A walk about at the French brocante. I came upon this stand that had so many things that I liked, that I took a photo of the stool, and while I was doing that it sold. Lesson: First do what you should do (ask the price), then take a photo. I missed two things while taking photos, ding dong is anyone home. I know better. The stool was bad enough, but the painting I missed while taking a photo of something I bought unnerved me. Even French Husband shook his head in disbelief. Have you ever let something slip through your fingers and as it is slipping you want to rewind the clock hands. The problem with antiquing is when you see something unusual being sold you know there isn't another one to be had.
A painted dresser, and a yellow bird cage.
If the apartment in Cassis was already renovated I might have been tempted to buy these two pieces. Though considering I can barely squeeze my hips through the old stairwell, I knew better than to buy anything for Cassis until we have a clearer idea how to create a new stairs.
One of the stands at the brocante had boxes and boxes of silver. Perfect condition. It appeared to have come straight out of someone's armoire, then heaped into boxes. The box of tea and coffee pots with wooden handles reminded me of this elderly lady who use to live in our apartment building when I first arrived in France. She would invite me for tea, and as I sat there barely understanding a word she said, I think she needed someone to talk to, and since I was all ears and no French vocal cords... I was invited often. While she talked, I would drool over her apartment appointed with eighteen century wonders right and left. One day when I went to visit, many of the things I admired where missing, when I pointed to the empty spaces and shrugged as to say, "What happened?" She told me she called a brocanteur to come and take the old stuff away, 'I am old, I since I do not have children who would want this stuff..." It took everything I had not to spill my tea and cry.
As my work in brocanting is finding things for clients and selling little bits on my online shop, the best part of what I do is the search, the discovery, going to different villages and buying brocante wares. I come across more than I can buy. The problem is not finding things, the problem is finding too much. Or in other words wanting to take everything home and then finding new homes for it all. But I cannot do that... that's crazy, I would have to have a warehouse every month, if I ever figure out how to do it, without going broke I will.
You might think I am joking, but I am not. You might think I am crazy, let's just say passionate to an extreme.
Sewing items, cufflinks, lace, ribbons, beads...
Armchairs, paintings, garden furniture, easels, plant stands,
A friend suggested that I open a museum.
I guess I could write on each and every one of the description tags:
Found at the French brocante
1700 to 1900s,
Bought it because I liked it.
Random photos of a walk about at the brocante.
This painted metal clock.
Isn't it funny how he is holding it? As if it could bite him.
1700s gilded wood console
French Husband asked, "Why?"
I whispered, "Because."
He leaned in, "That isn't a good answer."
I smiled, "It is better than saying I'll buy it."
He leaned back and shook his head yes, then sheepishly asked, "Do you want it?"
"Yes, but not at that price, not even if it is worth it."
"Oh okay I understand," then he spent the next twenty minutes asking the dealer all about the piece.
I did not buy it.
A green painted frame with a round painting of the seaside.
I did not buy it.
A box full of 1900s pink floral dishes.
I did not ask the price because some where chipped...
As if that has ever been an issue.
Flowers that keep on blooming without ever releasing their scent.
A metal lamp, a wooden folding chair, a chandler, a coat rack, a painting, a red table... no bother, no temptation.
Painting portrait on ivory, and a bronze medal portrait.
An etching of two children.
I am going to put this on my online shop.
There was a large school teacher's portfolio stuffed with colorful children's paintings.
Two large round decorative platters.
As you can see there was a large variety at the brocante, valuable to not so, lovely to ugly, little to big, expensive to cheap.
Something for everyone.
A bunch of little things.
As if someone dump a drawer inside a box.
The colors and tones, or lack of color I found attractive, French Husband found it depressing.
Sometimes I wonder if bringing him to the brocante was a good habit to get into. He never had an opinion before, now he is talking paint colors for Cassis.
A collection makes things pop!
A collection of vintage restaurant wine jugs.
There is always a stand or two selling vintage Chanel, Hermes, Dior... thankfully I am not into that stuff, otherwise I would be diving off the deep end, gone forever lost at the brocante.
Most brocantes in France are a little of everything, all mixed up and poured out. Sure there are fancier antique markets, but the goal is to find things at a good price. At these brocantes, the prices vary from ridiculous to real bargains, mostly good deals. But you gotta like hide and seek, cause most the time the diamond is not going to be cut, shiny and in a velvet box, instead it is going to be stuffed in a shoe, under a bunch of magazines, with ten blankets stacked on top.
Dirt does gather under a brocanteurs finger nails.
Disney and 19th century carved marble bookends.
Where do they find their stuff? Second hand stores, dumpster diving, auctions, smaller brocantes, or they work for disposal services...
Wine barrel tasting cups, just a sip will do you.
One of the pleasures of going to the French brocantes is discovering new places, old towns, off the beaten track beautiful sites... most have a view.
Ruth and I (The French Muse Experience) love to take our groups to these sorts of places... a brocante with a view, a good restaurant nearby, brocanteurs that open their homes to us because we have been buying off of them for so long that we became friends, brocantes that offer the whole package.
It was hard to pass this zinc tub up. Usually they are hole ridden inside, this one wasn't. I could see it in Cassis, in the bedroom (exposed tub for romantic bathing)... Though I could hear my son screaming in my head, "...NOT PRACTICAL!"
Oh man is it going to be tough to please him and me at the same time.
A white pickup's trunk open,
A three hundred year old stone paved road,
A white 1900s bedsheet gracefully covering the mud from last night's rain,
silver champagne buckets lined up.
A drank it in.
Easter chocolate moulds.
Of course the loved stuffed animals always stop us in our tracks.
French Husband coos and reverts to childhood in a nanosecond, or maybe he was a stuffed animal in his former life? I mean he has an attraction border-lining obsession for stuffed animals. Though here is the thing, he doesn't want to buy them, or I should say he buys one or two a year, but we see five or six stuffed animals every week.
OH!!! He could open a zoo, and I could open a museum.
There's an idea!
If you want Provencal antiques, then it stands to reason you want to go antiquing in Provence.
If you want Creil dishes, go north.
If you want rustic antiques head to the middle of France...
Oh how the little paper tags tickled me.
Admiring sweetness, glad I can, glad I live is a place that respects beauty and keeps it safe, no matter if it costs two cents or two million.