ARTHUR’S ROAD TRIP TO FRANCE

A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to go on a trip to the south of France to visit a number of brocantes in the hunt for new stock. Sourcing is one of my favourite parts of this job as I love the fast-paced environment of antique markets, especially all the interesting conversations you have with sellers and the process of bartering for the best price (Mollie & I did a French course in the summer leading up to the trip to try and prepare...not sure how well I remembered this during the heated pressure of the bargain!)

IMG_0797.JPG
IMG_1069.JPG
IMG_0731.JPG

My girlfriend Yasmin and I set off in the Rag & Bone van. We drove from Bristol to Calais, via Folkstone, and then down to Dijon. The weather was miserable and rainy the whole drive down, but after going through Dijon we spent a day at the coast in Hyeres, where luckily the weather changed for the better! Hyeres was unbelievably beautiful, and we managed to catch the sunset.

IMG_0747.JPG

We slept in the van the first few nights before picking up any stock, which was surprisingly lovely when we were right next to the sea. After our brief stopover at the coast, we visited the first market in the quaint university city of Aix-en-provence. The market was small, but we managed to find a few gems - my favourite being a portrait of a judge:

IMG_5611.jpg
IMG_5619.jpg
IMG_5616.jpg

The next market we went to was in a town called Villeneuve-lès-Avignon which was stunning. The market had an early start of 6am, so we spent the first part of the day looking around and buying things with a torch! We managed to find loads of special items here that I absolutely adore. Below you can see some of the treasures we found: a dark butchery still life, a 19th century French Town Bench and French faience sink.

 I was strangely mesmerised by this unusually dark still life of a butchery, Yasmin however was less captivated by this bloody scene of carnage…

I was strangely mesmerised by this unusually dark still life of a butchery, Yasmin however was less captivated by this bloody scene of carnage…

 This bench would have originally been installed in the town square...

This bench would have originally been installed in the town square...

 Made by Keller et Guerin (K&G) in Luneville in around 1870 this beautiful elegant and rare sink is decorated in the Begonia pattern

Made by Keller et Guerin (K&G) in Luneville in around 1870 this beautiful elegant and rare sink is decorated in the Begonia pattern

After the brocante market we packed up the van with all our wonderful finds and visited Jardins de l'abbaye Saint-Andre. It is a walk away from the main tourist centre of Avignon, through the village and up to the Jardins - but we were rewarded with incredible views of Avignon across the Rhone river - I would definitely recommend a visit here.

IMG_0967.JPG
IMG_0949.JPG
IMG_0964.JPG
IMG_0968.JPG

We had been sleeping in the van since the beginning of the trip, but now it was full to the brim with all of our market finds, so we had to find somewhere else to sleep for the night (thank god!) We managed to find a hidden treasure on airbnb; a converted farmhouse with a natural pool near a small village called Le Thor. It was a magical place full of animals, also after staying in the van for so long it was amazing to have an actual bed…

IMG_1015.JPG
IMG_1032.JPG

The next morning we had a scenic drive through the French countryside on the way to our final market which was in an old medieval town called Carpentras. This market was the highlight with a fantastic mix of professional traders and car boot style sellers. It is hard to narrow it down to the best of the bunch from Carpentras, but the lifesize french doberman statue has a special place in my heart! Equally fantastic is the revolving dentist cabinet, abstract still life, and an amazing selection of jewellery caskets all pictured below...

IMG_5530.jpg
IMG_5470.jpg
IMG_5818.jpg
IMG_6440.jpg

We also had a hilarious moment where we had bought a wonderful art deco, bistro table from a man at the beginning of the day, which we asked if we could collect later. On our return we found that the seller was tucking into lunch on it! Obviously we couldn’t possibly interrupt him so we said we would collect all our other bits from around the Carpentras market first. He was still mid-meal over an hour later! I can’t help thinking that this man (who was also consuming gallons of rosé ) knew a thing or two about the best way to trade in antiques...

IMG_1081.JPG
IMG_0914.JPG
IMG_1053.JPG