Sunday, February 12, 2012

Avignon... A shopping trip: the "Deballage"

This year I missed the Maisons et Objets Paris show in order to look for deals at the "deballage " in Avignon. I have been going to these outdoor giant flee market of sorts for years. It resembles Brimfield market in Massachusetts in terms of lay out and concept, but this market is mostly for "chineurs" (a dealer's scout) and dealers who sell to other dealers. Dealers come with their trucks filled with antiques from all over Europe and buyers from all corners of Europe and the States come to buy, rain, shine, wind or bitter cold!

It was absolutely FREEZING....and I am someone who actually enjoys cold weather. Winds up to 70 miles/hour, temperature below 15 Fahrenheit... as you can see, I was dressed for the cold (I am actually the one bundled up, face covered, standing with my friend Michelle).

One needs to be very fast, know exactly what to buy and how much to spend. The good stuff goes incredibly fast. I am a haggler by nature and very tough when it comes to dealing for prices and I actually enjoy the process. With the unbearable wind (I was covered head to toe by white sand dust), negotiations went fast, I was done within 2 hours. I found some great mid century chairs, armchairs in need of some Tender Loving Care and some accessories. I missed out on quite a few pieces as some dealers beat me to it... this is a ruthless world.

Scenes of the "Deballage"

The wind was fierce!

Found these chairs, negotiated at Euros 40 a piece, an amazing deal...

Missed out on Mr Swan..

Almost got this...but decided to be wise

The famous Isle Sur La Sorgues Mill wheel in its frozen state.

Back to Isle sur Sorgues to work with Bernard on my industrial pieces. While in France, the only sales that took place at the showroom where industrial pieces, chests, side tables, armoire... Industrial is still going very strong. Thankfully our designers and their clients appreciate the integrity of original 18 to 19th century pieces, rather than go for copies made in Vietnam and China. I love this part of my work, going through yards filled with rusted industrial components, a reflection of time gone by. Through this experience, I have developed a deep fascination for the Industrial Revolution that took place in Europe and America, the harshness, the brutality of these times, but also the ingenuity and inventiveness of men. I'll show you a few of the pieces that bernard will work on for my next container.

A bank safe, before and after...

This is the original, to be transformed into this... as seen in my Interieurs Showroom

This cart will make a great side table

Love the displays

Aren't they fabulous chairs!

A Bientot,



  1. Love the iron pieces, and the vault door! I would be in heaven going through this market!
    Have a happy Sunday, Francine, and thank you for sharing.

    ps- That is too cold for me too!

  2. Well done on getting the items that you did must be really tough to haggle....I'd be rubbish at it !!!!!
    We have been to the flea markets in France, but it's just been for fun for us pressure !!
    ....and, the weather here in the UK is a little colder than France, I think so, you can imagine how cold we've been although, it is getting a little milder over the next few days. Hope that you have thawed out and are admiring your purchases. Much love. XXXX

  3. That's the spirit... way to keep the Industrial alive! Can't wait to see what you bring back for us!!!

  4. That is cold, Maine hasn't been that cold. Those chairs are great. I like the bombay
    chest and couldn't see the chairs only tops . Maybe they were Louie the fifthteenth. Also that clock face would make a great table.
    I have always loved things like that market. Went to the Paris Flea market, that was such a wonderful day. Stay warm Sweet lady..

  5. Nos routes ont du se croiser . Heureusement j'étais à l'intérieur

  6. I can actually FEEL the cold by just looking at the photo! I would love to attend this event, looks amazing. xo

  7. What a treat to see images from this market. Could feel the cold in that first pic! My friend was in Nice at the same time and mentioned the wind too.

  8. I wonder if the bank safe is only the door, or the whole thing. Presumably you'd have to reinforce the floors before installing?!

  9. Great post! I would love to do the deballage in Avignon someday! but not in that kind of weather my dear, you are adedicated soul! I really like the shot of Isle sur la Sorgue all frozen... and your industrial pieces are to die for!

    Stay warm, I am chilled just looking at your pix!

    a bientôt!


  10. my heart is pounding ... i would have been right there with you.. hat, scarf, mittens, long underwear and ski attire... (to brave the elements) ready for it all...

    your showroom is gorgeous.... class act darling.... xoxo

  11. Good for you for braving that weather - it looks bitter!! Too bad about Mr. Swan but looks like you found some marvelous things!!

  12. I also shop the Avignon event....and it was freezing! When you find that one amazing piece you almost forget the cold for the moment though.... Love the shot of L'Isle sur la Sorgue's water wheel.

  13. I'm so jealous Francine (of course, not of the cold) but what a fantastic trip--what a wonderful eye you have and a true talent to transform objects into works of art! I will have to visit you soon,
    all the best, barbara

  14. ...the kind of shopping that has you drinking a cognac for breakfast at 7am to keep warm! Can't believe the IslS water wheel is actually frozen!

  15. The tour eiffel piece is wonderful. I'm off to Avignon!

  16. He that travels in theory has no inconveniences; he has shade and sunshine at his disposal, and wherever he alights finds tables of plenty and looks of gaiety. These ideas are indulged till the day of departure arrives, the chaise is called, and the progress of happiness begins. A few miles teach him the fallacies of imagination. The road is dusty, the air is sultry, the horses are sluggish. He longs for the time of dinner that he may eat and rest. The inn is crowded, his orders are neglected, and nothing remains but that he devour in haste what the cook has spoiled, and drive on in quest of better entertainment. He finds at night a more commodious house, but the best is always worse than he expected.


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