Sunday, October 16, 2011



We all have our favorite weekend activities and I have read about several on the net that have left me tinged with jealousy--apple-picking in the States, gardening in Normandy (I actually enjoy the grunt-work), and simply nesting all over the world. Sigh. Personally, nothing says weekend more to me than heading out to browse at an antique shop. It doesn't have to be fancy, actually I prefer a dépôt-vente or consignment shop, where all manner of items can be found.

One of my very favorites is L'Atelier de Dépôt-Vente. It is in the countryside outside of Eygaliéres,  one of the loveliest but also swankiest villages in the Alpilles. It is located within a simple hangar or metal barn that is stifling in the summer and freezing in the winter. That never prevents us of course, for often, when the new owners of a mas move to Provence they find that their goods just don't quite fit in with the new surroundings and let them go for a song.

Does that mean that there is always something to take home? Of course not! But the fun is as much in the hunt, as any brocanteur or brocanteuse can attest. Hmmm, so what was to be had for the offerings on our last trip? I was fascinated by this over the top Rococo cabinet (note the small skull on the fronton) that held a stuffed white cobra and a screeching owl within its doors as if to keep them from attacking the public.

Don't be fooled by the German Shepherd, he isn't there to guard but sneak up and give bisous on your hand! I thought that the pair of colonial style low-slung chairs behind him were similar to things that I have been seeing in several design magazines and blogs. I could easily picture them on a stone veranda in California.

I would have been tempted by this chair, sorely tempted if those gorgeous arms would only fit under my desk. I am a sucker for a worn animal print--in chenille no less. Just imagine the fine prose this could inspire me to? Alas, no.

This pair seemed to me to be the buy of the day at 80€. Beautifully sculpted, I believe out of Rosewood, nor could I see any nails, so probably more ancient than one would think. Do we have any place for them, chez nous? Absolutley not!  The same can be said for the romantic lithograph and the golden applique below but it doesn't stop me from redecorating in my mind.

So did we find anything, anything at all on this particular outing? Why yes! 

Drawn by the insanely kitschy photograph of a very literal interpretation of Coq en pâte, we bought the massive tome, "L'Art Culinaire Français" and were delighted to find that the photographs were the only thing dated about it. "This is the kind of book that my Mother had," Remi assured me. The recipes are written simply in paragraph form and cover absolutely every French basic that you could ever wish to whip up. I have casually left it out, just laying around, so that Monsieur le Chef can be inspired at will.

We also bought a set of glasses for 2€ each. They have a lovely feel in the hand and are a more solid alternative to our antique Baccarats (that Remi bought in Ecuador where they had been brought from a wealthy Cuban family!). We are invited to lunch in St. Remy today, so time permitting, we might swing over and buy a few more. At that price it is worth it to stock up, especially as Ben has quite a talent for breaking glasses with the swish of his tail.

As I was writing this, my initial thought was that we had never really bought anything "major" at this Dépôt-Vente, but I realised that wasn't true at all. My ciel de lit (that we finally put up yesterday--hooray!) came from there, our pair of antique basket lamps, both our everyday porcelain plates (very heavy, previously from a restaurant) and our "good" service (we were astonished to learn that each of the Le Jaune Chrome plates were worth $200 as we had paid 45€ for the set). The list goes on--even the brass cup that I keep our toothbrushes in was a gift from one of the owners! It is interesting when objects fit so well that their story is forgotten, they are just ours now. Who knows what we will find next!

Bon Dimanche, everyone.


  1. There is nothing quite like rummaging through a Depot-Vente, an activity I enjoy at the weekend or any time really. I love all the things you have photographed. But your latest purchase sent me scurrying to the bookshelves, we have an inherited copy of modern French Culinary Art published by Rene Kramer, a very similar book to yours with similar photographs but I love all the menu cards and notes left in it by the previous owner, MG's Father.
    Hope you have a lovely Sunday and Monsieur le Chef will be inspired to rustle up something wonderful.

  2. Even a virtual shopping expedition with you today was fun. I'm afraid I would buy something "just because." Actually for many years I had a beautiful chair for my desk with arms that, because they would not slip under my desk, forced me to stretch my arms to type. It took me years to reconcile myself to myself to reality. Now it sits next to my desk and I have a functional, and comfortable chair that makes writing less of a struggle -- the physicial part, not the mental (as you no doubt know).

    I trust it's as beautiful in your part of the world as it is in mine.


  3. This is my kind of day. I take great delight in mooching around a Dépôt-Vente and can be easily tempted by a piece I love, regardless of having the right space for it or not. Someone recently referred to my decorating style as quirky! I definitely would have bought the rosewood chairs. Warm wishes.

  4. Responses from three amazing ladies--hooray!

    Dash, sadly my book is empty of random notes and recipes--and was published by Flammarion in 1950 so not the same as yours. But I truly am tempted to make an entire post on the photos--they look so disgusting that I can't imagine that the book was success...? The pastries are all burnt! And we just came back from a monster lunch so I do believe that soup is in order for dinner!

    Tish, that far away chair must have wreaked havoc on your wrists! But who am I to say? My current chair is art deco with a lovely patina in the leather but the seat droops below the wooden structure, entirely cutting off the circulation in my legs. Ow. Yes, the weather is beyond magical--we had the apero and coffee outside today! In-sane.

    Elizabeth, you must have a larger home than we do! :) Truly now it is a game of "if we get this than we would have to get rid of that". Sigh. Doesn't take the fun out of it though!

    I am wondering if you two Parisiennnes go to the Porte de Vanves flea on the weekends--we bought our whole home there!

  5. Every time I've tried to go they've been closed! I'll try harder, now that I see all the fun stuff they have. xx

  6. And yes, it does indeed suck to go all they way out there (well, for us it is far) only to find them closed. Here is their phone number in case you wish to call in advance: 04 90 94 35 63. Talked about you today at lunch with our friends! :)

  7. Thank you for the virtual shopping trip!

  8. While we had a very nice weekend working outside all day, getting ready for winter cleaning out gardens and stacking wood I would have enjoyed antiquing. That chair with the leopard print is wonderful but really chintz? And I would have jumped all over that litho print and those scones. Probably just as well I wasn’t antiquing with you had I brought home one more chair the husband would have hit the ceiling….I have a chair thing…. ;)

  9. I think poking around antique shops is about my most favourite thing to do on a weekend too. I don't even particularly care if I buy or not, (I really cannot fit one more piece of anything into my house anyway!). It is just the fun of hunting.

    Your weekend was more glamourous than mine - because while you were perusing these treasures, I was swinging a sledge hammer to knock down our very tragic shed to make more room for the garden.

    The recipe book looks fascinating! Is Remi going to attempt the pastry bird? Virginia xx

  10. Judith, thanks for stopping by--I have signed up to receive updates from your amazing website!

    Debra, I agree, chairs are the shoes of decor--you can never have enough!

    And Virginia, a little demolition work does the spirit some good! Raaargggh! As for the bird? Hm, something tells :)

  11. shopping is my favourite pastime..:) wonderful things...its been nice to just look...I think i would have made room, had i perused there xoxo

  12. OKAY!Now this is fun!I have a sign in my kitchen that says"BROCANTE VENTE DEPOT"what exactly does that say!I have always thought it meant stall 20 at the flea market.How close was I?As for the baccarat glasses,which style do you own?My wedding glass is MESSINA.Carved and heavy!The glasses you bought for 2E are gorgeous!Love the book too!Those chairs were a steal at 80E.............BUT if we dont need them good of YOU to let them stay put!

  13. Trust me J9, I have walked around and around our apartment wondering if there really was room for any more of it after reading the comments here!

    Now, Signorina la Contessa, you were a liiiittle off but I see what you were thinking! Your sign simply means "Antiques/Consignment Shop" even though a brocante is a friendlier place than a snooty type of antiques store. For info, 20 is "vingt"--so pretty close! I actually like your version better, so I say keep it! As for the Baccarats--I have no clue! I'll email you a photo. Bisous.

  14. Do you feel the jealousy I'm oozing over here? The shopping opportunities in France are so amazing. There's truly no better place in the world. But alas, no lustre? P.S. No France for me on my next trip but some time next year for sure. :)

  15. Booo! But I am sure it is for a good reason as by now, you have probably understood that Remi is an awesome cook and I am a good...sommelier! :o You are welcome whenever you want Miss and I promise to take you around to the good spots!

  16. I love that depot vente...I have found some real goodies there...glasss too! xv

  17. Ah ha! But what I want to know is, where on earth did you find that insanely beautiful fan? :)

  18. Dear sweet Heather,
    I always love to read your comments on my blog! You always makes me smile!!
    I hope to visit you ever and I wish we can go to a depot vente together!! I do love this!! And I am sure we will have a good time!

  19. Oh Greet, I would love it if you we could meet! And I agree, I know that we would have a very fine time. :) Hmm, I have an idea, perhaps involving next Summer...

    And I mean what I write on your blog--it always inspires not only me (of course) but so many, many people all across the world. Amazing!


Your responses are what makes this blog so special to me. I love hearing from you. Thank you for visiting!

* Comments left on posts two days after publication or more will be published after moderation. So not to worry, they will arrive and again, I appreciate them all so very much...Merci! *

If you prefer, feel free to email me directly at robinsonheather (at)