Today is Bastille Day in France and we wanted to share with you a very unique French antique that we discovered last summer in Paris: "les caves a liqueur," or French liquor cabinets. These pieces started appearing in the 18th century as a way to transport liquor when traveling by horse-drawn carriage. Considered old-fashioned and phased out by the 1900's, the boxes were initially simple in design and made from mahogany wood with some inlaid work. They became more varied and ornate in the 19th century when materials included copper, mother of pearl, tortoise shell, and ivory.
The French liquor cabinets typically hold either 4, 6, or 8 square glass-blown bottles and 2 glasses. They became old-fashioned with the popularity of English Tantalus whiskey bottle holders.
See more "caves a liqueur" on the website of Hélène d'Helmersen, an antique dealer in the Louvre antique shops, where we first discovered these pieces.
(Images: Hélène d'Helmersen)