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.