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Brocante et aux

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 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™

The Antiques Diva Birthday Bash – Ready, Set, Fete!

No one loves glamour and decadence more than me – The Antiques Diva™ – so for my Birthday Bash this October I decided to “Do it Diva Style” in a celebration worthy of the last 3 ½ decades! We dressed in formal duds and drank champagne until the wee hours of the night while nibbling on an endless array of fine foods.

The Invitations:
I painted regular boxes (purchased from the post office) to look like Tuxedos and couried them to each guest. A red note card with a black and white image of Audrey Hepburn, à la Breakfast at Tiffany’s, on the cover read:

Enjoy the Finer Things in Life

Diamonds, Chocolates and Champagne are this Diva’s Best Friend!

Join me as I celebrate my 35th birthday for
“Een Luxe Avond” – A Champagne Celebration!

Inside the Tuxedo boxes, each guest received a box of chocolates filled with champagne, champagne corks (indicating that there was more to come!), faux diamonds (giant crystals) inside a swatch of black tuile along with a detailed description of what to wear:

Drape yourself in Diamonds Darling, This is Your Chance to Shine! For Gents, Think James Bond. While a “Smoking” jacket isn’t necessary, it’s certainly welcome.

The Guests:
As Chairman of an international women’s club, I decided this fete was the perfect time to spoil my Executive Board Members with a divalicious night-out as a way to thank them for their hard work throughout the year! So while my birthday was the excuse for the fete, the real reason behind the party wasn’t about me at all – it was a celebration of all the wonderful women with whom I volunteer! Sadly not all the guests were photographed!

Setting The Scene:
The invitation set the scene in advance that this wasn’t your average birthday cake and candles type of celebration! But the real glamour came when the guests showed up in festive attire. In low key Holland where everyone lives in casual wear, putting on party dresses and pearls put everyone in a festive mood! When each guest walked in the door, a person hired to answer the door (and serve later in the evening) took their coats and ceremoniously popped their first glass of champagne in their hand!
The Venue:
The setting for the fete was Chez Moi! I merely pulled a few unnecessary pieces of furniture from the room to allow more room for the guests to mingle and added some simple-yet-elegant décor. The key here was clearing surface areas so guests would have room to set down their glasses and finger-food plates while having staff on hand to clear the room of discarded dishes was the key to the organization!

The Décor:
Everyone who knows me knows my favorite colors are red & yellow! For my fete (and to off-set my pale yellow walls and neutral décor) I made an enormous floral arrangement in a vase shaped like a wine glass. The base of the globe was filled with lemons and an enormous arrangement of red roses and sunflowers topped off the décor. But the real centerpiece was the giant champagne bucket filled with crushed ice and Piper champagne. This bucket, a vintage piece from the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo, is silver plate and was one of my birthday presents from my husband. He purchased it, plus a dozen champagne glasses, for me this year at Chatou’s Foire National de la Brocante et aux Jambon.

The Music:
We started the night wit
h none other than the Diva News Network’s theme song La Vie en Rose and after listening to some Louis Armstrong and Edith Piaf moved onto a mixture of Frank Sinatra, Jamie Cullum, Katie Melua, Diana Krall and the newest CD from the First Lady of France (Carla Bruni). The latter was a birthday cadeaux from Roving Reporter La Reine.

The Gift:
The Ladies of my IWC Executive Board thrilled me with perhaps the most perfect present imaginable – they bought me a burl-walnut framed antique lithograph from the 1800’s – the image is of my favorite castle nearby my home here in Holland! I love this castle so much that I actually spent 6 months painting it in my art class at Impressions Amsterdam!

The Menu:
Rather than serving a buffet of foods, I hired 2 helpers to serve finger foods all night! As much as I wanted help on party night so that I could relax and enjoy the festivities, there was no way I was relinquishing control of my kitchen for the preparation of the goods. As a Cordon Bleu trained gourmet cook, I couldn’t let someone else do the cooking for me! For two days before the fete, I celebrated in a frenzy of cooking in the kitchen preparing a divalicious menu for my guests.

Signature Drink:
Piper Champagne

Hor d’oeuvres:
Stuffed Olives


Dates stuffed with Goats Cheese and Candied Ginger

Herbed Gougeres

Figs with Calvados

First Course:
Foie Gras with Toast, Fig Confiture and Quail Eggs

A Traditional Caviar Service, served with Cream Fraiche, freshly snipped chives and lightly toasted challah with Quail Eggs

Endive topped with Raisins and Nuts and Honey Balsamic Dressing

A Vegetable Platter with Cherry Tomatoes, Baby Carrots, Miniature Asparagus, Cucumbers, Red Peppers and Snow Peas

Zucchini Vichyssoise (served in coffee cups)

Shrimp Ceviche Cucumber Cups

Smoked Salmon & Avocado

Smoked Salmon Pinwheels topped with Salmon Roe

Lemongrass Shrimp Skewers
Pink Peppercorn Lamb and Roasted Carrot Kabobs

Magret de Canard kabob with sliced caramelized apples and roasted potatoes

Selection of Artisanal Cheese

Fig Tartlettes

Lemon Curd & Raspberry Tartlettes

Crème Brulee

Fresh Strawberries

Chocolates served alongside Espresso, Cappuccino and Tea

Thanks to all my fantastic Board members for your hard work throughout the year and for helping me celebrate my birthday, Diva-style!!

~ The Antiques Diva

The Antiques Diva Does Ruby Lane

In yesterday’s blog highlighting Blandine Bayoux’s boutique, I mentioned that Antiques Diva™ Readers need not despair because Jolietrouvaille offers a wonderful assortment of antique French country “kitchenalia” online! Today, with that in mind, I want to take you on a stroll through the cobblestone streets of Ruby Lane. Here you can discover hundreds of independent shops showcasing quality antiques and art, vintage collectibles and jewelry items from around the world. And you don’t even need to leave your armchair.

While it is nice to be able to travel to Paris to visit the twice annual La Foire Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambon, sometimes a diva must be practical. A trip to Paris merely to go antique shopping is many things, but practical isn’t one of them! When readers ask me for an online resource to go to for antique shopping, Ruby Lane is one of the first resources I think of! While eBay might be chock full of antiques for sale, Ruby Lane preselects their vendors, establishing relationships with the most compelling vendors around the globe. says, “Buying items from a Ruby Lane shop is similar to buying from a seller on Etsy: most store owners explain their selling and return or exchange policies, afford potential buyers the opportunity to ask questions before making a purchase; some even offers sales, coupons, or other purchase incentives; and many invite commissions for custom work.” The website is wonderfully organized by category or by newly arrived items. And their blog, Notes from The Lane, is also a great resource providing a framework of information on their items for sale. I’ve used their site as a resource so frequently; I’ve just added them as one of my “Diva Worthy Links”.

If you haven’t visited Ruby Lane, take a trip today to America’s best Antiques District! As always, tell them The Antiques Diva™ sent you!

Until next time, see you in “The Lanes”!

The Antiques Diva™

Expatica – Bringing Home The Bacon & Antiques Too

In a special article this week, The Antiques Diva™ sets Expatica Readers straight on Paris’ bizarrely titled ‘National Fair of the Flea Market and Ham’.

The fall session of La Foire Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambon takes place between September 26 – Oct 5, 2008. Over 800 vendors from “toute de France” come to the Parisian suburb of Chatou for 10 divalicious days, selling the best antiques and gourmet ham products in France.

Read what The Antiques Diva™ has to say about the history of this flea market in this Expatica article – Bringing Home The Bacon and Antiques Too!

Jambon Lovers Discount:

If you haven’t booked your airline tickets to visit Chatou, it’s not too late to take advantage of the Air France special discount for Jambon Lovers! You’ll receive a 25-45% discount when flying to Paris until Oct 11, 2008. Mention discount code 04367AF when reserving.

One Minute Diva – The Foire Nationale a la Brocante et aux Jambons March 2008

Dear Diva’s,

You’ve heard me wax poetically about the famed Foire Nationale a la Brocante et aux Jambons twice before so I won’t regal you with details of this giant French flea market with over 800 vendors held in the Parisian suburb of Chatou, but I wanted to give you a quick reminder to book your ticket to Paris to attend the Spring Brocante.

Air France is offering a special discount to Jambon Lovers offering as much as a 25-45% discount when you book roundtrip airfare with them between March 2nd and 21st. Enter Event ID 03115AF when booking.

Chatou details:
When: Dealer Day March 6. Open to the Public March 7 – 17

Time: Daily from 10am to 7pm

Where: Chatou, France. RER stop : Rueil-Malmaison or Chatou-Croissy

Book your tickets now!!

The Antiques Diva™

For more details see the Foire website or, better yet, read about it on the pages of the The Antiques Diva!
Part 1 – Q&A; – Where to Find My Favorite French Flea Markets
Part 2 – My Favorite Flea Market

Part 3 – One Minute Diva – The Foire Nationale…

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