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Antiques fresh from France

WORKERS UNLOAD the latest shipment of French antiques at Chateau Sonoma on Thursday. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

WORKERS UNLOAD the latest shipment of French antiques at Chateau Sonoma on Thursday. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

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Chateau Sonoma received a special shipment of more than 500 French antiques Thursday, Dec. 5.

Owner Sarah Anderson regularly travels to France searching for antique goods to sell in her West Napa Street store. The pieces sold at the store date back to 18th-century France and up through the 1920s.

Anderson said she looks for unique pieces that are “showstoppers” to bring back. France, she notes, is unique in its attention to detail in all aspects of life. “I’m looking for something that is going to stand out in a living room, that will set a certain mood,” Anderson said.

Anderson works with Alisanne Frew, who moved from the U.S. to France and helps with buying antiques for the Sonoma store. Anderson spent the month of September in France with Frew, and the two traveled to 20 cities searching flea markets for notable antiques. They searched in markets in and around Paris and in the southern regions of France.

“I always look for things that are so unusual you have to stop and ask what they are,” Frew said, describing a foot warmer she brought back that was made to keep women’s feet warm while they were in church. So far, Frew has brought back 65 containers from France to Chateau Sonoma.

Among the 590 pieces unloaded on Thursday were paintings, tables, vases, forks from a famous French blacksmith and a replica of a Spanish Armada ship.

Frew and Anderson have been shopping at these flea markets for decades, making them pros at bargaining, Frew said. “When it comes to getting the right price, it’s all about seeing the merchandise and being familiar with it so you know the value,” Frew explained. Anderson added that, because the two got such good deals on items this trip, Chateau Sonoma will be able to sell them for better prices.

Frew says she does have one particular market where she always finds incredible pieces, but she prefers to keep that a store secret.

Chateau Sonoma will hold its holiday marketplace showcasing its newly received items from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, and from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, in the garden courtyard behind the shop. Area artists will also sell their pieces and Anderson will be selling large holiday wreaths from a flower market in San Francisco. Refreshments, including champagne from Sigh, will be provided. Chateau Sonoma is located at 153 W. Napa St.