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BISTREAU, from the French western dialect, meaning innkeeper.

A bistro or bistrot /bi-stro/, is, in its original Parisian incarnation, a small restaurant, serving moderately priced simple meals in a modest setting. Bistros are defined mostly by the foods they serve. French home-style cooking, and slow-cooked foods like cassoulet a bean stew, are typical.

The word may have originated from the Russian word bystro, “quickly”. It entered the French language during the Battle of Paris in 1814.  Russian officers who wanted to be served quickly would shout “bystro“.

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Bistros likely developed out of the basement kitchens of Parisian apartments where tenants paid for both room and board.  Landlords could supplement their income by opening their kitchen to the paying public. Menus were built around foods that were simple, could be prepared in quantity and would keep over time. Wine and coffee were also served.


Within these bistro style restaurants/cafes are particular kinds of tables and chairs.  Tables are square, rectangular or round in shape and the chairs can vary in style.

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Bistro tables and chairs of Paris, created at the end of the 19th Century, were a godsend for the terraces of the small cafes (bistros in French) that were flourishing everywhere at the time.  RF Antiques, our antique garden and architectural shop carries beautiful cafe/bistro tables – large and small in size as well as varying types of bistro chairs. 

Click on our link here and go to Garden Antiques to see our selection of cafe tables and chairs:

Fermob, the leading French manufacturer of outdoor metal furniture has developed its Bistro Collection from the original “Simplex” patent registered by a Mr. Edouard Leclerc in 1889.  A typical metal seven slate chair and folding table —  This has evolved into marble top tables that weather well and are easy to clean.  Many chairs we secure from France are wooden slated with metal frames and the tables can be completely metal or a combination of marble with iron bases.mobilier de jardin, table de jardin pliante, chaise metal, chaise pliante

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Cafe- France Ralph Lauren


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The Bistro folding chairs with two slats on the backrest and five slats on the seat and the Bistro folding tables with their crossed bases are the original versions.  However, many bistro tables were made did not fold up, but maintained their smaller in nature size for a table — enough for two to four people maybe five if someone pulled up a chair on the end.

Today a classic bistro is often times family owned with a simple menu in an informal setting and relaxed.  The dishes are usually made with fresh ingredients that have been produced locally. There is typically a small selection of wine and beer. A bistro will generally serve everything on the menu all day long rather than having separate lunch and dinner items.  Which allows you to grab a quick bite to eat or just relax with a drink.


For anyone who wants a very old-fashioned experience, there’s Le Quincy in the depths of the 12th Arrondissement Or bistrot De Valois — both authentic in atmosphere and food.

Le Quincy – 28 Avenue Ledru-Rollin, 12th Arrondissement, 011-33-1-46-28-46-76


Stews, cabbages and varying selections of cheeses.

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Bistrot Valois – 1 Place de Valois, First Arrondissement, 011-33-1-42-61-35-04

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Our culinary shop, Aubergine Antiques, carries a wonderful little bistro handbook called Authentic Bistros of Paris — a must if you plan to travel to Paris to experience the flavor of the city.


A French Summer Soup

Soupe Au Pistou

A good-for-you French stew

Low fat, flavorful — this soup will bowl you over. In France, where foie gras rules, this soup stands out: It’s low fat and vegetarian.

soupe au pistou recipe

This summer soup is a Provençal dish that is iconic for France.  It is made up of cubed vegetables with a tablespoon of pistou on top.  Pistou means “pounded” — that is, pound together the ingredients: garlic, fresh basil and olive oil….much like pesto as we know it here in the U.S.

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The ingredient list is long, but the labor involved in making this soup is minimal.Image result for images of pistou

To make the pestou you will need a mortar and pestle to grind and pound the ingredients together to make the topping for the soup.Image result for images of pistou

Aubergine Antiques offers many styles and sizes of mortar and pestles – several are pictured below.  A must for any well stocked kitchen.

In your mortar and pestle you will pound the garlic and salt until it is a paste after which you add the chopped basil and lemon juice – stir in olive oil and then lastly, the tomato, topped off with pepper and Gruyere.  Mix well and taste to check the seasoning.

For the pistou

1 large clove of garlic, peeled
pinch of salt
2 cups (40g) gently packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
a few drops of lemon juice
1 small tomato; peeled, seeded, and diced
1 1/2 ounces (45g) Gruyere cheese, grated

In making this soup you will want to prepare and chop all the vegetables before starting to cook.  A good cook knows that preparation like this helps with time and staying organized with the recipe.

A good stock pot, nice utensils and cutting boards are a must.

All of these kitchen items can be purchased at Aubergines.  Call us to see what we have available.  251-928-0902

For the soup itself you will need the following:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup shallots – finely chopped
  • ½ leek – finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup chopped parsnips
  • ½ cup chopped carrots
  • 3 new potatoes – diced
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, liquid drained
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed (can use white beans if preferred)
  • a few tablespoons torn fennel fronds
  • 3 1/2 oz green beans – cut into 3/4 in. pieces
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • ½ cup dried quinoa macaroni noodles (optional)
  • salt, pepper, sugar (just a tsp. of sugar)
  • very finely grated zest & juice of 2 unwaxed lemonsImage result for images of unwaxed lemons

After you have prepared and chopped all the vegetables – Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat – add your shallots, leek & parsnips.

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Cook until translucent, then add garlic and cook for just a bit longer.

Stir in the carrots, potatoes and tomatoes and let the flavors get familiar with each other prior to adding the water and a pinch of sugar – season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add your 1/4 cup wine. Cook for about 15-20 minutes.  Vegetables should be tender, but still have a little bite to them.

Now you are ready to add the chickpeas or other beans as well as the green beans – simmer 5 minutes more.  Add your peas, parsley, lemon zest & juice and half the Gruyere.  Stir very gently.  Cook for 2 minutes longer.  You may want to add your pre-cooked noodles at this point, but optional.

VOILA!! You have completed the French Soup Recipe!

Serve in bowls with a generous dollop of pistou on top and grated Gruyere on top of that – a drizzle of virgin olive oil rounds out the dish.Image result for images of pistou

Or serve to the table with a lidded dish and let everyone serve themselves.  This crock is available at Aubergines.  251-928-0902

This Iconic French Summer Soup and many other recipes that we plan to share with you can be found in several of the cookbooks that we consistently carry at our Antique French culinary shop, Aubergines.

This particular dish was from The South of France Cookbook — with a little tweeking on my part – only because I enjoy changing recipes and making them palatable as my family likes!!

The pictures were taken at Aubergine Antiques or from Pinterest, etc.  Soupe Au Pesto:

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!





We have received a French container – Please view our website and see the latest items under What’s New

Pricing and dimensions are found under the items category.

 To view one particular item from What’s New, type the stock number in our SEARCH box and it will direct you to the item showing its price and dimensions.  You can view all the items by clicking on the specific category.

If you see anything here or on our website that you are interested in, please contact us at Crown and Colony Antiques 251-928-4808 and we will be happy to assist you in any way we can!


Below is a picture of the inlay on the top of the chest above – Gorgeous.

Imari vases – some with the French addition of brass

Empire desk with toiled leather top – We received several desks on this container.  Some are larger in size.

French benches

Buffets – Many styles and finishes



Turned leg chairs

Wine tables and French chests

The rare bouillotte lamp – perfect for a secretary or desk

View our website for hundreds of more items.

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!



Imari Ware and its special connection with France

The Japanese porcelain industry was actually pioneered by Korean potters living in Japan– Many of who came to Japan during two hostile invasions of Korea.

The Imari Port

The first porcelain made in Japan by these Korean potters is known as early Imari.  “Imari” refers to a port near the Arita kilns, from where these wares were shipped extensively to the rest of Europe.  This exportation was in full force during the second half of the 17th century and first of the 18th century.

A Fine Japanese Blue and White Imari Porcelain Plate Mid 18th Century | eBay:

Arita porcelains in the earliest days were made in the Chinese style of the period in deep blues on white backgrounds.  By the 1640’s, bright colors and bold patterns were introduced.

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While “Imari” was simply the trans-shipment port for Arita wares, it was the kilns at Arita which formed the heart of the Japanese porcelain industry.

The demand for porcelain spiked in the international market shortly after the industry had begun to develop in Japan.  It was at that time the Dutch began to encourage Japan to fill the need of the European community wanting porcelains.

The blue and white Imari porcelain and the more colorful Imari that the Dutch brought to Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was some of the first Japanese art to which Europeans were exposed.

Imari — Founded by Korean potters, inspired by Chinese styles, and encouraged by Dutch traders, this Japanese porcelain absorbed foreign influence while also maintaining uniquely Japanese elements.

From 1659, Japan’s fledgling blue and white export industry flourished. However, it was Japan’s innovative, colourful wares that provoked a European frenzy in the 1680s.

During this time Louis XIV, King of France, received 1,500 pieces of porcelain from the Siamese Embassy 

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The Siam embassy was bringing a proposal for an alliance between France and Siam.  Can you imagine today mixing Politics and Porcelain?

This transaction was just another example of how trade alliances influenced products of countries crossing borders and oceans.  Thus, the influence of the French in the Asian world and the Asian world impacting the French.

 Many gifts, in addition to the porcelain, were given to the King of France and in turn the Siam embassy ordered vast amounts of French products to be shipped to the Siamese court: 4,264 mirrors similar to those of the Galerie des Glaces were ordered to decorate the palace of…

Narai, The King of Siam.

 Among other orders were 160 French cannons, telescopes, glasses, clocks and various velvet pieces and crystal decorative elements. They also ordered two geographical globes, inscribed in Thai by French artisans, as well as seven carpets from the Savonnerie manufactory.

France’s Voyage to Siam

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King Louis XIV indulged this alliance and reciprocated the honor of these special visits by sending his own embassy to Siam in 1685.  He did this to not only further commercial relations with  Siam, but to engage in a scientific expedition of Africa, the Indies, and China. Below are original pictures of the expedition, compliments of Harvard University:

Zebras seen at Cape Good Hope

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King Narai on his elephant

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The voyage to Siam

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Here in 1685 an ambassador of France is giving King Narai of Siam a letter from King Louis XIV

18 October 1685 - King Narai and the French ambassador

It is amazing how the trade of simple Imari ware porcelain played a part in opening doors to the East for the beginning of new world trade relationships!

Colors of Imari

Imari wares are bold and ostentatious, characterized by dense patterns. Typically, the Imari palette includes underglaze blue, iron-red enamel (rust color) and sometimes gold.

Imari’s iconic color combination proved to be very popular in Europe – so much so that…

European factories began making their own versions of “Imari”, including the Chantilly factory in Oise, France and the Rouen manufactory in Normandy, France — In fact, a patent was granted to the Chantilly factory in 1735 by Louis XV which specifically describes the right to make porcelain façon de Japon:

(“in imitation of the porcelain of Japan”).

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The Japanese Kakiemon style of Arita porcelain, Japan, known as “Fleurs Indiennes” (“Flowers of the Indies”) (below) was also used as inspiration as the French European production of Imari style porcelain got underway.

A Kakiemon teapot and cover 17th century (2):

photo from auction house – privately owned

After this initial period, up to the end of the 18th century, French porcelain manufacturers would progressively abandon their Japanese designs, to become more French in character, so in oversight this began …the French Porcelain production, such as Limoges porcelain and the evolutionary journey from blue on white to various colors indicative to Imari Ware most seen today, but often times embellished with French effects such as ormolu.

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Bowl on Stand; Unknown; Imari, Japan; stand late 17th century; bowl about 1720; mount about 1740; Porcelain and gilt bronze mounts; 18.1 × 19.8 cm (7 1/8 × 7 13/16 in.); 74.DI.28:

photo from

Our Imari

We invite you to visit our Imari Room at Crown and Colony Antiques where we house a generous supply of Imari Ware — plates, vases, chargers and other novelty pieces coveted by collectors.

If you are unable to come in for a visit, you can view our Imari online at  Call us if you need assistance 251-928-4808

Credits to:  Anna Willmann for some content used in this post
Department of Asian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art * most pictures are of our own collection of Imari, but some, used only to educate, are from other sources

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!



Light is pure; it penetrates darkness; it moves with incredible velocity; it nourishes life; it illuminates and therefore it is a fitting symbol of the Church and Religions dating back to ancient times.

19th C. Pair of Italian Altar Polychromed Candlesticks | From a unique collection of antique and modern candleholders and candelabra at

In the history of religion, light and fire have frequently accompanied the sacred rites of many peoples. The fire from the altar candlestick is used symbolically for those things holy- giving light to those things respected.

French Altar Candlestick - Candle Holders - Candle Sticks:

In the beginning it was lamps fed with olive oil that gave light.  Since typical church services were held in the evening or early morning, it was natural to have light; however, the candle and candlestick came at slow progression.   In the early days of the Church, candlesticks were not placed on the altar though lights were used in the church, and especially near the altar–the light originally was lamps and chandeliers fed with oil and lit.

There are FIVE parts to the candlestick:

  1.  The foot
  2.  The stem
  3.  The knop, which is usually in the middle and aids lifting of the  candlestick
  4.  The bowl, used to receive the drippings from the burning wax candle
  5.  The pricket, used to hold the wax candle in place

Altar candlesticks are made of GOLD, SILVER, COPPER GILT, LATTEN (an alloy of copper and zinc that resembles brass), BRASS, CRYSTAL or WOOD.

The first ancient altar candlesticks were low in nature with tapers of no great height,Image result for images of short candlesticks for the altar where high tapers placed on top of the candlesticks are of modern introduction.

RF ANTIQUES and CROWN AND COLONY ANTIQUES carries altar candlesticks in all shapes and sizes and made of wood and metals.  We maintain a beautiful selection at all times.  They are used in homes on fireplace mantels, dining tables, buffets, entry hall pieces — in bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.  They are an accessory that should be in every home.

On the candlesticks in the picture below– used in an entry way — you can clearly see the prickets on the top of the candlestick where the candle would remain secure.

“Since ancient times, light and fire have reminded people that God is here with us. When you bring light you are reminding people that God is with us always.  In the Protestant and Catholic faith the lighted candle also reminds us that Christ is the Light of the world.  Many persons like to think of the two candles on or beside the Lord’s table as reminders that Christ is both human and divine.”

Altar Candlesticks no matter where they are used bring beauty and pleasure to the eye of the beholder.

Below are metal candlesticks found at RF Antiques

 If you want to see some of the oldest altar candlesticks, some dating back to the 15th century, there are many churches in France that have beautiful altars where candlesticks are still displayed and used. Here are a few that may be of interest:

An altar with elaborate candlesticks in St. Sulpice Cathedral in Paris, France —Related image

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Mont Saint Michel Abbey: In Normandy, France and still home to Benedictine monks.Mont Saint Michel Abbey

Reims Cathedral: Reims, France, on the Vesle River east-northeast of Paris.  Over 800 years old – it took over a century to complete.Reims Cathedral

Saint Michel d’Aiguilhe: Le Puy-en-Velay, France.  There are 268 steep steps carved right into the rock face that have to be climbed!  This church was constructed in the middle of the 10th century. Saint Michel d'Aiguilhe

The history of the altar candlestick is rich.  The candlesticks that we have in our shops have their own story depending on where they came from in France.  Whether you have just one or several, the candlestick presents itself as a true conversation piece for the home.

Single altar candlesticks or displayed in pairs –they give a wonderful texture and interest to any room.

Please visit our showrooms to see all the choices we offer.  You can also visit our website  If you see something you like, please call us 251-928-8336 or 251-928-4808 to inquire.

most pictures are our own however for those that are not we give special credit to, BlisshomeandDesign, RobertaPetersDesign and and Pinterest for sharing pictures for the informational use in this post

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!