whole street. Were you here a few years back when Enel decorated via della Scrofa (all the way to Ara Pacis) with halo-like lights? It was beautiful

  2. Certainly the most unique vintage shop in the city. I love when Maryse disappears into the inner sanctums to uncover a treasure- who knows what kind of things are buried back there. I only wish she was open longer hours !

  3. I used to think exactly the same each time when I lived in Rome and saw almost every day that store by day, always closed, so mysterious, and with all these 80’s clothes, items, shoes etc… and one night by 10pm I saw light inside and I spoke with Maryde Fabre for like 2 hours. The store is tiny like you said but she knows exactly what she got inside and if you ask her what you’re looking for she will find it really fast. It’s a real Ali Baba’s cave and it’s not so expensive.
    I’d only like she opens more often, sometimes when she’s tired or when it’s to hot she just decides not to open the store and when you have to go back in your country the next day, it’s kind of frustrating! She doesn’t have a website or a e-mail neither, too bad!

    PS : one of my favorite streets is Via Margutta, which is a very artistic street, with lots of trees and so quiet that you can’t think you’re just in the centre of one of the most touristic cities of the world.
    There is also a little place called Arco degli acetari that I love, not so easy to find, it’s really in the centre, near Campo de’ Fiori but well hidden! Worth the shot to go and see!


  4. I am visiting Rome from Canada and stumbled across this wonderful little shop today. She was inside doing some cleaning (while I was peeking curiously in the window) and she came out to say hi. She said she only opened at night but invited me in for a drink and a look anyway. I ended up leaving with a beautiful vintage lambskin Chanel purse for a steal! The same ones are going for $1000 plus on Ebay. What a find!

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