Parlez-vous brocante?

to 10px; WIDTH: 300px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Spp6fAaJ14I/AAAAAAAADf8/tmggqXqZiyU/s400/086.JPG” border=”0″ />top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>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”).

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Spp6mNwXP8I/AAAAAAAADgk/a66CoW5KcNY/s400/hommedebout.jpg” border=”0″ />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”.

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Spp6glS0G4I/AAAAAAAADgU/mKyuFnIyseo/s400/commode.jpg” border=”0″ />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

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Spp6fy7NqiI/AAAAAAAADgM/PfqwhYPvUkE/s400/buffetadeauxcorps.jpg” border=”0″ />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!

to 10px; WIDTH: 399px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Spp6fhWjpEI/AAAAAAAADgE/yZ7Tg4XzBB8/s400/bergers.jpg” border=”0″ />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”!

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Spp6g791xxI/AAAAAAAADgc/7VsHQ7myuzg/s400/Duchesse+Brisee.jpg” border=”0″ />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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Roving Reporter La Reine Recommends Reading This Week

Dear Antiques Diva™,

top:5px;float:left;color:white;background:#781300;border:1px solid darkkhaki;font-size:100px;line-height:90px;padding-top:1px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Your Roving Reporter is slowly recovering from the great NYC heat wave this weekend…we didn’t hit triple-digits, but with the high humidity, it certainly felt like it. I went to our west balcony overlooking the Hudson River and tried to catch some breeze on my chaise longue, while flipping through my growing pile of unopened magazines. I subscribe to Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and Saveur (as well as another 5 or 10 other magazines.) When I lived in Europe I was used to paying around $10 per issue, so when I moved back to the USA, getting a whole year of issues for $10 was such a bargain I couldn’t help myself…now I just have to read them all!

On top of the pile of unread magazines was my first issue of Food and Wine Magazine, July 2008, which I am somehow getting for free. As I slowly flipped the pages, admiring the pictures of all the foods it is much too hot to cook, I came across an article on collecting French kitchen utensils. One of the authors’ favorites is copper pots, which I have spent hours evaluating in brocantes, puces and vide greniers throughout France. While reading the article, I quickly realized that the authors are the owners of one of my favorites web shops Objects Objects. Sadly their list of recommended shopping venues are all in Paris and none in NYC where they too live (I’ll have to ask them for some local shopping tips!), but the article, and the web shop, are a wonderful opportunity for your own armchair shopping or perfect if you’re planning a trip to Paris! I knew Antiques Diva™ readers would be interested to see this article!

If you can’t find the magazine, check the article out online! But note: there are 3 related articles…check them all out to find the full information.

Can’t talk now, have to go shopping!

La Reine