"Salvaging" Authentic Light Fixtures

When we received the first electrical quote for the cellar in Beaune we almost keeled over. It was about ten times what we had anticipated, and when we asked the electrician mais, pourquoi? he banged on about how tricky and expensive it was to install atmospheric and indirect lighting to highlight the cellar’s pillars and vaulted ceiling.

Franck had the clever idea of running this by Mystery Man aka The Wine Cellar Expert and he poo-poo’d the notion right away. All you needed were regular floor lamps, he said, some flat local rocks, and a bit of ingenuity.

The floor lamps were no problem to pick up at our local Bricorama store in Beaune. The local rocks were a bit trickier. These cost a lot of money to buy from the stone quarry, but thanks to Franck’s Sunday bike rides with Martial he managed to source out some free ones. Ingenuity is never a problem when Franck is involved.

Franck and Martial’s bike rides go over hill and dale, and as luck would have it during one of their recent excusrsions Franck found a field of indeterminate ownership chock full of exactly the type of large, flat local stones the Mystery Cellar Expert said were perfect. They were just sitting there, and if the field was in fact owned by somebody (it looked like it was just left abandoned) he was no doubt helping the farmer who would otherwise have to move them before plowing…

So when my Dad was here the two of them trooped off on their Stone Mission in their dirtiest jeans and came back with a trunk full of stones. They washed them carefully, and then took them to the cellar where they reconnoitered with the Mystery Cellar Expert. And here’s what they did with them:

They used them to hide the (inexpensive) floor lamps and create a rather cool and spooky indirect light around the base of the pillars.

Here they are again, and in my opinion they compliment our tasting table very nicely. I find the effect strangely makes me think of Stonehenge (or, more accurately Stonehenge as it was showcased in one of my favorite movies “This is Spinal Tap” where the stage directors get the measurements wrong).


Can’t you just picture the little elves dancing around the base of our pillars too?