samedi 14 novembre 2009

My favorite Brocante

It is not the first time that I’ve written about the Bastille Antiquites Brocante. I think it might have even been one of my first posts for the blog. (How time flies!) But because I love going to these sort of markets and I know people who love them too (special mention to P!) I thought I would do another post on this year’s brocante. Strictly speaking, the bi-annual Bastille brocante is not really a flea market. Yes, there are a few whimsical bric a brac items that look that they came from someone’s attic, but it’s really more of a antique market with the corresponding prices. There are always beautiful and interesting things to see at this particular antique market. While I haven’t always been the most interested in home furnishings and the like, its funny how this year, they were all I could look at! My nesting instincts are belatedly kicking in!

With over 350 professional antiquaires at the fair, you are certainly spoiled for choice. And its not at all excessive to go three or four times to make sure you’ve seen everything there is to see. I can’t tell you how many stands carried furniture from all over the country (sometimes even over the borders as a few stands carried Japanese and Chinese furniture at extremely exorbitant prices!) and from different epochs. After awhile you become very good at distinguishing the Napoleon III armchairs in the style of Louis XV and authentic Louis XV chairs. Funny how a couple hundred of years make a huge difference in price! And who knew that a rocking chair, yes a simple rocking chair, can be absolutely gorgeous when done in the style of Emperor Charles X?

Isn't this rocking chair really pretty?

If that weren’t enough, there were a number of commodes that I would’ve loved to cart home if it were possible! One beauty dated from 1940 and came from Venice and I can just see it decorating the house. Yet another comes from Japan and has these wonderful little drawers where you can store all your trinkets. One adorable feature of this beauty from Japan is that it has a locked compartment where you can store your most important things!

A Venetian style commode from the 40s....

Of course it wouldn’t be a brocante if you don’t have all these weird and wonderful things that can only be for collectors or for those with very special tastes. One thing that really stood out was this box of thread. Now you might ask what’s so special about a box of thread, but just look at it…each spool of thread is decorated with different headdresses that women used to wear all over France. Despite its great age, the colors remain as vibrant as the day it came out of the factory and sad to say, they don’t make threads like this anymore. It’s a veritable collectors item. Price tag? A cool 390Euros!

Many of the brocanteurs (those keeping the stands) don't have permanent stores. They participate in these annual markets and frequently their stands are a veritable cavern of things. This one below had all manner of things--bolts of cloth from the 19th century, vintage hat boxes, strips of lace, bags from the 50s....I didn't quite know where to look given the number of things crammed into her stall.

Speaking of bags, the lady who keeps this particular stand had a good number of pretty vintage bags and purses. Delicate needlepoint bags side by side with croco skin bags from the 40s and 50s. Given the latest demand for croco skin bags (seems all the major houses from Prada to Bottega had their own version of it for A/W2010 with each costing at least 1000Euros), her asking price of 120 didn't seem all that much. Of course, you would have to be happy with a bag that was older than you!
A nice man from Germany kept this stand that had all these old fashioned powder compacts from the 50s.. they were really pretty and surprisingly clean for its age and I could just imagine them lined up in my dresser.

I loved this stand where he had a whole collection of what looked like jugs and in fact they used to be what each lady of the castle had in her room for washing! I guess before bathrooms became de rigueur, you had to make do with a washbasin and pitcher to clean yourself. I thought they were really nice though I would take the running water and a shower anyday!
All sorts of bottles for the kitchen?

And the old fashioned way of storing your kitchen essentials..
I have no idea what these iron wrought frames are for but they sure are pretty!
Only a day left to enjoy the brocante then the next time they come around will be in May. Who knows what treasures will be found then?

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