The French Connection ... Sixième Note- à la brocante

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Brocantes are many things. part antique store, part thrift shop, part junk and salvage. Always a little part heavenly! for me, they are made all the more interesting because it is all old FRENCH stuff and somehow all the more intriguing. Sometimes that may be because a lot of what you find will be naturally older ... because folks have been around a lot longer in these parts so even their old crap is more interesting ... ha!

While I have been up here in northern France, between Soissons and Reims ... I haven't spent too much time yet sniffing out the good spots.

However I have regularly passed a pair of shops and been curious, so today I dashed by one and have some photos to share with you, my fellow armchair "chineurs" (loosely translated, to chiner or shee-nay, you are scouting or thrifting or antique hunting or somesuch, in a brocante or at a vide-grenier / flea market).

So this one is not very creatively named Antiquités et Brocante du Laonnais. The owner lives there, his house is attached to a big garage/warehouse for his store and it is located on a very organized, neat as a pin property.

Here are some highlights ...

Before we head inside, here were a few treasures arranged in the courtyard ... next to functional items like cords and cords of firewood !

This is a really lovely gate in good condition for its age ... likely 20s or 30s ... not too much rust and the lock functioned too.

Leaning against it was ....

This gorgeous window (well, mostly frame now)

There were four to six of these out and about, in varying degrees of decay. I have fun just imagining the chateau or manor that these graced in their better years.

These are amazing architectural pieces, salvage to be sure, but I could go crazy picturing the various design possibilities even one of these could afford.

approaching the entrance, it was great to see some humor and attention had been used in the displays ...

Hey look, he loves chairs too! and I got a few inspirations for The Bohemians as well ...

this also made me think that if you have a single chair that you adore ... not too heavy, maybe even kind of fragile ... why not think about putting it up as wall art?

I might try that, so there!

Heading inside, I soon discovered it was a little more antiques than thrift, with lots of huge old wooden furniture items like ancient armoires, bureaus, kitchen cabinets of old ... many beautiful big things and a lesser selection of 'smalls' ...

but these were some wonderful candelabra and the clock wasn't so bad either!

This armoire was ENORMOUS and I loved the women's faces carved on each door ... do you?

A beautiful sideboard, the wood and carved details were a beautiful honey brown ...and of course there were SOME goodies throughout , but not as 'sanford and son' as some of the shops you find:

these little gals caught my eye ... especially the one in the green dress ...

a serene art deco plaster sculpture ...

chairs more chairs, and a collection of old cast iron irons ....

heading back outside a few things I missed on the way in ... a cool old buffet with a birdy theme, and a collection of old pitchers ... some in zinc, some enamel.

and this group of funky old wood or coal stoves, how did I miss those on the way in??

Finally though, one of my most favorite discoveries and one I will probably be going back to bargain for were these ..

a ginormous pile of old floor tiles ... and there was another one, smaller, but all from one cool old floor ... I dream of putting a whole floor of these in, possible a bath or sunroom ... I actually think it would be even more fun to have a whole room floor with mismatched but unique tiles ... that requires a chunk of time for sorting and reflecting, which I didn't have today.

Well, that concludes my small tour ... thanks for coming along with me, hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Looking forward to next week's update, because it will be after the Maison et Objet conference in Paris and I hope to have loads of décor madness to share! à bientôt!

*all images courtesy of Kimberlee Mancha

Our guest correspondent for The French Connection is Kimberlee Mancha, mother of Johnelle and co-founder of Mignonne Décor. Now living in France, Kimberlee started our sister shop "The Bohemians" in 2009. She will be providing live updates for all you Francophiles and lovers of beautiful European inspirations.



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