Paris! The National Fair of The Flea Market and Ham Starts Today!!

Dear Diva Readers -

STOP THE PRESS!!!

La Foire Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambons on the île de Chatou start’s today – March 12th!

Come! Come now to this suburb just outside Paris, France!! You’ll find the absolute best assortment of French antiques plus some wonderful food all in one locale – what more could a person ask for??





When :
Friday, March 12 to Sunday March 21*
Daily from 10am – 7pm.
*Dealers shop early on March 11 with invitation for entrance.

Where :
the Parisian suburb of ile de Chatou

What :
Europe’s best twice annual flea market with over 800 vendors !

How to Get There :
Take RER A Direction Saint Germain en Laye to stop Chatou

Don’t forget to book an Antiques Diva Tour to visit the famed flea market on the arm of a seasoned shopper !

The Antiques Diva™

Belgium Brocantes & Antique Salons: Calendar 2010


January 22-31, 2010

BRAFA: Brussels Antiques and Fine Arts Fair

Tour & Taxis Bldg
Avenue du Port 86C
Brussels

11am-7pm Daily
Late Hours until 10.30pm on Jan 26 & 28
- Guided tours by a BRAFA associate are daily at 3pm. Inquire at ticket counter for details.
- The 130 participants represent different countries such as Belgium (60%), France, Germany, Great-Britain, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Portugal, Russia, Spain, USA and Switzerland

AIRFARE & TRAIN DISCOUNTS to BRAFA AVAILABLE!!!

Brussels Airlines offers promotional rates for BRAFA visitors and exhibitors: valid from 15 January till 5 February 2010, 25 %* on b.business and b.flex economy and 15 %* on b.light economy rates.

Make your journey easier by travelling on Thalys when you go to Brussels from Paris, Cologne or Aachen. Benefit from the Thalys preferential rates to go to the fair: -50%* in Comfort 1 and -30%* in Comfort 2 on the Hi-Life price.

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March 19-28, 2010

Eurantica 2010 – Fine Art & Antique Fair

Brussels Expo
Palais 5
Place de Belgique # 1
Brussels
(enter via cote Atomium)
Hours: 2pm-7pm (Mon-Fri)
11am-7pm (Weekend)
March 25: Late Night until 10pm

- Free Entry to Ladies on Ladies Day Jan 26 (2pm-7pm)!!!
- 150 leading antiques dealers and art galleries of Belgium, Luxembourg, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy who are to exhibit at the Brussels Expo Hall 5.

View the Photo Gallery here!

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April 3 – 5, 2010

Ciney Expo

3 rue de Marche Couvert
Ciney, Belgium

Hours: 10am-7pm Daily
- Over 700 Vendors!
- Professional Day April 2 – Antique Dealers get 1st dibs!

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October 2-3, 2010

Foire du Verre

Centre Sportif, Rout d’Ohain
Lasne, Belgium
(Just 5km from Waterloo!)

Hours: 10am-6pm

- A “Glass Fair” unique to Belgium
- Over 4 soccer fields filled with glass and crystal, antiques vintage & collectibles!

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Mid-November 2010 (Date TBD)

Antica Namur: Salon d’art et d’antiquites

Namur Expo
Ave Sergent-Vrithoff, 2
Namur, Belgium
WATCH THIS SPACE FOR 2010 DATES and HOURS of Operation!
To view photos from 2009’s great event, click here!

Happy Shopping in 2010!

The Antiques Diva™

(seen right hitting the fleas in Tongeren, Belgium)

Think Outside the Decorating Box

Dear Diva Readers,

You might remember a couple months ago I did a blog post on The Urban Market’s November 8 antiques fair in Houston. On that post I included a picture of a darling wagon, calling it “the Find of the Day” and claiming it would make a sensational, eclectic coffee table for those who are interested in using fun finds in unique and interesting ways as home décor!

Just a few days after posting that picture I stumbled upon a picture in the July/August 2009 Elle Décor magazine featuring a similar wagon just as I described this one’s potential! Needless to say, I had to share it with you to help you visualize how one might turn a wagon into a coffee table!

The text on the feature photo reads:

“The living area of the barn turned guest cottage of Dan MacDonald and Gregg Kaminsky’s Long Island New York retreat, Cow Pond Farm, which was decorated by Kathleen Clements, has vintage photographs and subway sign displayed above a Chesterfield sofa from Mecox Gardens. The pillows are made from old grain sacks and an antique bellman’s car serves as a cocktail table. The rug is by Lauren, Ralph Lauren Home.”

Recently, while at Antiek d’ Eglantier Amsterdam, I stumbled upon these charming potato sacks and think they would go perfect with the décor in the room above!

Meanwhile I might just use them for a “Do-It-Yourself-Diva” project to make footstools similar to this pair of footstools recovered with La Post bags which I found on my Fall French Flea Market Extravaganza!

Until next time, think outside the decorating box!

The Antiques Diva ™

Upcoming Paris Brocantes!

Dear Paris-Based Diva Readers,

This Weekend – Oct 17 & 18 – get out of the city! Leave Paris behind and head to Senlis and visit this small town’s “Salon des Antiquaires” near Paris at the Abbaye Royale de Chaalis –Fee of 3 Euro includes entrance to the brocante & abbey!

Another out-of-town event nearby Paris that might be interesting to art lovers is being held this weekend on the grounds of the infamous Foire Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambons en l’île de Chatou – The Grand Marche d’Art Contemporain Oct 15-18, 2009

If staying in the city is more your style, visit Brocante de la place Maubert – Sunday, Nov 1.

And last but certainly not least, visit the Antiquites Brocante at the Place de la Bastille Nov 5 – 15, 2009! There’s still time to book a last minute Antiques Diva Tour! I think blogger Tara Bradford of Paris Parfait has the best pics of this sensational flea market! Check them out!

While we at Diva Tours like to keep you informed on what’s on in Paris, we also like to educate you so you can find the flea markets of Paris (and all of France for that matter) on your own. Whatever dates you’re in Paris, you can always look up to see what flea markets and antique fairs are being held in the city of light by visiting the Brocabrac website. For Paris events click region 75 and learn what the fleas have in store for you!

Happy Shopping,

The Antiques Diva™

An Interview with La Mom & The Antiques Diva – Visiting The Best Flea Market in France

Photo of The Antiques Diva & La Mom’s Empty Chair
The smell of ham mixed with hundreds-of-years-old antiques is in the air… It’s that time of year again when the Parisian’s mouths begin to water in anticipation of France’s best brocante. While in most countries “ham & antiques” isn’t a natural combination automatically going hand-in-hand, in France La Foire Nationale la Brocante et aux Jambon is the country’s largest antiques and gourmet food fair and it’s back again this fall in the Parisian suburb ile de Chatou between September 26 – Oct 4, 2009. La Parisian, La Mom, recently sat down with me and chatted about this fair, asking all those deep-probing, La Mom-esque questions!

To Read the Interview discussing THE BEST FLEA MARKET IN FRANCE,visit La Mom’s blog today!

If this interview Chez La Mom catches your attention, don’t forget that there’s still time to join me at my favorite flea market in France during the Fall French Flea Market Extravaganza! Better yet, book ahead – Email me [email protected] for details on the upcoming Spring 2010 Trip to La Foire Nationale la Brocante et aux Jambon! And remember, though La Mom writes her blog incognito, she does offer Antiques Diva clients a chance at learning her secret identity. When you book a 4 day Paris Tour, La Mom makes a guest appearance at an ultra-exclusive local, revealing her secret identity to you and you alone!!! No camera’s or last names given, but you’ve got a free-for-all to query how she comes up with these sensational posts about La Vie a Paris!!!

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva™

Parlez-vous brocante?

Parlez-vous brocante? Do you speak French flea market? While the “Armoire” is the best known piece of French furniture, did you know that if an armoire only has one door then it is not an “Armoire”? Instead, it is a “Bonnetiere” deriving its name from the rounded top which looks like the shape of a bonnet worn by “Breton” ladies ( women from a region in northern France called Brittany). Sometimes you’ll see this bell-shaped armoire top referred to as a “Chapeau de Gendarme” or a police man’s hat. But if that “Bonnetiere” is divided by a drawer then this piece becomes an “Homme Debout” (or “Standing Man”).

This Beautifully Carved Walnut Homme Debout can be yours from 1st Dibs Garden Court Antiques

As Anglophones, when we hear “Commode” we think of a toilet, but in France a “Commode” is a chest of drawers and is considered the finest piece of furniture made for a house! While Anglophones tend to use “chest of drawers” for storing clothes, the French would use a “Coffre”. We might be familiar with the term “buffet” used as a side table in the dining room, but did you know a true buffet is higher than a commode with 2 doors on the bottom and 2 drawers at the top? Meanwhile, a “Buffet a Deux Corps” is literally a cabinet with 2 bodies. The bottom is usually traditional, but then a 2nd upper body is placed on top. However, if the top part has a plate rack, instead of doors, then it becomes a “Vaisselier”.

This Louis XV Style Commode in Kingwood & Tulipwood, c. 1850 is similar to the one I have at home! Shop like The Diva at 1st Dibs – William Word Fine Antiques

This Louis XV Cherry Buffet a Deux Corps, Circa 1760 is from
Richard Norton Antiques at 1st Dibs

A shelf (or even a floor in an apartment) is called an “Etage” but if a piece which sole purpose is shelving, then it is called an “Tagre”. However, if you’re storing books on that “tagre” and it has enclosed sides, then it is called a “Bibliotheque” which happens to be the same word for library in France. Wouldn’t it be confusing to ask how many bookshelves a certain library has?

All this thinking in a foreign language probably leaves you tired. You might as well take a “Siege”!! No, don’t attack a foreign city, instead take a seat – in fact, any seat, this is a general term for “Canapes, Fauteuils or Chaise”. You might know chair is “chaise” in French, but are you familiar with “Fauteuils”? This is nothing more than an armchair from any period. But if that armchair is upholstered, has an exposed wood frame and enclosed sides, then it is considered a “Bergere”. While you might be hungry don’t assume you’ll get an hors-d’oeuvre when you hear canapé mentioned – for a French man is probably asking you to sit on an antique wood-framed couch or love seat!

Another item you’ll find chez moi, this Pair of French Louis XVI Style Painted Bergeres are from the late 19th Century. From Alhambra Antiques – 1st Dibs

If you want to kick back and relax, you won’t find a Lazy Boy in France, but you will find a “Chaise Longue”, a chair long enough to support your legs! But if the “Chaise Longue” has a back rest at both ends it is known as a “Recamier”. Meanwhile a grand chair with matching ottoman would be called a “Duchess Brise”. If a chair has a footstool but it doesn’t match, that’s “un pouf”! Of course, if you’re looking for a chair that looks like a stool to sit at the side of a chair but not sit your feet on, then that’s a “Tabouret”!

I’ll be looking for something like this for my bedroom at Diva Tours French Flea Market Fall Extravaganza. ThisThree-piece Louis XV style Duchesse Brisee was made in 1870 and is available on line from, you guessed it, 1st Dibs.com
Vendor: Alhambra Antiques

Last but not least, you might need a “Lumire” to read by! While chandelier sure sounds like a French word to me, the French do not use this term – they call them “Lustre”. Finally, we come to something simple – a lamp is just “une Lampe”, but that’s where simple stops! If I were to say “Appliques” what would you think it means? Me? I think of an embroidery or iron-on patch, but in French this is the word for a sconce! That’s it!!! I’ve had enough French furniture vocabulary for one day! I’m going to bed, which in French is “Lit” pronounced “lee”!

“Bonne Nuit!” Good Night!

The Antiques Diva™

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One Minute Diva: Jolietrouvaille – Great Vendor at Chatou!

Dear Diva Readers,

In preparation for Diva Tours Fall French Flea Market Extravaganza, I wanted to highlight again one of my favorite vendors at La Foire Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambon. This Paris-suburb flea-market in Chatou is in only a few weeks and the anticipation is driving me crazy – everyone is talking about it! I can almost smell the ham in the air! In this One Minute Diva, I wanted to encourage Diva Readers visiting Chatou this fall to stop by (and shop your heart out) at one of my favorite vendors – Blandine Bavoux’s quintessentially French stall located at 72 Allée Nouvelle.

Armchair travelers don’t despair! shop online Jolietrouvaille

Armchair travelers, don’t despair! The good news is that you don’t have to go to The National Fair of the Flea Market and Ham to benefit from Blandine’s cute French country kitchen collectibles and antiques. You can either stop by her stall at Chatou or buy online at Jolietrouvaille! Either way, make sure you tell her The Antiques Diva™ sent you! By the way, I happen to know she keeps a stash of cookies and warm tea on a shelf in her stall – it’s reserved for special guests but I’m certain if you linger long enough that she’d indulge you!

The picture above is courtesy of fellow blogger Tara Bradford of Paris Parfait. Visit Tara’s divalicious site to see more gorgeous photos of Blandine’s stall and other Chatou pics! Tara intersperses gorgeous photos and musings of her life in France with witty political commentary!

Until Next time,

The Antiques Diva™

(picture at right taken in Blandine’s Booth at the March 2008 La Foire Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambon )

P.S. A very special “thank you” to Blandine for supporting the Diva Tours at Chatou!

Fall France Brocante and Art Market Calendar Update

Dear Diva Readers,

Joel Garcia, Paris’ pre-eminent organizer of brocantes, art salons and antique fairs just released their upcoming “CALENDRIER DES MANIFESTATIONS A VENIR”. Add these dates to your agenda!

ANTIQUITES BROCANTE / VIEUX PAPIERS – Antique Markets and Flea Markets/ Old Paper Markets

23 Octobre – 1er Novembre : Salon du Livre et Papiers anciens – Paris – Espace Champerret / 23 October – 1st November: Old Books and Papers Salon

5 – 15 Novembre : Salon d’Antiquités Brocante – Paris – Place de la Bastille / 5-15 November: Antiques and Bric-a-Brac Market – Paris – Place de la Bastille. Read more about a special Antiques Diva Tour of the Place de Bastille Brocante.

GRANDS MARCHES D’ART CONTEMPORAIN / Large Contemporary Art Markets

3 – 6 Septembre : GMAC – Valbonne – Le Pré des Arts / 3-6 September: Valbonne (Alpes-Maritimes region) Art Fair

15 – 18 Octobre : GMAC – Chatou – Ile des Impressionnistes / 15-18 October Chatou (Paris suburb) Ile des Impressionnistes

27 Octobre – 1er Novembre : GMAC – Paris – Place de la Bastille / 27 October- 1 November Paris Place de la Bastille

Find more information on the Joel Garcia website!

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva™

Follow The Antiques Diva on Twitter!!

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THE ANTIQUES DIVA™ TOURS – CLOSED FOR ANNUAL VACATION DURING AUGUST – REOPENS SEPTEMBER

An Invitation to Join Two Special Antiques Diva Tours in Fall 2009

Dearest Diva Readers,

You’ve heard me dish about my dalliances in Paris time and time again. I’ve talked of sipping champagne alongside the Seine, sashaying past the crowds at Les Puce de Paris, promenading at the Porte de Vanves Flea Market and doing the Diva-Loca during Les Soldes. I’m constantly dazzling you with details of miscellaneous brocantes in the city of light, tossing out frivolous French addresses and tempting you with stories of antiquing conquests! But I have an important question to ask:

“Why just READ about it when you can LIVE it?”

Join The Antiques Diva™ for A French Flea Market Extravaganza!

Here’s a Special Invitation to join The Antiques Diva™ in Paris for one of two upcoming divalicious tours this Fall 2009 in a French Flea Market Extravaganza!


What:

Not only will we shop the traditional Paris flea markets, oohing and ahhing over everything Louis and beyond, but we’ll also hit the Mother Load of Divadom at one of The Diva’s two favorite French flea markets: la Foire Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambons on the île de Chatou or The Antiquities Brocante at the Place de la Bastille (depending on the dates of your tour)!

When you think you’ve literally shopped until you’ll drop, The Diva will revive you with champagne or café au lait – you name your poison – we’ll leave the flea markets behind, stepping into Hemingsway’s Paris, hitting a bar named after him and parading through the Ritz as if it were built for us alone. On another day The Diva will take you, arm-in-arm, strolling the streets of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, showing you the hottest shops, the best boutiques, the obvious and the out-of-the-way in her private Paris, sharing memories and making new ones! We’ll even make a rendez-vous to meet up in person with some of the best Parisian bloggers and online personalities! Should food or wine be your thing, let Diva Tours know and for an extra cost we’ll schedule French cooking lessons or steal some time for a wine tasting or two!

Picture it. You, The Antiques Diva™ and Paris. It looks good, doesn’t it?

When:

Option 1

Option 1 takes place during the famous La Foire Nationale Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambons, a fair going on annually in the Parisian suburb of Ile de Chatou since the Middle Ages! Tour includes trips around Paris to the Porte de Vanves flea market as well as the world-renowned Paris Flea Market at Clingnancourt. We’ll hit a few Paris tourist sites to check some Paris Must See’s and, as this is Paris, we’ll shop the clothing boutiques and vintage fashion of St-Germain-des-Prés! Dinner plans will be discussed before the tour. Dinner is at your own cost but Diva Tours will secure the reservations. Hotel and Airfare are not included in tour cost; however, we can make hotel recommendations and suggestions on which area of the city in which you should stay!

Tour 1: Sunday Sep 27 – Wednesday Sep 30, 2009

Tour 2: Friday Oct 2 – Monday Oct 5, 2009

Option 2

Includes everything mentioned in Option 1; however, replace La Foire Nationale Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambons with the Antiquities Brocante at the Place de la Bastille, where we’ll storm the antiques and flea market finds in this square chocked full of tales from the French Revolution!

Tour 3: Friday Nov 6 – Monday Nov 9, 2009

Tour 4: Friday Nov 13 – Monday, Nov 16, 2009

Where:

Do I really need to say this… where else do you think, mes amies? We will meet in Paris, bien sur! (this said with a French accent and the wiggle of my fake moustache). To best optimize your time, please schedule your flights or train schedules to arrive a day before and depart a day after scheduled tour dates should your Parisian trip not extend beyond these Divalicious tour dates!

How Much:

Four Day Antiques Diva Tour: 1,000 Euro (approximately $ 1,400) *

Girls Trips always earn special discounts as do married couples!

Email [email protected] for further details, to book your trip or to learn about special discounts which might apply!

* Price is set at 1,000 Euro. Price in USD will be set at booking based on current f/x rate but will never exceed $1,400 as Diva Tours will absorb any exchange rate risk above that threshold.

Day Tours Also Available

Perhaps this all sounds like great fun but you are not looking for a full four day Diva Tour. E
mail toma@a[email protected] to check availability on attending a one-day-only tour
of La Foire Nationale Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambons (between Sept 27 & Oct 4, 2009), Antiquities Brocante Place de la Bastille (between Nov 5-15, 2009) or either of the Paris Flea Markets – Porte de Vanves or Les Puce at Porte de Clingnancourt!

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

The Antiques Diva™ Tours are taking pre-bookings for March and May 2010!

Some of you may be thinking you’d love to come this fall but these dates simply don’t work in your agenda. Never fear! As they say, the early bird catches the worm. Both The National Fair of the Flea Market and Ham and The Antiques Flea Market at the Place de la Bastille in Paris occur not only in the Fall but also in March and May 2010! Email me at [email protected] to discuss dates and opportunities for Spring 2010.

Hope to see you on one of these exciting Paris Flea Market tours!

The Antiques Diva

Paris Brocante Calendar – May and June 2009

I love Paris in the spring time! The cherry blossoms are in bloom, the birds are singing and Parisians let uncharacteristic smiles slip to strangers on street corners when the sun kisses their noses once again. Girls and boys can be found kissing in the parks and the outdoor cafes are serenaded with musicians once again. Most importantly, “brocante season” is in full bloom! If you’re wanting to hit these roving flea markets, May and June are excellent months to visit Paris.

Diva Tip!
In Paris during May & June, brocantes (roving flea markets) are held almost EVERY weekend!!

In a recent blog I gave a web source for finding out the dates and locations of upcoming brocantes, but one of the ways I find the dates and locations of roving flea markets in France is by picking up brochures for other brocantes while attending another. Often flyers advertising lists of flea market dates will be stacked on tables in miscellaneous booths around the brocante as vendors like to let you know where else their shoppers can find them later in the season!

Recently, while in Paris collaborating with the sensational Claudia Strasser of Paris Apartments on a behind-the-scenes Paris flea market tour for an upcoming Travel+Leisure article this Fall 2009, I picked up a flyer at the Eglise d’Auteuil Brocante advertising the following upcoming Paris brocante dates!

May & June, 2009 Paris Brocante Calendar

May 9 – 10 Saturday – Sunday
Avenue Secretan Paris XIX
Metro Stop: Bolivar anticipated 100 vendors

May 15 – 17 Friday – Sunday
Rue de Courcelles Paris XVII
Metro Stop: Courcelles/Perreire anticipated 150 vendors

May 21 – 22 Thursday-Friday
Boulevard Edgar Quinet, Paris XIV
Metro Stop: Edgar Quinet anticipated 120 vendors


May 23 – 24 Saturday – Sunday
Avenue de la Republique, Paris XI
Metro Stop: Parmentier anticipated 100 vendors


May 30 – 31 Saturday – Sunday
Rue Lecourbe, Paris XV
Metro Stop: Sevre Lecourbe anticipated 120 vendors


June 6 – 7 Saturday – Sunday
Rue Cler, Paris VII
Metro: Ecole Militaire anticipated 120 vendors
Note: This market is an Antiques Diva™ favorite as is the charming Rue Cler! Stop for lunch at Café du Marché.

June 13 – 14 Saturday – Sunday
Avenue des Gobelins, Paris V
Metro: Les Gobelins anticipated 120 vendors

June 20 – 21 Saturday – Sunday
Boulevard Voltaire, Paris XI
Metro: Charonne anticipated 100 vendors

June 27 – 28 Saturday – Sunday
Rue d’Alesia, Paris XIV
Metro: Alesia anticipated 50 vendors
Note: Depot Vente d’Alesia, a favorite Antiques Diva resource for dirt cheap and dusty bargains, is in the area!
June 27 – 28 Saturday – Sunday
Village St Paul, Paris IV
Metro: Saint Paul anticipated 50 vendors
Note: Check out the antique vendors of the Village St Paul while there!

July 2 – 5 Thursday – Sunday
Quai de la Tournelle, Paris V
Metro: Maubert-Mutualité anticipated 90 vendors

MARKET HOURS: Most flea markets listed run from 7am – 7pm.

All these spring flea markets are coordinated by SPAM – Société Parisienne d’Animation et de Manifestation. To check dates for SPAM’s upcoming flea markets, visit the SPAM website. Sadly the site is only in French but is easy to navigate. The home page lists “prochain brocantes” (or next flea markets) on the right hand column giving dates and addresses – remember French dates are done Day/Month and not Month/Day – so May 7 becomes 07/05 in French – in other words 07/05 DOES NOT MEAN JULY 5th! To go further into the site, click the second tab on the top marked “Brocantes” and a list of upcoming dates and addresses will appear!

Word to the Wise: From time to time, the roving flea markets simply don’t rove – in other "0" />words, brocantes are always subject to cancellation if they don’t get enough vendors, the rain is torrential or the mayor has a hidden agenda and needs the boulevard kept open on a particular day. While brocantes are not cancelled often, it’s good to be aware that cancellation is always possible.

Bonne Shopping!

The Antiques Diva™
(seen right enjoying the blooms with The English Rose)

Guest Blog – Paris Parfait Writes “The Art of the Deal”

As The Antiques Diva continues taking a “break from her blog” whilst settling into her new home in Berlin post-move, the Guest Blog Marathon continues with a highly esteemed visitor taking the helm in today’s muse.

Today’s Guest Blogger is Tara Bradford, American author of the “tres populaire” blog Paris Parfait, which seems to have a dash of everything from art, antiques, culture and poetry to photography and a liberal dose of political ponderings. In today’s special Antiques Diva post, you’ll see why The Diva fell in love with Paris Parfait’s writing style as Tara writes about a recent visit to a flea market as if she were recounting a romance tale.

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Paris Parfait Guest Blog – The Art of the Deal

She spotted it right away, but pretended not to notice. In French, she asked him to show her Russian religious icons, one after the other. But she wasn’t interested in Russian icons; not today.

Before that afternoon at the brocante at Parc des Princes, she’d never been interested in daggers. But at first glance at the antique dealer’s table, she could see one was very special. Four ancient ceremonial daggers were lined up in a row, their scabbards gleaming; the handles studded with semi-precious stones. Casually, she asked to see the one she liked least. He detected an accent and began talking in English about his days at university in Scotland. He went on and on, caught up in happy memories, no longer paying any attention to trying to sell his antiques.

“I’m not English,” she said. He looked crestfallen. “But your accent?…”

“I’m American,” she responded. “Perhaps you think my accent sounds a bit English, because my husband is British.”

“Ah, that’s it,” he nodded, knowingly. And he kept talking about Scotland, about his English girlfriends at university; about the fierce winters that made him long for the desert.

She asked him to show her another dagger. It was beautiful, but not unusual. Finally, she asked to see the one that had made her inwardly catch her breath.

As he drew the dagger from its silver and bronze scabbard, she tried not to react at the rare sight of the hand-carved keyhole and hand-etched design. She brushed aside his talk of the ivory handle, inlaid with coral stones. She shrugged and said, “Yes, it’s nice. How much”?

“550 Euros,” he replied gravely. She laughed. “You might as well stab me in the heart with it then.”

“350 Euros,” he offered. “No, I don’t have that kind of cash with me, but thanks,” she said, shaking her head and turning to go.

Then she looked back at him and asked, in Arabic, “Do you speak Arabic?”

“Do I speak Arabic??!!” he exclaimed. And the words came tumbling out, one after the other, so fast she could barely keep up, as he told her his story. She listened, nodding and trying to make appropriate remarks in the flowery language she hadn’t attempted for ages. After a few minutes, she asked, in Arabic, his best price for the dagger.

“For you, 100 Euros!” he shouted, beaming. “Thank you,” she responded, smiling as she handed over the cash. And he, too was happy, even though he’d dramatically undersold a 200-year-old piece.

Photo of Tara, courtesy of Di Mackey Photographer, Woman Wandering

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Paris Parfait Photography:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 France License.


Caption: Antique Syrian dagger, which has not been cleaned in many, many years on top of a Lehnert & Landrock photograph.

Caption: Close-up view of the silver and bronze dagger’s keyhole design.
Caption: A 19th-century Moroccan silver coin necklace purchased Sunday from another dealer at the brocante – no bargaining required. The coins rubbing together sound like little tinkling bells, as you walk. The mosque image is part of Tara’s collection of Lehnert & Landrock photographs

Diva News Network Video – Brussels – Place du Grand Sablon

Building on momentum from last week’s DNN Video The Hague, I decided to hit the streets again, diva style, in this special DNN episode on Brussels Place du Grand Sablon. This posh square boasts an upscale weekend antiques market every Saturday 9 am – 5pm and Sunday 9am – 1pm. Lining the square you’ll find lively cafes, chic designer shopping, interior stores and enough high-end antique boutiques to see why the Place du Grand Sablon is considered “THE” place to be for weekend Belgium entertainment. Join me as I share historical and tourist information and then delve deep inside the market to show you some of the best finds of the day!

The Antiques Diva ™

NEWS FLASH!!!
This Brussels video was picked up by CNN and shown on their CNN.com homepage on October 6th, 2008. Click here to see the official Antiques Diva shown on CNN!

http://www.youtube.com/get_player

The End of the Year Antiques and Art Calendar 2007

The Antiques Diva ™ has been hard at work, scouting out the best art, antique and craft fairs going on around the world during the remaining part of this year. From Toronto to London, Shanghai to Milan, there is always an antiques or art fair going on somewhere! Stay tuned for my upcoming 2008 Calendar of Events and Extravaganzas!

27 – 28 October
Brentwood Antique & Collectors Fair
Brentwood, Essex, England

27 October – 4 November
Istanbul Artist Fair
Istanbul, Turkey

31 October – 4 November
Charlotte Antique and Collectibles Show
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

31 October – 4 November

Cologne Fine Art Fair
Cologne, Germany

November:

1 – 4 November
Winter Antiques For Everyone Fair
Birmingham, England

1 – 10 November

Asian Art in London
London, England

2 – 4 November
West Palm Beach Antique & Collectibles Show
West Palm Beach, Florida, USA

3 – 11 November
Salon des Antiquaires de Toulouse
Toulouse, France

6 – 11 November
Ottawa, Canada

7 – 11 November
Spirit of Christmas Fair
London, England

7 – 12 November
Arte Lisboa 2007
Lisbon, Portugal

8 – 11 November
La Table
Naarden Vesting, The Netherlands

8 – 11 November
Fieramilano City 2nd Market Show of Brocantage, Antiques, Modernism, Vintage and Collectibles
Milan, Italy

8 – 12 November
Arte Padova – Contemporary Art Fair
Padova, Italy

9 – 11 November
Salon des Antiquaires
La Rochelle, France

9 – 11 November
Salon Antiquites et Brocante de Quimper
Quimper, France

9 – 11 November
Freiburger Antique and Art Sale
Freiburg, Germany

10 – 11 November
Norfolk Antique & Collectors Fair
Norwich, Norfolk, England

10 – 11 November
Foire a la Brocante du Luxembourg
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

12 – 18 November
Winter Fine Art and Antique Fair Olympia
London, England

15 – 18 November
Art and Antique Fair
Essen, Germany

15 – 19 November
Shanghai Art Fair
Shanghai, China

17 – 25 November
FERIARTE 2007 International Art and Antiques Fair
Madrid, Spain

18 – 25 November
PAN Amsterdam
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
23 – 26 November
Salon des Antiquaires Metz
Metz, France

23 – 26 November
Salon de L’Antiquite et Collections
Nantes, France

24 – 25 November
Wood Green Antique & Collectors Fair
Godmanchester, Cambs, England

30 November – 4 December
LineArt
Ghent, Belgium

December:

6 – 10 December
Millionaire Fair
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

6 – 9 December
Art Basil Miami Beach
Miami, Florida, USA

7 – 22 December
Salon des Metiers d’Art du Quebec
Quebec, Canada

My Favorite Flea Market — Foire Nationale a la Brocante et au Jambon

Your high school French isn’t as rusty as you think it is…. The name of my favorite flea market is indeed “The National Fair of the Flea Market and Ham!” It’s held for 10 days starting next weekend Sept. 28 – Oct. 7 in the Parisian suburb of L’ile de Chatou!

Over 800 vendors from “toute de France” come to Chatou, bringing with them the best assortment of antiques I have ever seen in one locale. Held twice a year – in September and March – this market, like almost all French events, is a Parisian tradition dating back centuries! While I’ve always thought the odd combo of selling pork products and antiques was a great marketing ploy to get reluctant husbands to go “brocanting” with their wives, the origins of this market date back to the “Moyen Age”. During Holy Week, pork butchers from all over France came to Paris to sell their products. One enterprising butcher decided that he wanted to “bring home more bacon”. So he started selling not only smoked ham, but the equipment for making it as well, offering his clients “the taste of Chatou year round!” The other vendors caught on to the idea and each started bringing with them more and more items, focusing on specialties from their region, namely furniture, pottery and antiques. Before they knew it, “a festival celebrating both the flea market and ham was born.”

Now, I’m still not certain how this pre-Easter celebration became a twice annual event. But I have an un-substantiated personal theory. In August, “tout de Paris” departs for their month long vacation. This is another tradition started in the Middle Ages when the stench from the annual cleaning of the Louvre’s moat (which has since been filled in) forced the citizens to flee until the gag reflex-inducing cleaning was over. This is where my part of the theory comes in to play. I believe that when the Parisians fled to the country, they found they enjoyed the country life so much that they didn’t want to return. Paris had to do something to lure them back! So I think they used the “Foire aux Lards” (or Fair of the Fats) – as the festival was then called – as an olfactory pied piper to lure them, salivating, back to the city. While this might smell a little fishy, “that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it”.

What ever reason the festival is now celebrated in the Fall as well as the Spring, The Antiques Diva ™ couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to shop two times a year – and my purse needs the rest time in between to recover from the inevitable damage I do each time I visit the brocante. If you don’t have time to go to Chatou in the next few weeks, you must definitely plan a trip to Paris in March for their next event! As soon as the dates come available, you’ll be the first to know. And once you’ve visited Chatou, you’ll come back and fall at my feet, thanking me for the introduction to what will soon be called “your favorite flea market”.

But don’t take only my word for it… one of my Roving Reporters has written in with a sensational letter that has simply done my job for me!

So, TTFN from me,

The Antiques Diva and Greetings from Lady Lotus!
(seen right, with she and I flanking the table in the garden of the Paris Ritz. La Reine sits to my right and The Colorado and Tampa Girls are in the center)

—————————————————————————

Dear Antiques Diva –

I almost started crying when I received the invitation to “Chatou” that had been forwarded from our address in France to our new home stateside (sent to me because of my frequent purchases at the fair). What was my husband thinking moving me so far away from the best brocante in the world??? I’m not a huge antique shopper, but for the six years we lived in Paris, I would drop everything when Le Foire Nationale a la Brocante et au Jambon rolled into town.

My home IS Chatou … from the desk I’m sitting at writing this letter (a gorgeous Napoleon III bureau en noyer with black leather top) to the round, marble-topped coffee table where I sat my coffee cup this morning!

I still remember my first time. My friend Roxanne and I took the RER A train 10 miles from Paris Charles de Gaulle station to Chatou-Roissy. We followed the signs to the entrance arriving at a field (3.5 hectares to be exact) of green market tents. I remember thinking that the 40 francs (probably $6 at the time) charged was quite a sum to pay just to go spend more money on stuff I probably wouldn’t like. Well, I’m not sure if it was the smell of smoked ham in the air or the many vendors who answered my poorly-worded novice questions with kindness and smiles, but I fell in love with a 19th century buffet made from cherry wood and walked out feeling richer. Of course, my economist husband pointed out that spending 7,500 francs on it made us poorer, but luckily I couldn’t hear him over the sounds of the piece being delivered into our 16eme arrondissement apartment!

Over the years, I got quite adept at negotiating delivery in the purchase price. That came in handy when I bought a huge cherry wood armoire from the Restauration époque. I know that era isn’t very popular in the antique world, but I absolutely love the simple lines, light colored wood and tiny bronze empire cuffs. The currency had changed by then, so it cost 2,000 euros. Last month, I saw a similar one here in the USA priced at a whopping $10,000.

Of course, I haven’t always bought big stuff. One year I came away with only a silver champagne bucket that was about 50 euros. I hate polishing it, but the decorative lion heads on the side just look superb as they guard my tasty bottles! I also remember another purchase, a small bedside table from the Directoire period that cost 250 euros. As my husband carried it up the escalator at Charles de Gaulle-Paris, the drawer fell out and bounced all the way down the moving staircase. Luckily no one was hurt (other than my husband’s ears as I yelled at him) and the additional dents just made it look even more authentic!

The last time I went to Chatou, I knew we were getting ready to move back to the USA . So, I scouted out four items I liked – two commodes, a round coffee table and rectangular side board. All four items were topped with black and gray St. Anne marble from the 19th and 20th centuries. I returned with my husband so that he could make the final selection, but instead of narrowing it down to one as anticipated, he negotiated with the vendor to sell us all four pieces for roughly 3,000 euros. I think I laughed for three straight days, but I guess that is proof I won’t be the only one of us that is going to miss shopping at Chatou.

Happy hunting to those of you lucky enough to attend this year! I envy you.

Best Wishes,
Lady Lotus (seen here visiting me in Amsterdam and shopping for vintage fur at Lady Days).

If you have a Chatou Shopping Success Story you’d like to share, please email (and include photos and prices if possible) to [email protected]

The Swiss Miss Goes Brocanting in Aarburg!

My friend, The Swiss Miss, just called today to tell me about a Sensational Swiss Brocante she’s going to this weekend the 24/25 of August! When The Swiss Miss calls, it’s sort of like EF Hutton – everybody listens! If there is one person whose advice The Antiques Diva ™ trusts on where to go antique shopping, it’s hers indeed.

She has managed to get her whole family involved in the obsession and even her cuddly 8-year-old daughter, The Little Swiss Miss, has started a miniature porcelain collection that will certainly be sold off at Sotheby’s someday.

Mister Swiss Miss, an avid collector himself, is to be credited (or blamed, depending on the perspective) for my husband’s addiction to Art Deco statues, antique fountains pens and deer antler chandeliers (note to the reader: it is only this last item which has caused me to point blame at the Mister). You can see in the photo how the whole Swiss Miss clan is conspiring with “mon marie” to convince me that those antlers would look great in our living room – but I didn’t buy it then and I don’t buy it now!

Aside from that one sore point, our travels together wandering antique shops and brocantes in foreign countries and exotic places have netted some of our best finds and more than once we’ve returned home after a visit “chez them” with our trunk stuffed full of newly acquired treasures.

I knew that if The Swiss Miss was telling me that the twice-annual brocante (held once at the end of April and again in August) in Aarburg, Switzerland was good, then I’d better take notes.

The Swiss Miss Family likes the Aarburg Brocante for a number of reasons, perhaps most importantly because it reminds them of the French flea markets they used to visit when they lived in the shadow of the Tour Eiffel in the City of Light. Of course, the French brocante feeling might have something to do with the fact that Aarburg is located in the French speaking part of central Switzerland, located a mere 20k away from the well-known city of Bern.

But The Swiss Miss says it is more than the French aspects that catches her fancy. “Aarburg has a small river and a covered bridge and some of the stalls are set up in the covered bridge… it gets a little crowded browsing on the bridge, but it’s worth it.”

“In some ways it’s typically Swiss,” she comments using
a tone of voice that indicates this isn’t necessarily a good thing. “The prices are typically Swiss. There were many items I would have bought (like a few more of those Art Deco bronzes we love), but the prices were too high. Then again, we purchased two reproduction commodes for the price we would have paid for one any place else. Plus, there are many restaurants (Italian, French and German food) and each time we go to the Aarburg Brocante a stop at the pastry and coffee shop is a must”.

As a mother, The Swiss Miss is also particularly impressed with the efforts of the brocante coordinators to make the Aarburg Brocante an outing for the whole family. In the center of the brocante you’ll find a special area for the “children’s puce” where Swiss children are actually out and about selling their own used items. Little Swiss Miss brings her spare Francs and buys some great (to an eight year old mind) bargains. Some rare finds last time were a special Harry Potter purse and some cat and dog figurines.

The Swiss Miss concludes her elegy to Aarburg’s brocante by saying, “I doubt if you have time to come visit this weekend, but you really must plan to come visit in the end of April so we can show you around. It’s only an hour and half from our home in Zurich and certainly worth the drive.”

Much Love and Happy Shopping,

The Antiques Diva
with a little help from her regional reporter, The Swiss Miss

Email me with your travel tips, photos, shopping stories and advice…. [email protected]