Saturday, 30 August 2014

Antiquing In France: The weird and wonderful world of French vintage

The French brocante (or street market), has been widely celebrated as a treasure trove for vintage and antique hunters, but for those in the know the back streets of many French towns also hold dark and exquisite magasin d'antiquités, packed to the ceilings with curios. Some of these places can be intimidating, particularly to a Brit with very poor French! But what they do offer is a glimpse into a weird and wonderful world of interior design possibilities.

French brocantes have a reputation for bargains, not so most of France's antique shops. If you have to ask the price then you most probably can't afford it! And, unlike brocantes and vide greniers, haggling is not greatly appreciated and discounts are sparse. 

There are many treasures to be found though and sometimes the pleasure is just in looking. These shops are great for getting inspiration and for learning about true French furniture and antiques. The downside to brocantes is that they are often padded out with cheap tat as well as British and American items, some of which buyers mistake for French. 

The wonder of French magasin d'antiquités is in the sheer diversity of items. Religious iconography sits alongside an antique pair of shoes and a creepy hairless doll. But what is truly wonderful is that everything here is authentically French!

Who Are We? 

Dazzle Vintage Furniture is an online boutique founded in 2008 by Devon based antiques dealers Ali Stokes and John Washbrook.

Specialising in European antique and vintage furniture with an emphasis on quality French pieces, the website stocks an ever changing selection of armoires, French beds, buffets, mirrors and vintage lighting.

Ali and John visit France on a regular basis, scouring brocantes and vide greniers in Provence and Brittany. They are passionate ambassadors for real French furniture and hope to inspire buyers to chose quality, time-honoured pieces over mass produced new. 

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