Enduring Beauty at Quillan’s Brocante

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Cafe Brocante Renaissance in Quillan is run by Johanna and Franklin. I chatted to Franklin on a busy Saturday morning, with customers browsing around us

Franklin, you have a beautiful shop. Were you always a brocante?

No, previously I had a publicity agency in Luxembourg, but Johanna has always done this

Where did you come here from?

We’re both originally Dutch, but we’ve been together for nine years and we have been in Quillan for the last seven of them. Before that I had been living in Luxembourg and Johanna was in Rennes le Chateau, running a B & B and a brocante

What attracted you to Quillan?

We loved this area but felt we needed to be somewhere in a larger town. We liked Quillan and it was a good choice for the business

Working as a couple, do you each have separate duties?

Yes, Johanna is really the boss. She runs the shop and has the experience to dress it and display the items beautifully. I do repairs and paint pieces of furniture. Of course, we love to go out buying together, mainly in France

Do you buy solely from markets or from individuals as well?

We go on frequent buying trips, but people also come here every day to sell things to us because we are the only brocante in the area. The first year it was just the occasional person, but little by little it built and by the second year we had people arriving all the time

What’s your favourite thing in the shop at the moment?

Well, we did have a round 1930s Philips Radio, a wonderful shaped piece. It was sold to someone who really loved it but I could have sold in ten times over and I would have happily kept it. Sometimes there are pieces that I am quite sorry to see gone

And Johanna, what is your favourite piece? This signed and dated 1930s picture of a lady. I think it’s very elegant

I have to say that I agree: it is a charming picture, and it could very easily have found its way home with me. Instead I came away with some lovely glass droplets made with reclaimed glass from Aleppo

The shop is open Weds – Saturday 10 – 17.30h

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