Friday, May 30, 2014

The Antiques Fair at L'Isle sur la Sorgue, Part 3

Ba-da-bling-ba-da-boom. You didn't think that I would forget you?

Yee of the antiques-loving, "can't get me enough of that patina" variety?

Well, of course not, shame on you. I wouldn't any more than I would throw those beautiful volets that are lined up against the oh-so-quaint canal running through L'Isle sur la Sorgue out into the trash! Why, they could be used as a headboard, or doors for a built in closet or as room dividers or wall decorations...but I digress...

Perhaps it is time for a breather after all? Certainly no proper French person would dream of strolling through the Antiques Fair for an entire day without a bit of proper refreshment and besides, better to rest up a bit to prepare. For now...

...We are ready for the big time.

And I do mean big, over-size, huge even! Where on Earth did this lantern come from? Versailles? It is the size of a Citroën 2CV! But ah, how very magnificent it is, non? Can't you imagine it, lying just like it is, on it's side in the middle of a castle designed by Axel Vervoordt? I can. Perhaps we should call him.

I think that he would like the simplicity of the 18th century wrought iron chandelier as well. I did. And the statue actually is very fine although my photos don't begin to do it justice. The seller was going for mood lighting. It made for a charming scene, I have to admit.

Even if at times, the ambiance was a tad...overwhelming.

No better to focus in, such as on the inscription that Remi deciphered on this framed branch of black coral...signed by an Italian professor in the 1800's.

Still attracted by largesse? All right, I admit it, over-size lanterns seem to be something of a is - paradoxically - mid-century modern, although those pieces all looked rather scruffy to me...

...But of course, "scruffy" is relative. As this right here my friends was my favorite piece of the day. Although would I like it once it was renovated? Alas, I would not.

Goodness, all of that gold-leaf can be oppressive, can't it? Let's get some fresh air...

...and say our adieus outside now that the bustle is fading and the sellers are starting to pack up their wares.

Ah, what is that you say? Au revoir and not adieu? How right you are, for we both know that you will want to return to the semi-annual Antiques Fair at L'sle sur la Sorgue, as well I. The next is for August 14th - 17th. See you there...

PS. I will be cutting down my posting schedule to (most likely) twice a week while I am in the States. Thank you for your understanding and for all of your well-wishes.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

One door

There is one door to open, another to walk through and finally the one that closes behind.

I am becoming increasingly aware of Arles taking form around me as my time here is most likely drawing to an end.

The details of my daily life, the ones that I have stopped seeing, are sprouting into bas-relief as I reach out towards the handle on the door ahead...

...wondering where it will take me. How far and fast I will go.

Off I go to America, to visit my wonderful family there and to have a change of air. While I have prepared many posts photographically, they are yet to be written, let alone posted, so if for any reason there is silence on these air waves on the days to come, not to worry but please stay tuned...

With my Best from Arles,

Monday, May 26, 2014

Walking blind

Saturday we visited our old picnic spot. I have seen it all of the seasons now - well, all of our seasons in the South of France. After eating and drinking plus spilling a bit of wine, we slept. Remi in the sun, me in the shade and the dogs alternating back and forth between the two. When I woke up, they were restless and so we did the stroll around the perimeter of the vines, the one that I always do, slowly, consciously, as if I were the owner of the land. As if I belonged there.

The sun was piercingly bright, reverberating off the edges of the blue, blue sky. So much so that I couldn't really see what I was doing in taking my photos, those photos, some souvenirs. But I kept clicking away, nonetheless. Pointing at shadows, zooming aimlessly towards forms and definitions. I was walking blind.

This morning, I feel the same for France. In yesterday's elections for the European Union, the Front National party won the day with 25% of the vote and claiming victory in 71 out of France's 101 départements. By doing so, they will now have the greatest number of seats out of the political parties in representing the country for the EU Parliament - which in itself is ironic as the FN wants out of the Union entirely. Today there has been much discussion with some proclaiming that the real tragedy is that 57% of the population did not vote which means that roughly just over 10% of the French chose the FN. Over half did not vote and this is the result. I am reeling, exhausted with disappointment and fear. How else is a foreigner living in this country supposed to feel?

Do I understand that the French economy is not really recovering and that people are frustrated to extremes by a perceived lack of options? I do. But "to extremes"? Just as with that walk I keep taking, I will keep repeating, "Have we learned nothing from History?" France lived through the Second World War. There are those in these streets that knew what it was for Arles to have been occupied by the Nazis. In the United States it is Memorial Day. We are called upon to give respect for those that have fought, who have served and those who lost their lives in the process. We have to remember. To understand what was and what can be.

I want to hear the details of proposed policies beyond ideologies from the Front National party. For this election is solid proof that they are indeed advancing even if stumbling forward while shouting at the sun.

For those of you that read French, you can see an outline of the FN's suggested policies: here.

Thank you for being here, thank you for reading...

To see more from my Contrasts in Provence series, you can do so here and here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Antiques Fair at L'Isle sur la Sorgue, Part two

Ah, you are back. What's that? I think that you meant to say, "May I please see some more photos from the antiques fair at L'Isle sur la Sorgue?"

Très bien, since you asked so nicely, why don't you pull up a Tolix and we'll have a look.

You would like something more comfortable? Oh goodness, aren't we spoiled but yes, by all means just hunt over there...maybe one of those Louis XVI replicas are cushy enough for you...Of course they are replicas. Otherwise you can trust me, they would hardly be scattered all willy-nilly on the grass like that.

Ah, you have noticed there is more umph have you? 

Well, that is because we have crossed over the stream and onto the main grounds of the fair...

...those reserved for outside vendors with a little something share.

But you liked all of the bric-a-brac stands? 

Oh, fine then. Go, go, by all means go and good luck with whatever you may find there.

Because, you see, for those in the know, the gardens are where the biggie items can be found...

...those that command presence

Hmm? Oh yes, the industrial look is still hanging in there, amazingly...

...although the tendency seems to be towards pieces which are practically artworks in themselves such as this siphon...Yes, it does look like something one could find in a temple. A temple to wine! 

How I do crack myself up. Or quack myself up! Ha-ha!

This table was tempting, awfully tempting. Only 450 Euros too. Quite the bargain.

Are you still thinking about wine now that I brought it up? 

All right then, sit down for a minute...

...I'll clean up two of these and go find us something cool.

Dear me. I was stopped in my tracks by this! Demi-tour s'il te plait! Seven years of bad juju and all that. Looks like something or someone had a bit of a rough trip. Buh-dum-dum.

Ah, you found my chou-chou. That little repose-pieds probably should have come home with me after all, despite its dire need for an update, it was my favorite piece of the whole day...the candelabra? Don't you remember that I already have a pair? Oh, you do...

Pardon? You think that I am going to give them to you? Ma chére, there is about as much chance of that as my becoming mayor of Arles!

Now don't dawdle...come along...there is still much, much more to see.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Antiques Fair at L'Isle sur la Sorgue

Why, hello there. Would you like to go shopping with me? It's a beautiful day out, why not? What? Oh, for antiques of course. Is there anything better? 

For you see, while we were up at the world's most peaceful mazet recently, the twice yearly Foire Internationale Art et Antiquités was being presented at a mere ten minutes drive away in the always beautiful L'Isle sur la Sorgue.

So what say you? Shall we swan along together? A tiny bit of time travel will be required but just wiggle your nose Bewitched-like and we're off...This week's posts will be dedicated to a little virtual wish-listing. And while I am sure that Remi will sigh in exasperation at my including too many photos (as usual), I wanted to make sure that there was something for everyone...

Of course, all of the usual suspects were present, such as charming old pétanque balls...

...eye-blinding bling... vannerie that would look very smart slung over a crooked elbow at the farmer's market back home... - the perpetual favorite - pots à conserve whose prices finally seem to be going back down... well as grain sacks waiting to be plumped into expensive scratchy pillows or upholstery in upscale boutiques around the world.

But there were a lot of unusual items as well. 

I was especially fascinated by these oriental molds for printing wall paper. Wouldn't they look lovely mounted in a group in a hallway or in a bath? 

Similarly, Remi and I were both drawn to this set of silver molds until we saw that A) it was 287 Euros and B) it was made of ivory. Ahhh, non et non.

For the intrepid, there were many tables crammed with interesting and inexpensive bric-a-brac to trawl through. Alas, patience is not exactly my middle name...

No, I was drawn by the bigger gestures and especially the stands that offered an intact aesthetic, such as with this seller's juxtaposition of French provincial with Asian antiques. Now we are talking.

These six sculpted Chinese flowers might have gone home with me in better days (ahem) and I loved how beautifully they complimented the gorgeous faded colorway of the dresser.

Of course, there were plenty of smaller pieces that caught my eye.

Who can ever have enough crackly old suitcases to stack at the end of the bed...

...or passmenterie to pull back those extra long linen drapes?

Pieces with authentic or even exaggerated patina were still in abundance, even while the "whitewash everything/Annie Sloan chalk paint" look is fading into the past.

Simple seems to be the order of the day, which is just fine by me... well as using basic items or materials creatively, such as these stacked (albeit wobbly) vegetable crates as end tables...

...or sections of old Indonesian boats to form a perfect outdoor sofa (although I will pass on the hot pink plastic Rhino head, thank you very much).

Not all of the faire's 250 vendors (in addition to the permanent shops) are in the old goods business. 

I knew that I had seen the yellow mid-century style console before and sure enough, everything at this stand was the work of two young women from Arles. Eve and Soriana, created their company En goguette (which means "a little bit drunk") in 2009 and since then have been creating their designs out of cardboard. The results are precisely well thought out, fun and environmentally friendly. 

Which is just wonderful. For while it is always a delight to puff up the dust of the past, how important it can be to keep one eye squinting directly towards the future...

Have a wonderful week everyone! More soon...
And thank you kindly for all of your interest concerning Vickie Lester's "It's in His Kiss" tickled me pink.