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Alisanne Antiques Shopping Guide

Interview with Transports Mari recommended Antiques Shopping Guide, Alisanne Frew of Alisanne Wonderland

Alisanne, you’ve been helping buyers findbeautiful things for great prices in the professional and wholesale markets foryears, why is it important to work with an antiques guide when shopping inFrance?



After experiencing thousands of buying,packing, and shipping challenges with antiques over the years, I’ve narrowed myreasons to these seven:

1. Number. The sheer number of pieces offered for sale inthe markets—all the way from private auctions to outdoor street sales—makes itvery difficult for a person without a guide to choose the right venue at theright time of year for the types of pieces they want. Some markets cover many acreswith thousands of dealers. Some markets are only open to professionals or areannounced only days before. Because I shop the markets throughout the year andhave personal connections with dealers, shopkeepers, and show organizers, Iwill know about a market and the types of pieces likely to be offered for sale,with enough advance notice to plan. This gives buyers the opportunity to focusin on what they really want, with more likelihood of success.

2. Variety. In France, the variety of styles, time periods,materials, artisans, colors, and sizes—for each type of piece—can beoverwhelming if a buyer isn’t familiar with the possibilities and where eachtype of piece is most likely to be discovered for a good price.

3. Quality experiences. It would be easy for a buyer visiting France to missthe hundreds of elegant opportunities to sample French living. I make it apoint to incorporate the delight of living in France with the shoppingexperience. As an antiques guide living for years in Paris and Provence, I havecontacts for unique and top quality transportation, dining, events,entertainment, and lodging. 

4. Negotiating price. If the language and cultural nuances are unfamiliar toa buyer, then desired pieces could easily be lost or priced out of range becauseof simple misunderstandings. Learning to negotiate deals for beautiful antiquesin France brings much satisfaction, and many people enjoy learning from anantiques guide, who can locate authentic bargains and negotiate fair and happydeals. Often, after buyers travel with me as their professional shopping guide,they use their new skills and my professional contacts to purchase on theirown.

5. The purchase. There are many ways to make a purchase in France,and being unfamiliar with the complexities can cost a buyer valuable shoppingtime after final prices are agreed upon. An antiques guide will know the bestway to purchase items in any given situation or arrange for purchasing creditsbefore shopping trips.

6. After the purchase - delivery, packing, shipping. It’s not just shopping in France that can beoverwhelming, buyers will also need to deal with reliable delivery, packing,and international shipping. As a Transports Mari recommended antiques guide,I’ve had years of experience with the exasperating details of internationaldeliveries. My job is to make sure the shopping experience is a successfuldelight and limit or eliminate the burdens of administrative complexity. 

Without a guide, buyers would need to dealwith translation, transportation formalities, temporary storage, packing andcrating, insurance, customs, air and maritime freight, and white glove servicearrangements. 

7. The best pieces are often not perfect. Sometimes the most beautiful pieces are not ingood condition. Sometimes extraordinary pieces are overlooked until someonewith an experienced eye for particular period details notices them. Buyerswithout the immediate resources and contacts to warehouse and schedule a piecefor restoration must relinquish such opportunities. Because of the skill of myartisan and restoration contacts in France and ability to safely warehouse,buyers who accompany me can be assured that when we discover something special,almost no matter the condition or amount of time needed to restore, anything ispossible.