French Country Furniture & Antiques

May 31st, 2004, 10:34 AM
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French Country Furniture & Antiques

My wife are moving from a tiny 1 bedroom apt to a house and need lots of furniture! We're planning a trip to France to shop. We would like to find a bedroom set, dining room set, a few commodes, etc.

We are looking for handcarved Louis XV style furniture in great condition and are willing to travel around the country to find what we want but could use A LOT of guidance.

We plan to go Jul 17-25. Any suggestions on where to go? Also, does anyone have an idea of what kind of savings (if any) we can plan to see from buying/shipping from France?

For example, we saw a beautifully handcarved Louis XV dining table ($8800) with 10 chairs ($5900) at an antique dealer in New York.

What could we expect to spend in France?

Many thanks for any/all feedback!

nyc_price is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 11:08 AM
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Head down to Provence and Isle sur la Sorgue, which has many antique dealers and a very large market with additional dealers on Sundays.
Underhill is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 11:31 AM
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I would say that by the time you add shipping you will pay ALL of that--and particularly with the Euro strength now.
Gretchen is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 11:32 AM
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Ask PBProvence for her antique shop address in Connecticut.
Gretchen is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 11:33 AM
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If you do take underhill's suggestion, visit Vincent-Mit-L'Ane who is Jean-Jaques Bourgeous, who wrote a book "The golden age of the rush bottom chair." (I don't read enough French to buy it) but he is on the same street as Michel Biehn, (worth a visit ) which is a main one called Route d'Apt. At the shop they will tell you where to go for what you want and can spend. Also the well-known and very formidable, Hélene Degrugillier-Dampiene at her Mas de Curebourg where her furniture is that features in many French magazinnes and homes. All I could affort was a cigale to add to my collection, but she trated me the same as the guy near me buying a pricely provençal buffet.
cigalechanta is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 11:42 AM
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sorry, treated was the word , but google or buy a French home type magazine like Coté Sud, Cote Ouest, Maison & Jardin (Mediterranée) and there will be lists of shops.
cigalechanta is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 12:33 PM
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Savings? I really wouldn't expect to realize any savings. It may cost you more to ship a piece of furniture than what you pay for the piece to begin with. And with the dollar so weak, antiques in France are extremely expensive now.

I was at the yearly antiques market in Ile-sur-la-Sorgue, with PBPRovence, in April, and we agreed the merchandise was shoddy and the prices absolutely exorbitant.

You are probably better off buying in the USA right now. Once you add in the costs of traveling over there and shipping, you could pay double what you'd pay here at home.
StCirq is online now  
May 31st, 2004, 01:09 PM
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Thank you all for your replies!

I have always heard that shipping is a big expense but assumed the prices for the furniture would be a lot less than from an antique dealer here in US.


If it cost the same money (or more) to purchase furniture in France as within antique stores here in the US then how do the antique stores here make money?

Surely they know where to go, buy lots of volume and know fair values and how to negotiate a good price (and ship in large volume for savings) but how much better can the price be they negotiate versus what the average person can do?

Just trying to educate myself here

Thanks again!!
nyc_price is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 01:15 PM
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You will get the lesser price than here. They double, triple what they pay at our stateside shops. You may come out even with the shipping costs, maybe. BUT you will get a wider choice.
cigalechanta is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 01:28 PM
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I'm not an antiques expert, but I do know that the dealers can negotiate far better prices than you can to begin with. Furthermore, they buy in bulk and ship entire containers over to the States, thereby getting the lowest possible shipping costs. If you send a partial container, or just a few pieces, you'll be paying premium prices. No dealer is going to pay as much to ship an item as he paid for the item, and it's quite possible you will.
Figure how much this trip is going to cost you, especially if you will be moving around all over France. Those costs are not insignificant.
For more expert advice, I'd post a message here for PBProvence.

StCirq is online now  
May 31st, 2004, 02:51 PM
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Reproduction Louis furniture? Tasteless.


If you want the real thing and have an elegant house from the right period and several hundreds of thousands/millions of dollars then go ahead, I doubt shipping would be of consequence. You're best to buy a repro table of smaller and less grandiose proportions, have some style please.
m_kingdom2 is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 02:58 PM
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kingdom, the original Louis anything furniture are all in museums; you contradict yourself in your post....
mitchdesj is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 03:02 PM
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Lots of private collectors have originals, I have little time for someone who wants a 10-seater dining table, unless one has a large enough room to house it, it is full of pretensions.

If one must have repro Louis, then buy it cheaply, or better still, second-hand - it has no resale value, it is undesirable and naff!
m_kingdom2 is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 03:34 PM
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St. Cirq has it correct. Our children are in the "business" in Texas--containers come into Houston and at auction it is affordagble--to them for resale. If you have "pickers" in Provence all the time (just as in the US) then things can become available. For someone to go to France for 8 days and expect to pick out their antique furniture is ludicrous, even on an unlimited budget.
The shipping cost is probably equal or more than the purchase, even if negotiated.
Gretchen is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 03:56 PM
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Answer the OP's question and give not insulting or pompous answers.
What a sorry lot.
Sorry nyc_price. Not the best of our lot.
coccinelle is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 05:38 PM
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Why not try looking for the antique furniture you like on ebay? There might be some sellers there who might have just what you're looking for. If you've never looked at antiques on ebay you'd be surprised what you can get, and at what prices.
Jun 1st, 2004, 07:25 AM
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er.. um... I hesitate to say this, but come to the Brandywine Valley area in Delaware/Pennsylvania. The duPont company influence in French things is rampant. (Think Winterthur museum...)
And, I have been to antique dealers in the Chadds Ford/Centerville area that have the most beautiful furniture.
And, its not inexpensive, and much of it is original.
SuzieC is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 09:50 AM
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Purchasing large furniture items on your own, with limited time will most likely be cost prohibitive especially after factoring in the cost and hassle of crating, shipping, customs, etc. Maybe you could purchase your furniture in the US and shop for wonderful accessories on your trip to France?
grantop is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 10:17 AM
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Here's a site that may be of help to you.
cigalechanta is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 10:52 AM
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By chance you're thinking about purchasing some items here, you might look at the French furniture manufacturer Grange. They have a website and I believe a NYC showroom. They make very high end items, in several styles, and I believe most of their customers are designers, not direct retail.

In terms of the antique dealers making money, while it is true they have a large markup, it isn't neccessarily true that their cost includes duty and freight, something you'll pay if you bring it back. If a dealer in NY aquires a French piece from 1800, he may very well have acquired it from an estate here, negating the import issue. If the market price is the market price, worldwide, you will have that cost.
Ryan is offline  

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