Saturday in Villeneuve lès Avignon

February 27th, 2010 comments 0

Saturday mornings, just across the Rhone river from Avignon in the small village of Villeneuve, the brocante vendors set up their stands in a large parking lot. The sun’s not up when they arrive so if you’re an early riser it’s best to take a flashlight. I never seem to get there that early. I practice a sort of zen-antiquing. I assume that the objects that are meant for me will still be there once I arrive.

I probably miss a few things by hitting snooze on the alarm but I can quickly justify my last minutes in bed; I must give the pizza man time to heat up the oven in his van. Yes, his van. We call them ‘Pizza Trucks’ and you’ll spot them parked on the roadsides and in various parking lots every night of the week. The side of the van swings up to form an awning of sorts which serves as a local gathering spot. As the pies bake the gossip spreads.

The pizza quality varies from truck to truck so once you find your favorite you stay loyal. The “pizza man” himself is as individual as his pizza. When our family lived near Grenoble our favorite pizza man dished out as much philosophy and politics as he did pizza. Tuesday was his day in our village and we visited him almost every week for over a year until one night his truck failed to appear at the designated wide spot in the road. His absence and his disconnected cell phone led us to speculate that his politics had finally caught up with him.

And so off we set today, this fine February morning knowing that should our brocante efforts fail, the consolation prize would be a hot slice and a chat with the pizza man. This one’s an avid skier so I did have a momentary panic that he might be off on a ski holiday…..

Villeneuve can be hit and miss in the winter but we arrived to a parking lot overflowing with dealers. This is the place to buy small to medium sized goodies: linens, silver, pottery, accessories, junk-lots of it, garden, collectibles, jewelry, ethnic…. There’s even a man that will redo the cane or straw seat of your chair.

What did I find today other than pizza? 2 stunning porte Louis, 2 lovely reliquaires, a charming sampler book of lace work and the rest will be a surprise. You’ll see them in the online shop soon.

Villeneuve les Avignon - blue pizza truck lower right photo

Casse la Tête

February 25th, 2010 comments 0

It’s Thursday and this isn’t the photo gallery I promised (myself). Instead I’ve substituted a self portrait. See the doll below?1 Notice anything unusual about her head? In French the phrase casse la tête means to rack one’s brains and mine have been racked to the point that my head is no longer attached to my body.

I’m obviously new (or late) to the blogging party. And while I’m fairly comfortable on a computer it appears that I’ve chosen a ‘highly customize-able blogging platform’. That sounds good, right? What I didn’t realize was that ‘customize-able’ meant code and that meant learning a new language. As if learning French wasn’t hard enough.

Today my eyes are all a-twitter from staring at a screen full of symbols. And even if I had had a chance to photograph some of the ‘sweet brocante somethings’ I’ve found, I’m afraid my eyes wouldn’t have been able to focus on them. So I’m going to give my eyes a break from the computer screen, attempt to glue my head back on and tomorrow I’ll set my sights on the photos.

  1. See how easy it is to lose your head at the brocantes? At a brocante you’ll find antique and vintage items of all sorts and sizes. Our tribe calls it heaven.

Vide-Armoire

February 24th, 2010 comments 0

Once a year, usually during the fair weather season, the small villages of France hold a vide-grenier. Literally the French translates to ’empty attic’ while you and I would recognize the event as a neighborhood garage sale.

Ours takes place in the parking lot of our community center. There are always a few professional sellers who make the circuit, village to village selling their wares. You can spot them with their well thought out displays. The rest are just locals trying to lighten their household loads. There’s a great sense of community at our event. It’s worth going for our neighbors tasty baked goods, but my mission is clear; I can always find a treasure in another woman’s junk.

I don’t have an attic in this house, but I do have armoires…… yes 3 of them. And it seems I’ve just purchased another so it’s time to empty those armoires and take stock. I imagine in the process I’ll find a few treasures to add to the online shop and I just might (fingers crossed) create a little space for those inevitable ‘somethings’ that are destined to follow me home from this springs sale.

not a true armoire - this one's called a deux corps

Sundays in Isle

February 21st, 2010 comments 0

Sunday is the day in l’Isle sur la Sorgue. On one side of the river that runs through this well-known little antique haven you’ll find a weekly market. Fresh fruit and veg line up next to tapenade and pintade.

Scarves and lavender compete openly with goat cheese. Olive wood bowls stare down a vendor offering vintage country western cassette tapes. It’s the colors and smells of Provence seasoned with a dash of funny.

But, it’s the other side of the river that sings to me. Along the street facing ‘antique row’ the brocante vendors set up their tables beckoning me to take a look. Many have become good friends so please stay tuned and in the months to come I’ll introduce you.

The Sunshine Brought the Birds Today

February 20th, 2010 comments 0

Is it spring where you are?

In the Online Shop

February 20th, 2010 comments 8

The one and only Les Habits Neufs bags from our 2008 antique shows. We have a limited quantity of these beauties left so we’ve adjusted the prices accordingly. Continue reading to see photos and details of the styles currently available online or go to the online shop to make your purchase.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Two Maisons Online

February 20th, 2010 comments 0

Welcome. The Chine Antiques website has evolved to a blog format in hopes that it will give me a bit more space to rattle on about my antique and vintage treasures and the antique markets I frequent. Each week, with a little luck, I’ll be posting new additions to the Two Maisons online shop. On Thursdays I’ll post a gallery of small photos of new finds. A little temptation never hurt anyone did it? “And why Thursday?” you ask. Oh, I don’t know. I always liked Thursdays, how about you?

To view a scrolling display of all of the treasures that are currently available online click on the “Two Maisons Online Shop” link on the home page upper right or “Shop” in the left hand navigation bar .

The online shop is a showcase for small treasures, easily shipped from my door to yours. I hope you enjoy! See the Shop Info for more details.

10 Years in Provence… A Tale of Two Maisons

February 20th, 2010 comments 4

I believe we all have Two Maisons. The one we live in and the one we’re dreaming of. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, the two become one.

In the year 2000 I found myself dreaming of a home in Provence. A field of red poppies led me to a jumble of three little stone structures surrounding a charming courtyard in the heart of a beautiful village. It was spring and as happens in spring, love followed. Love of home that is.

Of course there was work to be done. My husband and I had remodeled our way through every house we’d ever owned, but this was to be our first experience in France. And as chronicled by others who have remodeled here and lived to tell the tale, “had we known what we know now”….but that’s another story for another time. Our little village house eventually, with love, sweat and tears became the home of our dreams.

There was a postcard view from the window in my bedroom and five years on it was that very view that made me stray. How could I consider leaving our dream home? I blame it on my friend Sara. “I saw a house” she said, “I think you should see it”. “Porquoi pas why not?” I said, knowing the risks of temptation, but always ready to see a house, any house. A house embodies passion, possibility, and project (my husbands 3 “p’s” are pasta, pizza and popcorn…go figure).

And there it was, my postcard view, but in 360 degree splendor. I saw the sun on all my favorite villages. I saw vineyards and mountains and sky. I was on top of this little piece of the world. Never mind that you had to climb 4 sets of stairs to get there. It was destiny and it was soon to become our future and second maison in Provence.

To be fair, there was a practical side to my new house love (I often try to use the practical argument to justify my passionate desires). Number one; it was in the same village, but you could drive to this house, a rather significant plus in a small hilltop village and of particular advantage to someone who’s trunk is always filled with either antiques or construction materials. Number 2: at street level there was a large vaulted stone room where I could store all of the antiques that mysteriously followed me home; the space to repair, photograph, ready for shipment and otherwise love all of the treasures I had found before they found new homes with you.

And that’s where you’ll find me today, 10 years and Two Maisons later. Slowly and lovingly turning another little French village house into our dream of a home. Thanks for stopping by.

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