Shopping in Provence

The magical French Larkspur tour of Provence included a lot of shopping.  Antique shopping.  Which it is no secret that I think this is one of the very best things in the world. And this is the part of the world to do it in.  Tracey has gone to great lengths to create a tour in which we stopped  by some of the most charming brocantes and flea markets.  In the hilltop towns we found stunning little shops like this one owned by Corrine Massat:

French Linen Sheet

In this picture the shop owner held open the sheets for me to inspect.  I brought a couple sheets home. The texture, condition, and quality of the linen sheets that I purchased in this shop was exceptional.  I still have a bit of fabric left from these pieces and its nice to know they are there to play a role in future projects.

French Brocante

 

One day we wandered through the town of Menerbes.  I really enjoyed this spot, there were several shops that were owned and run by creatives.  One was a distributor of Annie Sloan paint and furniture artist, Atelier de Couleurs. Taking a peek at her studio was definitely worth the stop.

We also popped into a store, Petits Points de Provence, that was filled with handmade sewn items and in the corner was a sewing machine.  I spoke to the owner and explained that I too sewed items for work.  She was a lovely vibrant person. She proudly gave me a little tour of her shop.  She explained her favorite kind of work to do is cross stitch.

She had some incredible pieces, one caught my eye of teacups, as I ooooed and awed at it she explained that it was done by her mother who had Parkinson’s disease, and the action of handstiching calmed her.

I really wanted to bring a treasure of from her shop home and to support the hard work that she does, so I purchased this sweet cross stitch of a little girl.  I may frame it or turn it into a coin purse.  But right now its nice to just come upon it occasionally in my stash and to be reminded of the visit.

We also spent some time in Loumarin, that is filled with all sorts of charming shops.  One of the highlights was a shop, La Boutique de L’Antiquaire,  owned by a very talented woman named, Nathalie.   Her shop is tucked into a storefront off a small cobblestone street and is in a very old building.  I will let the pictures of it do the talking.

Provence Brocante

She too is a seamstress and had her sewing machine in the back corner.  Her thing is my thing, vintage linen.  She does inspiring work with the fabrics.  It was as if I caught a glimpse of the tres chic French version of who I want to be.  To have a shop like that and to be able to create in that space would be my ultimate dream.   It was a pleasure just to get a taste of it and to bring home some treasures from it.

Tracey knowing that I was on the hunt for textiles brought us to La Boutique de Francine in L’Isle-our-la-Sorgue.  We actually stopped in twice on one day because the visit was interrupted by a lunch reservation.  As you can see this place need dedicated time.

Provence Textile Shop

Provence Textile shop

Provence Textile Shop

Then the following day we had two flea markets scheduled that got rained out, so we ended up shopping there again.  It would take several more than 3 visits to unearth all the special fabrics in this place.  I was so happy with each piece I got and I bought a lot.  The shop owner Laurence (which is such a beautiful name, don’t you think?) was such a pleasure to shop from, she kept throwing in little pieces of fabrics I picked as “presents” in my haul.  It has brought me a lot of joy working with these fabrics.  I hope one day to return.

We made it to one flea market, and I am so glad we did.  We went to the  flea market in Villeneuve-les-Avignon.

Provence Flea Market

I love my finds from this market.  I got some beautiful linens, the highlights being some remnants of old quilts.  I used some red and pink quilt fabrics for Holiday pillows. I have been saving some purple colored quilts for a winter/spring pillows, these will be for sale at this weekend’s sale.

 

I also found the French Soldier fabric here that I used for tiny stockings, the fabric was in the form of two small pillows, I am pleased that they ended up as stockings after being in my care.

There was a lot of art at this market, I found several paintings, and I have sold some but I haven’t been able to part with a couple.


Here are a couple of the paintings I purchased and I thought I needed to photograph them in our stunning Air B and B.

There was a large selection of dishes to be admired

       Even though I was nervous about getting dishes home, I couldn’t resist this set of red and white vintage plates:

Lastly you should know if you travel with Tracey and Steve you will have first class service.  Steve spends the entire time circling the market taking your purchases back to the van.  Lugging around my purchases is a sacrifice I am surely willing to take for some good finds, but to NOT have to do it is nothing short of incredible. It is an immensely better flea market experience. I didn’t know flea market shopping could get better, because I love it so much, but it does with Steve managing your bags.

During the trip we visited outdoor markets here and there.  These greeted us with fresh foods, beautiful flowers, sometimes clothing, sometimes fabric, sometimes vintage fabric and antiques.  There was always something to be discovered.

I treasure the  sweet memories that it has gifted me with.  Also to be able to work with the fabric that is coupled with memories of this magical place has added special element to my creativity, this is hard to out into words. I indeed feel incredibly grateful for this enriching experience.

-Emily