French Bee Hives

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The History of the Bee Symbol
The ubiquitous Provencal bee has its origins in the old 1st century Merovingian dynasty. Childeric the 1st was the first French king to use the bee as a symbol. A symbol of immortality and resurrection, the bee was chosen so as to link the new dynasty to the very origins of France. Golden bees (in fact, cicadas) were discovered in 1653 in Tournai in Childeric’s tomb.  The original bee was actually shaped more like the cicada, but the symbol has evolved to be more of a honeybee shape. The bee is believed to be one of the oldest symbols of French royalty.

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Container from France has arrived!




Today is an exciting day!  Crown and Colony has been unpacking the latest antiques shipment and transforming the shops with treasures from abroad.   By Monday morning we will have everything new and exciting and wonderful on the floors at Crown and Colony, Aubergine and RF Antique Shops in Fairhope, AL — All the shops are within walking distance to each other — such an advantage for our customers!

The owners of these three shops, Ann and Peter Fargason, travel to France on multiple buying trips throughout the year to curate a collection of special finds and antiques to bring back home to the retail shops.  The trip always begins with a train ride to some wonderful antique show or village.

IMG_2734  Ann about to board a train in France! It was quite cold, but that did not stop her and Peter — the buying was fabulous on this last trip!

 And, the eating of French cuisine was, as usual, a special treat. Below, Ann and Peter about to order lunch at one of their favorite and charming French cafes.  07-IMG_3120

The final choices from the menu:

Seared fish over potatoes and sauteed vegetables.


AND….How could one not love a puff pastry with French cheese inside?


Hotel de Ville with a fresh produce market outside.


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Palissy Ware / Majolica

Palissy Ware / Majolica   Image result for books on palissy and majolica      

‘Palissy Ware’ was launched in great reproduction efforts in 1849 and is a term for ceramics produced in the style of the famous French potter Bernard Palissy (1510-1590), the great French Renaissance potter, who created a style of ceramic art that reproduced three-dimensional still lifes.

Very special Palissy Style Plates are shown below –  This particular plate is decorated in relief with a lobster and shells.  And another displaying a crab.  This originated with the idea that using naturalistic scenes of plants and animals cast from life brought authenticity into the home.

Palissy copied things like the fish, frogs, lizards, & snails arranged onto large platters (wall plates, wall platters, chargers) — He copied floral and fauna found in or near Paris. He patterned the fish after those found in the Seine River and the fossil shells are easily recognized as the tertiary shells of the Paris basin. These pièces rustiques, as Palissy himself called them, were made for decorative purposes only. Palissy was the mother of what is now called Majolica.


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Confit Pots

Confit Pots

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     Confit is the French word that means “to preserve”– the mustard and green pots were used for storing cooked meats and then buried in the ground or stored in stone-lined larders. This storage process preserved the cooked meat without refrigeration and could then be enjoyed throughout the winter months. The bottom halves were left unglazed for burying in the ground since the glaze would normally fall off sealed in the ground.  Meats, most often duck, goose, or pork, preserved in this method are often considered a delicacy. Confit d’oie is preserved goose and confit de canard is preserved duck. The meat in these dishes is moist and delicate.

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Absinthe Cocktails

Early history of the absinthe drink

Absinthe was first created in 1792 by Pierre Ordinaire, a French doctor living in Switzerland. His intention was to deliver the extract of the wormwood plant — which had long been known to have powerful healing effects — in a handy form.

The production of absinthe in a commercial sense began in 1797 when a man named Major Dubied bought the recipe from Dr. Ordinaire.  He began to manufacture the spirit with his son-in-law, Henri-Louis Pernod, in Val-de-Travers, Switzerland.

As the production of absinthe proved successful, Pernod in 1805, moved production to a larger facility across the border in Pontarlier, France. And then what began as a medicinal elixir, absinthe steadily grew into a global phenomenon.

In France, absinthe quickly caught on as the favorite drink of the aristocracy. In the 1850’s, the popularity of absinthe skyrocketed as the bohemian literary crowd embraced the “Green Fairy”. Many famous poets, writers and artists of the day routinely reached for a glass in search of inspiration.

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