One of Franck’s and my favorite hobbies is trolling Burgundy for antiques. As you can well imagine, however, dragging three children on antiquing excursions pretty much sucks 100% of the pleasure out of it.
I too would have also considered antique shopping monumentally boring when I was their age, so even though it annoys me I can understand their whining and general cheese-offedness when we do drag them along. Let’s face it – antiquing isn’t really a compelling activity until you have a place of your own to put all those treasures you find.
Whenever we can we arrange babysitting, and we’re also as focused as lasers when all the planets are in alignment and we get the rare chance to go. We do not waste a single minute, which means we tend to return to the same reliable antique spots that we have sussed out over the years and where we have had particularly good luck in the past. We don’t have the luxury of time (have to get home for the sitter!) to stray too far afield.
But over the past few years we had heard so many good things about the amazing antiquing to be had in the town of Chalon – just thirty minutes South of us here in Villers-la-Faye, 20 minutes past Beaune – that we decided to give it a try.
Taking advantage of the last few weeks when the glow-worm (aka Clémentine) was still in my stomach, we went there for the day at the beginning of January.
We were not disappointed in either the town or the antiquing. Chalon is really worth a visit and has a fantastic pedestrian only shopping area full of beautiful old buildings, as you can see here;
It was trés froid the day we went, which is why the café tables outside are looking a little deserted. However, when things are a bit warmer apparently this area of town is bustling.
The medieval building have tonnes of amazing details, like massive wooden doors with door knockers that look like this;
The area of shops clustered around the cathedral is dominated by antique shops of every description and price range.
But I did find the perfect buffet, or bahut as it is known in France, to fill the wall of our newly renovated and painted Maison des Chaumes. We’re currently working away at getting our house ready to be rented out this summer in July / August when we’re on vacation in Canada, and plan on renting it out full time as a sabbatical home and vacation rental when we make the move back to Canada in the summer of 2009.
Anyway, I just love my bahut, which I unearthed in another antique store in Chalon under a pile of old wooden drawers. It is what we call a “meuble de métier“, meaning that rather than a piece of furniture for the home it was used in a shop, probably a small village grocery store for counter and storage space.
It looks perfect and is the first thing you see as you walk in our front door. Only problem with the antiques we find, as you can see from my photo, is that once we get them chez nous they seem to become clutter magnets. However, rest assured we always clean up our flotsam and jetsam before renters arrive!
I’m still on my quest for that perfect armoire and I think if we dress her warmly and bring enough bottles I might just be able to warm Clémentine up to the idea of being dragged along to Chalon with us.