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Palm Beach French

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If, like Keats, you long for "a beaker full of the warm south," then Authentic Provence is the garden-ornament and home-decorating store for you. Opened four years ago by an Austrian couple, Wolfgang and Susan Hofherr, this 7,000-square-foot West Palm Beach address is filled with carved-limestone objects—urns, planters, sundials, tables, architectural elements—each with its own honeyed aura, like a soft nimbus of Mediterranean sunlight. "About fifty percent of the pieces are original antiques from the South of France," explains Susan Hofherr, whose husband, an art historian and restorer, has helped reconstruct many villas and palazzi in southern Europe. "He's been sourcing historic artifacts in the region for 35 years. The rest are hand-carved replicas made for us in France and Italy." Not everything in the store is limestone. There are other typically Provençal products: faux bois garden furniture in which concrete is molded over a steel frame; hand-thrown Anduze pottery vases; brightly striped garden pavilions and tents fit for Cap d'Antibes. Susan Hofherr is a former fashion designer, and her sensibility shows in some pieces that offer a contemporary twist on traditional themes, such as striking tabletop obelisks made of bay leaves preserved in beeswax. Never mind that these ultra-chic objects come from Paris; in spirit they're pure Côte d'Azur.

522 Clematis St., W. Palm Beach, FL; 561-805-9995;


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