It is well-known that the French just have it. Whatever it is, they just have it. That certain je ne sais quoi. They naturally ooze effortless elegance and style, and it’s just a matter of time before science proves it’s in their genes. And this is not just a modern day phenomenon; in the 18th century, Marie Antoinette and her Château de Versailles was the mecca for fashion and interiors inspiration. If you want to add understated glamour to your boudoir or chambre then French antiques are where it’s at.
Investing in a few key French antiques will bring rustic, unshowy charm to your home. “But how do I start my French makeover?” we hear you ask. Look no further, we’re here to help!
Swot up on your vocab
Not sure how to distinguish an armoire from a chaise lounge? Then you may need to start at the top. Chances are, once you search Google images for your chosen item, you’ll gain more of an understanding as to what the fancy French vocabulary actually means. But please don’t fall into the misconception that we have the British equivalent, an armoire is so much more than just a wardrobe: see our full article on this to start learning more.
Visit the flea markets
If you have a spare morning, and enjoy moseying around markets, then the best place to start finding shabby-chic French antiques is at a flea market. We love (and take regular trips to) the Sunbury Antiques Market where you’ll find many authentic French antiques traders. If you have a whole weekend and a few spare Euros, you may even want to take a trip over the channel crossing. We absolutely adore visiting the L’Isle sur la Sorgue antiques market and the Villeneuve-les-Avignon flea market, and could easily get lost in them for hours on end.
Embrace the flaws…
It’s very likely that most 18th and 19th century French antiques will have lived quite a life and will have a story to tell! (Quite literally if you’re this antique french book!). But this adds to the charm of such pieces; just look at this stunning antique French toy horse and tell us we’re wrong!
…Or consider restoration
On the other hand, if it’s a piece that’s been shown a lot of love, like this 19th century French sofa, then don’t rule it out just yet – you can always consider restoration, or in this case reupholstery. Restoration is a fantastic way to update and repair a piece, without it losing its original charm.
We absolutely adore all types of French antiques here at Layer (had you guessed?), and so naturally, we team up with some wonderful traders who are experts in this field. They source some real gems, and we feature them on Layer for you to purchase and enjoy in your home. Want a gorgeous pair of 19th century French boudoir chairs? A stunning French antique mirror with an intricate detailed frame? Or even a vintage French wine cage to store your Châteauneuf-du-Pape? Layer is here to help!
We simply can’t get enough of French antiques, and we hope you’re inspired to add that little je ne sais quoi to your home.
If you need further inspiration take a look at our feature interview with of our traders, Rowland Leach, over at The French Loft, and you’re guaranteed to fall en amour with all things French antique.
Post by Lucy Victoria Jackson, our wonderful contributing writer. You can read more about her work here.