la Brocanteuse

May 29, 2010

Quiet corners...

After a very busy week of last minute planning before we leave  for France,
I seek out the quiet corners in our home


New spaces..

About a year ago, we had new spaces to fill. After a lot of sleepless nights over what finishes, paint colours, and the endless decisions when you build or renovate as we did, one of the most exciting days is when you finally get to start moving in furniture....even when the empty spaces are not finished.

Main Bedroom-lounge area

Kitchen dining area


Kitchen- dining area
I planned to have everything in place by the time it came to spend the first night in our new abode. Of course it did not work out that way.
Pretty flowers on a mirror welcomed us...and we were HOME!

May 26, 2010


On a previous trip into the French countryside, the first village where we lingered, was
(of Lacanche range cookers and stoves)

We saw this curious little french chien peeping through a "half" gate

I imagined all the La Poste Sacs behind the closed door......

like these

En route in  the Luberon, at the foot of the hills below Bonnieux, we saw two artistes painting this beautiful scene..I wondered about them..was it a student and a teacher...or perhaps two lovers meeting next to a poppy field... sharing the same passion ..

Another village we wandered around for more than just a day,
that of  ancestors...

Both my husband (de Villiers - Nel) and myself(nee-Marais) descent from the French Huguenots that  arrived in  South Africa in 1685 
These French Huguenots that fled France when the edict of Nantes was repealed , settled in the Western Cape,  most of them in the wine regions of Stellenbosch, and a little village not far from where we live now, called Franschoek. (if you translate this directly: "French corner")
 My maiden name was Marais- we traced it  all the way back  to this little village between  valleys and mountains in the Luberon. -


I still regret not bringing home with me this encounter

between a shy jeune fille  and her lover...
in La Madone's antique shop in Lourmarin.
    -La Boutique de L'Antiquarie -

May 22, 2010

Shopping list and pointing fingers

I try my best.......
Before we take a trip, I print a "picture" list of things to do and especially for the markets..I will include all the "Brocante finds" as I call them..images collected as I come across them and saved for referral later...
It makes it a lot easier for me to just point with my finger at the picture when lost for words...not because I'm so in awe of all the goods on display..but some times it is really hard to explain what it is your looking for...

pictures can explain so many unknown words...

                                                                       image - moi

like monogrammed ruban, or wooden bobbins, 18th century handwritten documentaire,handmade dentelle or le marriage dome,  jardin cloche or just old boutonner

                                                                                     image source - unknown

Anja-Old stuff shop

I can highly recommend this.To just point at  the little thumbprint  on your contact sheet...will definitely get you some reaction...(after you have greeted properly of course!!) 

I have been given hand drawn maps with directions to a certain Madam or Monsieur who will certainly be able to help me...even if it is only to be sent  off  further down little alley's past  stalls with difficult to pass without entering  store fronts...often a  new piece of scribbled paper in hand of which I normally don't understand a word!..but I can tell you that almost every time I have found what I was looking for after the treasure hunt was concluded.

image - moi
I even do this for my  dealer friends who kindly offer to look out for perhaps a tapestry canton, (love those) tapestry embellished chair,

image - moi
                                                                                                 image - moi
a Gilt Louis xv1 Trumeau in just the right size and proportions to hang above the fireplace in our bedroom....

image - moi
I have had a lot of success with this method. It all started one day when my husband was  almost out the door on his way for a last minute sortie to my BF (Beloved France), when he kindly offered to bring back a specific book on French gardens I was trying to obtain ,and a new perfume that was not yet available in our sunny South...he took a "contact sheet" with him compiled eagerly by moi- complete with options and a few extra things added like a pretty pink and very delicious la boite de The Marie Antoinette from Laduree.A full description of specific handles only available from BHV, and a picture of the fountain tap he had to go and find..somewhere...
He came  home with all and the contact sheet was returned to me complete with little tick marks as he worked through the list, as well as prices compared. He actually enjoyed this little shopping list/treasure hunt!
                                                                                     image - moi
I have started to compile my list for the upcoming  trip ....more about that later.I will be happy to add your wanted item to my contact sheet...

A Bientot


May 19, 2010

For the love of a French market l'occasion pour faire

Brocante -I could do it morning, noon and eve, ...I adore the French markets, the vide greniers, the puces and the whole excitement of finding the unexpected item that becomes my treasure..You see it, you rush over, you touch it, turn it around and over and only then look at the present owner/seller...ready to negotiate. Time stands still and you get lost amongst all the memories and stories that you are about to make your own.Sometimes,(well for me every time! ) your heart beats faster while you stand there waiting for that approving nod...agree on a price and Merci Madam/Monsieur. Happy smiles , then move on with your new trouvaille/find....energised and eyes wider to spot that next something that just "jumps" out at you amongst tables and heaps of everyday items of long ago..

Living in the very south of South Africa, it is a much planned and calculated trip one has to do to fulfill  this addiction. In our little family of three, most travels either start or end in Paris France, to accommodate my need for French markets, and a daily ride for my darling daughter on a French carousel.She spots them a mile away.. a sortie to France will always include this pleasure,(apart from the Crepe Nutella kiosk somehow always conveniently close to the carousel..?)

 Square Willette. Montmartre

    DD (darling daughter) 's travel partner changes with every trip..
2009, Rosie Lamb (the bear) was the chosen one..

Two weeks from today we are about to take a trip to our beloved France...
We will travel from Paris via the Loire valley, where we will be staying in a dear friend's Maison to allow us to discover the area, then drive towards the South West of France through little villages and staying over as and when we feel the need to linger..
What do I hope to find?...always french monogrammed linge, chanvre, hemp,monogrammed anything... beautifull old lace and vieux french handwritten documents. The rest will be a surprise..even to me.
Like the view above-from our window in the Luberon apartment we stayed before, I see this as de l'occasion pour faire-to share my love for French linen, lace and bibelots with other franchophiles like me....

A Bientot
Colette x
"One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things."
— Henry Miller