The Academy France | Brocante Day

Heather Bullard | The Academy France 2017

Bonjour, mes amies! Currently I’m home and settled back into daily life, after a nearly month long visit to France to prepare for, teach, and host – The Academy. At the moment, I’m finding it somewhat difficult to express how I feel about my experience without using words that make me sound like a simpleton – amazing, memorable, and truly inspiring come to mind. But then, they do accurately describe the time I spent with those who attended, as well as my friends and team that help me pull off such an enormous event. Something remarkable happens when you bring a diverse group of creative women together. Friendships are born, creativity sparked, dreams and goals revealed, and authentic encouragement envelopes the group as a whole.

In my next few posts, I’m going to touch on our incredible week together and hope that you are able to get a sense of what it’s like to experience the little bit of the “magic” that is – The Academy!

Heather Bullard | The Academy France 2017

Our first full day is spent at a large annual brocante searching for treasures and props to use in our styling sessions. After an early morning French breakfast of warm croissants with creamy butter and homemade jam, fresh fruit, yogurt, and piping hot coffee, the attendees gather their market baskets and we head off for the day.

Heather Bullard | The Academy France 2017

Along with copper pots and pans, vintage artwork seemed to be on many wish lists. For years, I’ve been collecting oil paintings as souvenirs from my travels and it made me so happy to see original art popping out of their baskets. It really does make a wonderful memento. Just imagine the gallery wall one could create.

Heather Bullard | The Academy France 2017

Heather Bullard | The Academy France 2017

Throughout the day, we made frequent trips to our vehicles to unload heavy items and take short breaks at one of the many local cafes for a glass of wine or café crème. The narrow village streets are filled with charming scenes – window boxes spilling with flowers, ancient doorways, and the daily life of French culture.

Part of our group from left to right: NinaChloe, Debbie, Alissa, Christina, Hannah, and Marisa.

Heather Bullard | The Academy France 2017

Heather Bullard | The Academy France 2017

Kelli traveled to France with two of her dear lifelong friends. During our long lunches and dinners, they shared hilarious stories (never to be repeated) and were a pure delight to be around!

Heather Bullard | The Academy France 2017 When we returned to the chateau, I prepared apéritifs to enjoy while we had ‘show & tell’. Included were locally made cheeses (Saint Agur bleu, chèvre aux herbes, comte, and brie), fresh berries, cornichons and provençal olives, French radishes with butter and salt, and a rosé and sparkling cider from nearby Bordeaux vineyards.

Heather Bullard | The Academy France 2017

Just like the Show & Tell you may remember from grade school, everyone piles their overflowing baskets on the steps and we take turns sharing our favorites. We would claim victory on scoring a bargain, lament over the ones that got away, and generally tried not to covet each others newfound possessions. Which is actually more difficult than you might think, when there are 18 black-belt shoppers with similar taste in the mix!

Heather Bullard | The Academy France 2017

Heather Bullard | The Academy France 2017

Marisa was our light traveler of the group, and remarkably, managed to resist buying large items. She did however find a gorgeous vintage Celiné silk scarf and a few small kitchen items for her work as a food stylist.

Heather Bullard | The Academy France 2017

Heather Bullard | The Academy France 2017

Heather Bullard | The Academy France 2017

Debbie bought an antique washboard I’m still thinking about. You can see it peeking out of a basket behind her. Wouldn’t it make a unique charcuterie board? There were also lots of worn woods and neutral pottery purchased by our group….and just look at all that copper!

Heather Bullard | The Academy France 2017

Heather Bullard | The Academy France 2017

Alissa (who lives in the most charming thatched roof cottage in all of Amsterdam!) bought a pretty Delft vase and other sweet items for her fairytale home. She also owns a completely adorable giant rabbit named Wubbie!

Heather Bullard | The Academy France 2017

Heather Bullard | The Academy France 2017

Heather Bullard | The Academy France 2017

As you can see, our brocante day ended with an armful of treasures and memorable stories for everyone to bring home. And we still had a full week ahead of us to practice our styling and photography, visit French markets, and explore the rural countryside together!

Between posts you can find me on Instagram sharing highlights of daily life.
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  • katey

    Wow! How incredibly AWESOME! I hope no one was hurt in the making of this! But I’m sure there was more than enough goodies for everyone to find something perfect. haha Such wonderful finds! I agree when creative and likeminded people get together beautiful things happen. Enjoyed.

    June 23, 2017 at 9:48 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Haha! Fortunately, there was plenty for everyone! The brocante has over 350 dealers with miles of wares to choose from. 🙂

      June 23, 2017 at 9:57 am Reply
  • Melin ~ Wren Elizabeth Gifts

    Oh, Heather, what a fabulous trip! It was like we all got to sneak along in your carry-on. What fun!
    I would love to know some of the prices in USD on some of the items purchased or an example of such.
    Can hardly wait for your next installment!

    June 23, 2017 at 10:00 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Thanks for coming along! A few prices I can recall – antique copper pot sets 60eu, silver flatware service for 12 was 30eu, oil paintings from 5-40eu, cutting boards 5-20eu, and most of the ironstone and pottery were 1-15eu. This market is known as a vide grenier – a clearing of the attic – and prices are very reasonable!

      June 23, 2017 at 10:06 am Reply
  • Melin ~ Wren Elizabeth Gifts

    They sure are reasonable. As much as I would love to come along to France, might be fun to do one in S CA one day. Surely not a cool but we could learn so much from you.

    June 23, 2017 at 11:02 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Yes, I’ve been thinking of doing smaller workshops in the US for those who aren’t able to travel overseas. Will keep you posted here on the progress!

      June 23, 2017 at 11:07 am Reply
  • Melin ~ Wren Elizabeth Gifts

    Awesome! I’d love it with sometime at a flea-market or two.
    I admire you and your work!

    June 23, 2017 at 11:16 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Sounds good! And thank you.

      June 23, 2017 at 12:49 pm Reply
  • Raya

    Sounds like a dream.. On of those days I will take the time away from life as a mom and home maker and join your adventure. And maybe, sharpen my French while I’m there!

    June 23, 2017 at 12:28 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Would love to have you join us one day! We had several moms this year who did just that! 🙂

      June 23, 2017 at 12:52 pm Reply
  • Debbie

    Heather Heather Heather,
    What an absolutely extraordinary experience you created for us! This day was truly amazing! Every time I walk around the house and see a treasure, smell a soap, sprinkle a bit of gray salt, I am reminded of it all. You are kind and thoughtful and so incredibly generous. I thank you du fond de mon coeur for sharing your gifts, talents and the opportunity to experience France as one of your girlfriends! xoxo

    June 23, 2017 at 12:32 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Thank you for your kind words, Debbie. I feel very fortunate to be able to create the experience of The Academy and consider it an honor getting to know (and adore!) those who attend. Memories of a lifetime! Merci beaucoup! xo, H

      June 23, 2017 at 12:57 pm Reply
  • annette f. wood

    Playing house in France! Thanks for sharing the lovely photos.I felt completely transported. Annette in Northern Ca.

    June 23, 2017 at 3:00 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Thanks for “traveling” along with us! Vive la France! 🙂

      June 23, 2017 at 3:22 pm Reply
  • Cindy Gardner

    Your post is not only gorgeous and dream worthy it\\\\\\\’s also very timely. I\\\\\\\’ve been listening to some padcasts about goal setting so I wrote down a list of dreams/goals and attending the Academy was high on my list!! Hoping to make it a reality for next year!

    June 23, 2017 at 5:50 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      That makes me so happy! I’m going to wish it for you as well. Cheers to setting goals – and achieving them! 🙂

      June 23, 2017 at 6:36 pm Reply
  • annie diamond

    I’ve been waiting for this post–to see what I missed! I hope you’ll do it again—I would never miss it twice. Everyone looks like they had a truly amazing experience.

    June 24, 2017 at 4:26 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Hi Annie! I’m sure you would have fit right in with the group! Would love to have you anytime. 🙂

      June 24, 2017 at 6:37 am Reply
  • Liz Huber

    Heather, it’s so wonderful reading your post, and remembering all the amazing experiences we had with you, your talented team, and all the other now-good-friends we met at The Academy. All of us are having such a hard time coming ‘back down to earth’ after such an unforgettable week! I feel like I’ve just had a creative shot in the arm, and that was just what I needed. Thanks sweet Heather!

    June 25, 2017 at 9:58 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      It’s been the same for me. Thoughts wander to France on a daily basis. Thank you for attending this year…your fun spirit and warm encouragement of everyone was a highlight of my week! xo, H

      June 26, 2017 at 9:06 am Reply
  • Vicki

    Looks like a lovely experience, but I am most impressed with the women in your group. They just all look so…….American!! A happy nature that can’t be ignored (no scowling glares here). I lived in Europe for 5 years, and I say you can always spot an American woman. A pretty smile, a laid-back style that is enviable, a casual, pleasant nature that just speaks to me. And darling shoes!

    July 5, 2017 at 5:50 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Happiness exudes! Each year women from around the globe attend The Academy – America, Canada, Australia, and The Netherlands, to name a few. Perhaps it’s the incredible atmosphere that gives them their glow!

      July 11, 2017 at 9:23 am Reply

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