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18 April, 2012

Fabulous 100+ Year Old Frenchy Find...France in "la Belle Époque"

062 I have something wonderful to show you…a fabulous French treasure over 100 years old…a bound copy of all of the issues of the Parisian magazine La Famille from 1896! How it found its way there is a mystery, but it was waiting in a little antique shop when my friend Linda at Nina’s Nest noticed it. It was love at first sight for me, so Linda kindly let it come home with me! Merci, mon amie! And you will not believe what I paid for this amazing peek into Parisian life over a century ago…$20! Yes, you read that right…$20…a real steal for something so very special!

009 In fact, my treasure is so special that our seldom-seen CEO Ozzie is serving as our co-host today! Ozzie begs your forgiveness if I seem a little geeky, but the French teacher in me is coming out! Warning! Warning!

006 It’s a rainy afternoon and a little cool…finally…so I have been reading. I have cut a few of my somewhat battered Knockout roses to put in my new (old) finger vase and made some Russian tea. And I have pulled out my best vintage Wedgwood, hoping that you will join me. So settle down with a cup of tea and a croissant and let me give you a little peek inside my new treasure!

004 Isn’t it amazing…with embossed gold lettering and a lovely patina on the old leather spine. All of the issues for the year are bound in one book…one hundred and sixteen years old! It was a wonderful time in French history…la Belle Époque…a long period of peace and prosperity for the growing French middle class.

013 I found so much that I want to share that I have had to keep little tabs on the pages…so much that I will have to show you over multiple posts!

018It is a weekly magazine, so I have 52 issues to read! And in each issue…advice and recipes for young wives, fun magic tricks to entertain your guests when the conversation lags at the dinner table, a summary of the news, financial advice, directions for creating lovely handwork, a chapter of a continuing novel…

042  …and wonderful engravings on the cover of each issue and scattered throughout the magazine. This is one of my favorites…and you will know why if you know how much I love my Quimper plates…a little Breton couple! I love their provincial dress!

062 It is so much fun to read history as it is being made! Here…a rave review of the fabulous Sarah Bernhardt…the darling of the French theater! Other interesting stories…excitement about the first-ever Olympic Games to be held in Athens, Greece that summer and the continuing work on the métropolitain…the Parisian subway system, to be completed in 1900. And equally interesting, but of no historical significance…the guards at the Statue of Liberty, a gift to the United States from the people of France ten years earlier, are reported to be frightened by strange noises coming from the interior and believe it to be haunted!

048 Perhaps the hardest story to read for me was the account of the first visit to France of the newly crowned Russian Tsar Nicholas II and the Tsarina Alexandra along with their little daughter Olga. They are reported to be a very charming and gracious couple, making the rounds of the European capitals to aid him in his understanding of foreign relations. Little do they know what lies ahead of them…murdered twenty-two years later along with little Olga and her yet unborn sisters and brother at the hands of the Bolsheviks…the future mercifully hidden from them.

041On a much lighter note, each issue also contains numerous fashion plates and patterns, presenting the latest styles of the season! Just look at that tiny waist…

027 …which explains the numerous ads for corsets in each issue! This one was designed with the help of a doctor to protect the stomach while giving you a slim waist and “harmonious proportions.”

031 And speaking of sewing and fashions, I have something else special to show you…antique spools of thread from the brocante in France…a much-loved gift from my sweet friend Pat! Don’t you love the patina on the wooden spools and the sheen of the thread…almost like silk, although it is cotton. Why doesn’t our thread look like that? Fabulous!

002 And that’s it for now! I have lots more to show you so I will periodically post some more of the wonderful contents of the magazines. I have a post filled with fashions in mind and certainly more of those wonderful engravings. I haven’t tried scanning them yet because I am concerned about protecting the integrity of the spine of the book, so please bear with me if the quality is a little less than perfect. I hope you will enjoy my treasure along with me!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my frenchy treasures! Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Stephanie Lynn at Under the Table and Dreaming for the Sunday Showcase Party

Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for Thrifty Treasures
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday

Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Beth at The Stories of A2Z for Tutorials and Tips Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Anita at Cedar Hill Ranch for Cowgirl Up on Tuesdays
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Swing into Spring

Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Sherry at No Minimalist Here for the Open House Party on Thursdays
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Honey at 2805 for Potpourri Friday

Heather and Vanessa at At the Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Friday
Sherry at The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday
Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special

See you next time! A la prochaine!


  1. Hi Debbie...

    Ohh my...a treasure find indeed! I would love to have one of these fabulous french magazine/books! Thanks for sharing it with us today! I sooo enjoyed the lovely tea that you set as well! Beautiful photos, my friend!

    Warmest spring wishes,

  2. My gosh- WHAT a find! Can you believe it? Can you believe the PRICE? Wow- I bet it is wonderful to be able to just sit down and study that thing from front cover to back. Imagine someone saving all those copies from that long ago. It just goes to show that there were those that loved fashion and magazines in the generations prior to ours. Can't wait to see more- xo Diana

  3. Wow, Debbie, you must have been over the moon with that find! What a good friend Linda is! : ) I recall seeing a similar book at an antique mart here a few months ago, but it wasn't French and I believe it was newspapers. I'm sure it would make an interesting read, too, to see what was going on back in the day.

  4. Oh Debbie, what a fabulous find. I know you are so excited. I love the leather on the book, how fun and I am sure you are thoroughly all the ads adn articles. Great find. Hugs, Marty

  5. Isn't it wonderful when you find something that you love so much!
    Your french book is fascinating and I love seeing some of the pictures.


  6. Wow, Debbie, what a find and good for you to enjoy since you can read it.

  7. Debbie,
    What a find! Love reading things like that...although I don't think I remember much French...

  8. Now that ranks pretty high with one of the best buys ever! Such great pictures and stories!
    Blessings, Lorraine

  9. What an AMAZING find Debbie! And for $20??? Unbelievable!! I love it and can't wait for you to share more..the stories it could tell!

    Thank you for your sweet comment and for loving my wreath! lol It almost killed me! And that you pinned it just made my day!

    Thank you!

    Lou Cinda

  10. You know I would love anything having to do with the la Belle Époque! I would intellectually devour something like this. You are one lucky gal with one great find. I'll keep watching as you share more of this treasure.

  11. Lovely find! Lovely croissants! BUT - are those the real ones or the ones you've "archived" !!!

    Mary in Oregon

  12. That is a wonderful book! YOu are one lucky lady! Thank you for sharing what's inside and I look forward to seeing more in the future. :)

  13. Debbie, great post on the interesting! Especially the subway and the Olympics. BTW, did you eat both croissants? : ) Linda

  14. I know you are enjoying reading the issues of Belle Epoche. I would have cried reading about Nicholas II, sad.....


  15. looking forward to your future "shares" from this fabulous find!

  16. What a wonderful treasure you discovered! I wouldn't be able to read it, but the pictures are lovely. I'll be Karen at Graphics Fairy would love a look! :)

  17. What a treasure trove of information. I can feel your excitement over this discovery. I just love old books and magazines. It is getting more difficult to find something of this quality at a good price, so you are truly fortunate in this find. I am eagerly looking forward to your future posts sharing the contents!

  18. I was so excited to find this post in my mailbox this morning! What a find!

    I will be anticipating your posts from this. I adore really old magazines anyway -- it is like a window on the world of the period, but to find a whole year's worth, leather bound -- priceless.

    So poignant, the story of the Russian royal family. Haven't you always wondered if Anastasia really survived?

  19. Wow! Lucky you! A fascinating post. And that Ozzie kitty - well, isn't he something?! Love him to pieces...Enjoy the day!
    Linda at Beautiful Ideas

  20. Deb this is an amazing treasure. I love reading your blog, it is like going to another world. I always learn something here and so enjoy you and your blog, thank you for a trip back in time. xo Kathysue

  21. Oh, my! I can just imagine the excitement you are feeling over this find. How perfect for you. Thanks for sharing with us. I'll be eager to see more, Debbie.

  22. I am so happy for you! I can just imagine how exciting it was finding that book and what interesting reading it will be; as you said, history as it was being made. And it seems in great condition. The etchings are lovely. Enjoy

  23. Debbie,
    Here I go telling my age again... As a young bride my beloved Mother~in~law and I would read the Caper's Weekly afternoons in the shade of her huge Hackberry Tree! Only once, did I see a whole year of them placed in a book such as this!!! Amazing find!!!

  24. Thank you so much for letting us enjoy this treasure with you, especially those of us who don't read French. :) I just got some magazines from the 1887's, (American), and they have been so interesting, but they are in sad condition. I am going to do my best to keep them from deteriorating any further. Your treasure is in lovely condition! I have heard they make hand held scanners that you can run over the page. I don't know how well they work, but I've been considering one.

  25. What a fabulous treasure! My parents had an old catalogue with pictures like this. You just can't beat the illustrations. How beautiful.

  26. A Fabulous find at an unbelievable price, love the illustrations that you have shared & look forward to seeing many more ~ Yum, yum on the treats & tea too!

  27. I love that book! Please give us all French lessons. I so want to learn. I hope you will share more soon.

  28. looking forward to your future "shares" from this fabulous find. Am now looking for Furniture in Lake Charles.

  29. Congratulations on this fab find!

  30. Only YOU could get this excited about a dusty old book!!! LOL It know it is the perfect treasure for you & I can't wait to see how you feature all that is inside.

    Now, those ancient spools of thread excite ME!!

  31. Wow, wow, amazing find and for only $20.00. I would so love to look thru that beauty.
    Thanks for sharing.

  32. Debbie, I love this post! And I have to tell you that I'm a new follower and that you inspired me to create a french vintage flower box for the tablescapes I'm working on for an event. If you would like to see it, here is the link:
    thanks for your wonderful ideas,
    Leslie Harris (aka Gwen Moss Blog)

  33. Debbie, I love it!! Wow, history in the making. And you read French, so it is a real treasure trove for you. I added a link to this post on Cedar Hill Ranch's FB page, since I love it!!

  34. What an incredible find! The best part is that it has found such an appreciative home.

  35. I love your Patrician china. My mother has a set and it's so pretty.

  36. Oh My! You Lucky, Lucky Lady!!! That is SUCH a TREASURE!!! Don't you just love those little sticky tabs so we don't have to "DOG EAR" anymore? I have so many books with the little tabs sticking out like that,hehe!
    I ALSO LOVE,LOVE,LOVE that finger vase of yours!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thank you for sharing, I'm going to HAVE to spend MORE TIME examining ALL OF YOUR PHOTOS to soak in all that fantastic stuff!
    Have a wonderful weekend,

  37. Wow,Debbie! I'll bet you were doing the happy dance when Linda noticed the book. I always love old publications, especially if they're leather bound. Thanks for sharing some of the pages. I really enjoyed them even though my high school French left me long ago.
    Happy weekend and fun reading.

  38. WOW! What a great find! Wish every page could be scanned and shared by all! I wonder if google books would do it???

  39. You certainly did find a treasure! And what a great friend to let you take it home.
    Mary Alice

  40. Debbie,
    What an awesome find! Thank you for joining me at Home Sweet Home!


Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I appreciate my wonderful readers!... Debbie