Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Looking for easy-to-pack antique collectables on your trip to France? 

If you're hooked on vintage textiles and headed toward Carcassonne you'll want to stop by an antique shop specializing in 19th century linen and lace camisoles and undershirts. The antique dealer, Henriette-Faye-Nunez, told me her best clients are Americans, who, she said were très friand  for the Napoleon III era undergarments.  (Friand is a fun French word to use; it means partial to, fond of; a friandise is a treat or bonbon.)

Antiquités Henriette-Faye-Nunez, 4 place du Château, Cité de Carcassonne.

As beguiling as the embroidered vintage linens, the bust of Dame Carcas, a Sarrasin princess, charms visitors at the main entrance to the double-walled medieval city, a World Heritage site with 52 towers and barbicans.

Legend has it that Dame Carcas saved her people by ruse, putting an end to the five-year siege led by Charlemagne against the Arab  occupation of the fortified city.  After years of battles, the princess posted straw dummies on the towers to create the impression she still had troops. With very little to feed the city, she ordered that the last pig in the fortress be force-fed with what was left of the grain, then tossed from a tower. When it landed at the feet of Charlemagne's men, Charlemagne is said to have abandoned the siege, reasoning that the Sarrasins must still have food if they could afford to throw out a fattened pig.

Text and photos ©2009 P.B. Lecron

No comments:

Post a Comment