Saturday 26th October 2019


The owner of a vintage furniture and homewares store brings the crème-de-la-crème of French antiques to the Ribble Valley following an exciting buying trip on the continent, writes Mary Lee-Slade  

Smug Fox on Shawbridge Street in Clitheroe is known for its array of chic interiors, but after a visit to the antiques markets of Southern France, it is now positively brimming with original French treasures dating back as far as the mid-1800s.

Locally referred to as brocantes, owner Heather Potts visited the bustling wholesale bric-à-brac fairs of Béziers, Avignon and Montpellier, the three largest of their kind in Europe. And having prepared for the voyage for four months, she knew exactly what kind of gems for which she was hunting.

“Smug Fox specialises in furniture, garden wares and home interiors that are uniquely French and Danish in character, but with this trip I was searching for a selection of more unusual and authentic antiques – the kind of ornate pieces that possess a rich history and ooze sophistication,” explained Heather.

Et voila! Heather returned home with a vast assortment of antique valuables, including a genuine Stockman dressmaker’s mannequin, used for Parisian corsetry in the mid-to-late 1800s, a nineteenth century original hand-painted Louis XV serpentine chest-of-drawers and a collection of imprinted silverware from various illustrious French hotels.

“I’m overjoyed with my new stock and the whole experience was incredible, but it wasn’t without its tribulations,” confessed Heather. “I was accompanied by my mum and neither of us are linguists, so we were getting by with limited vocab. We were managing reasonably well until we stumbled across a beautiful French antiques shop which, unbeknownst to us, was run by a Spaniard with no English or French. Communication became confusing to say the least!”

Despite the language barrier, it’s fair to say that Heather’s trip was a triumph and it’s one she hopes to repeat several times a year:

“Future trips will allow for a continuous rotation of high-quality French antiques on the Smug Fox shop floor, so there’ll be something new and exciting to see and buy on every visit. I was also able to make priceless connections with wholesale dealers, which opens up the opportunity of sourcing specific pieces at the individual request of my customers,” finished Heather.

As well as being on display in store, Smug Fox’s eclectic selection of French treasures can also be viewed online at, so why not pop in or log on to browse the unique collection?

Smug Fox

Shawbridge St, Clitheroe BB7 1LY

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