lundi 19 novembre 2007

Antiquites Brocante

Twice a year at the Bastille in May and November, I look forward to the grande brocante that is held for about two weeks at the Place de la Bastille. It is a highly regarded gathering of brocanteurs, antique lovers, both professional and amateurs and people like me who love nothing more than musty alcoves of potential treasure troves. A brocante is very loosely defined as the sale of used objects, generally of small value. I say loosely because while it is true that it involves the sale of used objects, these objects can range in value from pennies to hundreds and in some cases, even thousands. The brocante in Bastille is quite a large affair with 350 participants. A number of them are professionals with proper stores but an even greater number of them simply love antiques and the stories behind them and these are the folks who only participate in brocantes. Each of them however, is united in their passion for beautiful objects and the wish to find them good homes. And I tell you, treasures abound.
There are the usual number of stands displaying all manner and type of jewelry. A certain number carry furniture and paintings, while still others carry silverware, porcelain and glassware. There are even linen sellers and curtain makers, even a stand selling only buttons! It can be overwhelming, particularly when you’re new. I’ve learned that the trick is to go slowly and to look at every single stand, even the most humble. You never know what you’ll find.
A favorite of mine is the stand belonging to Isabelle Klein. It is beautifully done and everything is displayed with love and care. She specializes in vintage clothing and accessories. But her vintage clothing truly deserves the label vintage. There are beautiful pieces dating back from the early 1900s. My first year at the Bastille, I saw a spectacular piece of lace dating from the early 20s. Last year it was a fantastically rich fur cape by Patou and this year there were delicate shoes from the turn of the century. I still regret the vintage lace that I let go the first year I attended.
For jewelry, there are the usual gold and diamond numbers, but what I love are the unusual and uncommon. Not that there is anything wrong with gold and diamond, but for me the treasure was an 1840 Louis Philippe handcrafted necklace. The craftwork long since lost to our modern times is called ponponne and I was told that it was peculiar to the romantic period of which Louis Philippe was king. Another gorgeous find was a 1925 handcrafted bracelet from Toledo. It is exquisitely worked in gold with a black background that shows it off to great effect. This year, there were wonderfully carved necklaces of jet and pyrite.
The potential for finding treasure aside, what’s truly great about going to a brocante like that of Bastille is the chance to meet the people who have devoted themselves to their passion whether it be vintage clothing, furniture or jewelry and to hear their stories. They all genuinely love what they do and are enthused and patient about sharing what they know with amateurs like me who ply them with thousands of questions. It is not about making a sale. And since generally the same people can be found in all the brocantes, there is now a real community and a real sense of camaraderie amongst them. And for an afternoon or two during the period of brocante, I am a member of this community. I certainly can’t wait for the next one.

Pink princess

Aucun commentaire: