Best Stuff de France - 2008
Thinking of adding a rock-hewn reflecting pond or moss-covered John Wayne-meets-Zen horse trough to your Hollywood bungalow side yard? Trying to soften the harsh, right-angle feel of your suddenly way-too-modern 1960s retro loft? Jacques Marque, the most affable Frenchman west of Anisette, can show you how.
Not that it will be cheap. But far out on Mulholland Highway, past the horse pastures and fruit stands that surround Malibu Canyon, past even the border sign announcing that you are now entering the "Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area," you'll find a pine-covered acre of land jammed with Belgian bluestone water troughs and fantastical limestone fountains cut from rock quarries in the South of France.
If Jacques, whose French accent hasn't faded much in his years here, can haul these heavy suckers from France and Belgium, you can sure as hell get them into the back of an SUV and plop them in some urban courtyard you're spiffing up off Los Feliz or Lankershim boulevards. But if bluestone and limestone are too weighty, then inside Marque's rambling, tin-roofed, 3,000-square-foot store, you can find a dazzling mix of carryout French stuff: Pick up a very affordable and charming phone table for $300, a neat gilded frame for $225, or giant, earthy-looking rough metal faucets and spigots taken from old French wine casks. The $13,500 Parisian pool table may require a little assistance, but the $1,200 bentwood baby bed from the Middle Ages would slip right into your trunk.—N. Jenssen