Maegan Durand’s bookshelves are filled with finds from her sourcing trips to France for her business, Maetiques. Photos by Geauxgarcia Photography

French Connection: An online antiques business finds its footing in France

Many would consider Maegan Durand a Francophile.   

As the creator of Maetiques, an online antiques purveyor, she and her loyal Instagram followers are obsessed with leather-bound books, alabaster busts and anything that looks as if it might have been plucked from the rooms of Versailles.

For Durand, it’s part of her ancestry.

Raised in a small town south of Thibodaux, Durand says Cajun French culture was a part of her upbringing. A European vacation with her family in high school sparked a deeper appreciation for the motherland, and after a semester abroad in 2016 while studying business and human relations management at LSU, she officially “fell in love” with the country. Her husband, Doug, even proposed to her in Paris two years later.

It was a trip back to the country in March 2023 that she’ll always remember as helping to launch what was once a small Instagram page of local finds to new levels. After starting Maetiques in July 2022, Durand and her husband spent a two-and-a-half-week trip scouring shops and markets around France with the goal of bringing as many items back to the United States as possible to build up the inventory for her brand.

“We brought back four suitcases-worth and two personal-items-worth of inventory,” Durand says. “We left clothes and our steamer in the hotel room so we could fit more stuff.”

It was risky, she admits, but it “turned out to be the best thing for Maetiques.”

In the months since, the brand has amassed more than 10,000 followers and many returning customers, as Durand sells items from that Paris haul and pieces found during her and Doug’s bi-weekly road trips out of the two spare bedrooms of her Prairieville home.

Her Thursday night Instagram Live sales are watched by hundreds of people each week and have led to packages being shipped to all 50 states. And on her 29th birthday in September, Durand launched the Maetiques website, where anyone can now shop her curated collection at any time.

But, for Durand, the best part of all the growth isn’t in the numbers. It’s in each sale’s ability to give a piece of Old World culture a new life.

“The lifetime of sourcing an item, getting it back home, photographing it and then shipping it out to its forever home to live its next life,” she says, “that’s been so exciting.”

Check out a few of Durand’s tips below for decorating with antiques.

New home? No problem.

Durand insists antiques can be used in any home of any age. “Our house is technically considered a farmhouse home, but the second that you slowly begin to fill that space with older, quality antique items, you bring in character,” she says. “And once you have that character, you learn how to layer pieces.”

Focus on quality.

Remember antique items are made to last. Keep this in mind when choosing between a sturdy, solid wood piece or a trendy item from a big-box retailer. Decor items like 100-year-old books can often be found in near-mint condition, Durand says. The oldest item she’s sold through Maetiques was a book the 1700s.

Create a perfect pair.

Brass is back, according to Durand, and so is alabaster. The two materials are used in many of Maetiques’ best sellers. And the best part? They pair great together. “I think they look absolutely stunning together. Have an alabaster statue and some brass elements, and it makes for a perfect display,” she says.

It takes time.

Don’t buy items just to buy them. Rather than filling up your home with stuff, Durand encourages a long-term approach to design. “If you really commit to the design and find things that you truly love, slowly but surely, it’ll all come together,” she says. “Be patient with the process.” The candelabra pictured here was actually a find by Durand’s husband while he was on a work trip in Mississippi.

Find your story.

Durand advocates for finding items with a personal touch to sprinkle throughout your home. Lean into your story and style, not what influencers and designers are showcasing. “When I look at my shelves, I see my books that my husband carried in Paris. When I see that swamp painting, I think of my Cajun roots. And it just sparks that kind of joy that only antique items can.”