La Louve

La Louve
La Louve...Garden of the She-Wolf, Bonnieux, France. La Louve is a private French contemporary garden, open to the public, in the town of Bonnieux in the Vaucluse Department of France. It was created beginning in 1986 by Nicole de Vésian, textile designer for the Paris fashion house of Hermès. It is classified by the French Ministry of Culture as one of the Notable Gardens of France.

5/19/11

Balconies, doors and windows...oh, my!

Around a corner, over a doorway, tucked in a little side street, in Provence, beauty abounds....















































5/18/11

Antiquing in Avignon

Avignon.... an ancient city surrounded by Roman walls but one completely in step with the 21st century. Bistros abound. This is France, after all! The many boutiques are filled with mouth watering items, all beautifully displayed. What to buy? Oh, heck...just wrap up the shop, never mind the budget!

First, though, let's take a little walk along the cobble-stoned streets and alley ways as we search for our first antiques shop. This is the path Kathy and I took for several mornings as we went in search of the old, the fabulous, and the quintessentially French. The walk is so enjoyable we almost...almost!...forgot about shopping. Enjoy the walk with us.....






Let's stop for a quick cafe au lait and croissant, shall we?

Okay, now back to the task at hand...shopping! Our first stop, Cour Interieure...

Cour Interieure on rue Joseph Vernet and worth the walk from Centre Avignon
An old dressmaker's table and an assortment of choice little objects
The dried botanicals are set on old French documents. Almost everything in this shop is at least 19th century and in excellent condition.

A charming child's mesh garden bench in the courtyard. Asking price: 80EU.


Vignette in the shop window. Kathy Morris scooped up that little iron stool before I had a chance to say "First Dibs!"


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The next day, we visited the weekly antiques market across the Rhone in Villeneuve-les- Avignon.  The many dealers here start setting up around 5am, buyers start arriving at 7am, and a lot of things are gone by 10am, so rise and shine early. However, we noticed that many dealers continued pulling stock out of their vans as customers grab up the goodies. This is a must market if you're seeking charming old paintings, porcelain, pottery, linens and the like. It is not a market for the serious collector of fine French furniture and objects, although there were a few dealers there with some great 18th century items and prices were commensurate.

Two huge biot pots. There were several at various dealer's booths, so it pays to quickly do a price comparison as prices do vary from dealer to dealer. It is customary to inquire if the dealer can do better on the price, but only ask if you're serious. If the price is still too high for you, smile, shrug your shoulders and say you regret you cannot afford the item. It is considered very rude to ask for a better price if you're simply curious. You will not only insult the dealer, but will most certainly spoil any chance of buying anything from him or her.
A typical array of items at the market, all nicely set out on the ground
An incredible array of antique linens, many dating from the 18th century. The boutis (French quilts) were in good condition and the colors nearly new. Prices ran about 130 to 180 euros. This is an excellent place to buy antique linens as we found the prices for similar items in Paris shops almost doubled.

Pillows made of antique fabrics


Iron baby bed filled to over flowing with old watering cans

Almost worth building an entire bathroom around!!

5/17/11

Bastide in Saint Albergati, Provence

After years of reading about homes in Provence... and dreaming that one day I might have the opportunity to visit one... thanks to my dear friend and artist MJ Kempf, that dream was finally realized. Last year, MJ introduced me and my friend and antiquing partner, Kathy Morris, to the fabulous Beatrice Navarre.

For almost three centuries Beatrice's family has lived in this bastide in Provence that was originally built by the family to operate a grain mill. Added on to and enhanced by successive generations, Beatrice has opened her home to select guests and generously permitted me to photograph some of the private chambers available. This is not a grand, intimidating chateau, but a family home. It's so easy to feel comfortable here, to be able to relax and enjoy being surrounding by objects in place for use, not show. Nothing cries "Hands off", nothing is excessive. Everything says "Make yourself at home!"

The first pictures show the staircase, original in its walnut-enclosed tile steps and wrought iron railings. All the lighting is also original and has been electrified. My photographs unfortunately do not do justice to these beautiful interiors.

The three story staircase has walnut-enclosed tiles and iron spindles and railings

View from the second floor landing. The pastoral oil painting is 18th century French. The brass chandelier is original and has been electrified.

View from the third floor landing down to the second and first floors

One of the private chambers. The prints on the walls are all 18th century, in the original frames. The fabric on the sleigh bed and windows is an early 20th century reproduction of a 17th century design.

The walnut armoire is 18th century

The 18th century walnut bedside table is one of a pair. The chair is late 18th century.

The marble mantle is 18th century, as is the silk firescreen. The latter is quite beautiful, and I apologize for the poor quality of the picture.

I love the way the outside of the bedroom doors are decorated in the same manner so that there is a cohesiveness to the hallways


The second bedroom is known as the Coral Room and is my favorite. The walls are wrapped in a coral silk that glows like a jewel in the morning light.

As in the first bedroom, the armoire, bed and bedside table are all from the 18th century. The chair is from the late 1800s and is in the Directoire style.

18th century marble mantle, prints, desk and chair. The fabric on the chair and at the windows is a 19th century documentary.

The border is very much in the Directoire style.

The chair is French although it looks very Swedish. Love the way Beatrice has coordinated the silk fabric on the hall chair with the sisal runner.

Two more of the painted chairs flanking a sweet little walnut table. Oriental rugs are used throughout the house to both protect and soften the old tile floors.

In the corner, a 19th century fruit wood gateleg table. The lamp is old, but the lanterns and art on the wall are contemporary, as is the hemp chair.

One of a pair of walnut 19th century doors in the salon. This pair leads to the dining room which was not accessible at the time of shooting. The coffer to the left is 17th century.

This exquisite walnut chest in the study dates to circa 1795. The Roman antiquities on top were collected by Beatrice's parents. The artwork dates to the 1920s.


Next post: Antiquing in Avignon!