French & Sons



NZ Lifestyle Magazine Group


Commanding the corner where SH1 meets SH3 in Bulls is French & Sons. Cedric, one of Bulls' black bulls, offers a welcome at the door, the wind wrapping him in two large tricolour flags. The name of its owners is entirely appropriate and genuinely coincidental — it's French, Mel and Jimmy French. They opened the doors to the first incarnation of their store in late 2013, then pushed through to take over the entire corner of the block in 2018, filling a seemingly endless area, including gardens, with Gallic antiques and homewares, hand-selected on annual trips to France. A former chef, Mel had never been into antiques but had always wanted to go to France. After staying at home for eight years to be mum to the couple's three boys, she suddenly thought, “I'm going to go to France, buy a bunch of antiques, and open a shop.” So, she did. She didn't speak French — still doesn't — but found a shipper, found which fairs to go to, and found her way. Now she's an old hand, and the shop where she and Jimmy spend seven days a week is a study in French chic. There are large pieces — enormous tables, doors, armoires, paintings, flags, even a huge croissant (not for sale, yet, but Mel harbours dreams of opening un petit café in the shop). Also, there are smaller objects that are easier to fit into the car. Corner of Bridge and High Streets (entrance off SH1/High Street), Bulls. (06) 322 0228,