I'm off to France again on Saturday. That's the third time in three months. And goodness me its an expensive business, just getting there. So you'd be quite within your rights to ask why?! And I'm not entirely sure I can give you the most logical answer, if we are being strictly business-like. But here's why I go.
I love France. I also have a certain felicity in French: I get by*. Compared to my Spanish, where I actually have a house, my French is positively masterful. With a bit more practice and vocab I'd be quite comfortable. I love the countryside too. Everywhere I go I see houses I'd give my eye teeth to own. So that's one reason: I love it.
But I'm supposed to be in business and buying for profit. Not that I've made one of those from my French trips yet. I dare not tell you what the ferry and concomitant costs have totalled.
Pound plummets, costs dealer money
So, presumably France must be a lot cheaper, that's why you dealers all go there right? When the exchange rate was £1 = €1.47 then, yes, it was a bit cheaper, But now, post the stupidy of the Brexit referendum result, its down to 1.10 and, based on very ropey O Level Maths, that means things cost about 1/3 more. So now things in France are either within a gnats whisker of the UK price or a bit more expensive. Caution is required.
It's all about the stock
So why go? The stock. Its all about the stock. French stuff seems to be in vogue right now and I can see why. Those faded pastel shades, the variety, the feel, the local nature of it, the woods, the artisan qualities and so on. Everything is different, from garden tables and chairs to faded and peeling window shutters that just look so gorgeous. From large armoires that have familiarity and country appeal that a Georgian chest on chest lacks, from the sinuous floating fronts of a good commode to the simple elegant proportions of a farm-made kitchen table. France provides us with a new angle on the familiar and as such their stuff looks fresh and appealing to UK buyers.
That's why I go: I love being there, its fun talking to and negotiating with the dealers. Its a joy to go to and stay in new and different places and it means I am seeing more of the country than I have for years. Its lovely surrounding yourself with the different fresh stuff and thinking about the possibilities of it.
The only drawback is the costs, and that's up to me to sort, and I intend to. I'll keep popping over there and picking bits up for all the reasons above, but I'll be doing it differently after this trip, and that might be a whole 'nother article. Maybe. After.
Check my Instagram feed for pics as I go: link below
PS I realise I have waffled on for ages and not even touched on the thing I was going to mention. Oh dear. Sorry. You'll just have to come back now.
Most stupid question I’ve ever been asked? “What’s the French for provenance?”
*by which I really mean I have a knack with the accent and can grunt convincingly whilst wave my hands about. This fools a lot of people a lot of the time