Miranda Uechtritz, antique dealer and author of Art De La Table: Mastering the Art of Antique Table Styling, shares tips on navigating French brocantes.

L'histoire de Miranda

Dallas-born, Sydney-educated, Miranda developed her business in London and often sources antiques or visits her parents in France. Her international background offers a diverse perspective that likely contributes to her eye for uniquely elegant pieces.

Her online boutique, Maison Fête et Cie, merges her expertise in bespoke luxury event design with a lifelong passion for exquisite antiques—a passion she inherited from her mum.

If you visit her website, you’ll quickly notice Miranda’s gift for styling vintage tableware in a way that feels both timeless and refreshing.

L'art de la Brocante

“[Being at a brocante] is kind of like being on a movie set. There’s someone moving in every direction, and everywhere you look there’s something to see.”

As we speak, Miranda is dressed in a black knit vest with ruffle accents as she describes a typical morning at a brocante.

You’re waking up, usually at the crack of dawn. You might arrive a bit early, so you’re lining up outside surrounded by people speaking French. After the vendors set everything up, you’ll notice them sitting in the antique chairs they have for sale. They’ll sip wine at nine in the morning, have their baguettes, and just chat and smoke. It’s like being immersed in the French culture.

When asked if she typically stops somewhere for lunch, Miranda says, “I’m usually too excited to go home and unpack everything.” However, she always indulges in a quick café.

Miranda’s tips for navigating the experience like a pro: “It’s always good to have some idea in your head of what you’re looking for. I find that if I’m looking for one small thing in detail, like a set of knives, I notice so much more.

Also, take your time. People often rush because they think everything will sell out, but when I slow down, I end up finding really amazing pieces that I would have missed if I was in a rush.”

For those looking to take vintage pieces back home, Miranda tells us that small items like cutlery are a great option as they often come in their original box.

Otherwise, she suggests bringing an extra suitcase and some heavy-duty bubble wrap. Mais bien sûr, getting larger or more fragile items boxed and shipped is always the way to go.

Styling Antiques at Home

“Antiques are art; they’re just functional art.”

If you’re intimidated to buy antiques because you wouldn’t know how to style them, don’t fret. Miranda has some fabulous tips for incorporating these belle pieces into your home.

Don’t be afraid to use tableware as décor.” She encourages, “The shelves in my dining space are full of 18th-century blue and white Chinese export porcelain, and I’ve got a cabinet with glass doors that’s full of my Annie Goblets and other glassware pieces.”

“If you find cool plates, get a hanger and stick them on your walls; they make great alternative art. I think with modern tableware, which is only made for one use, people have forgotten that antique pieces were actually made as pieces of art, each one thought out and crafted by hand.”

Miranda teaches us that setting a beautiful table with handmade antiques can help us appreciate the experience of enjoying a meal together.

“If you’re used to getting through a meal quickly, using antique tableware pieces that are so intricate in their beauty will make you slow down, pick it up, and take it in, and make you slow down for the rest of the meal instead of rushing through it.

For something that we do so thoughtlessly every day, three times a day, why not make it a beautiful experience as often as you can?”

Art De La Table

For anyone interested in table styling, we highly recommend Miranda’s online guidebook, Art De La Table: Mastering The Art of Antique Table Styling. Her comprehensive road map to tablescaping will tell you everything you need to know about styling antique tableware at home, from working with colour and pattern to the art of floral arranging.

Merci Beaucoup, Miranda, for sharing your brocante expertise and styling tips with us. If you want more antique table styling ideas, check out her Instagram!

Until next time, bon brocantage!