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The Top 5 French Antiques Shops on Magazine Street: #2 Wirthmore Antiques

People from all over the country come to New Orleans to shop for French antiques. Whether you are a home owner looking for that special piece, or a decorator wanting the best for a client, New Orleans is the destination for your design needs.

With so many fabulous antiques shops on Magazine Street, it has been a challenge to narrow down my top five! So far I’ve revealed: #5 Karina Gentinetta, #4 Petricia Thompson’s “Antiquities d’Europe”, #3 Bush Antiques. And now for my #2 pick: Wirthmore Antiques.

Wirthmore Antiques is not just another stop in a day of antique shopping in New Orleans or a click of a mouse while browsing the internet. It is an adventure. It was once written that “visiting Wirthmore is almost like stepping into a Cezanne painting.” What sets Wirthmore apart from other antique stores is its pulse and heartbeat inspired by its owner, Gay Wirth.

Wirthmore has the best of the usual: armoires, bilblotheques, enfilades, commodes, etc. that you will find in any self respecting French antiques shop as well as an astonishing collection of Italian antiques. But what I love most are the garden and architectural elements they have. Walking through the outdoor spaces behind their store is like taking a walk in some secret garden in Europe.

Recently, on a episode of Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorator, a designer was installing a centuries old terra cotta floor on a veranda. Where, pray tell, does one find such tiles? Well, at Wirthmore of course!  Tiles, doors, floors, shutters, facades, iron work and fencing – it’s all there!

The folks at Wirthmore will also help you figure out how to retrofit your antique finds into your home.

For those of you visiting and not ready to ship a floor size stash of antique terra cotta tiles, Wirthmore has plenty of small packable items like a French enamel coffee pot, candlesticks, art work, linens, and so much more that you will discover when you wile away the hours in this tremendous shop.

Owner Gay Wirth has been described as a “serious Antiquarian—Extremely knowledgeable—who also knows how to mix earthiness and elegance; practical, but refined approach to home furnishings.” One of Gay’s favorite expressions is “like irregular French verbs, there is always an exception to the rule, and that fact is evident with French Provincial Furniture.”

Gay believes that antique purchases should be for a lifetime—like a marriage—and she encourages her customers not to buy something unless they really love it. Her focus is always to treat an antique as a work of art that can be functional at the same time. She loves to educate her customers on how to use bonnetières, and buffets à deux corps in unconventional ways, by building them into walls to create unique and functional kitchen or office spaces. If she does not have a particular piece that a customer may need, Gay takes great pleasure in searching for it.

So off with you, now on to Wirthmore Antiques!

Wirthmore Antiques
3727 Magazine Street
(504) 269-0660.

Until next time I remain the Visual Vamp, and Magazine Street is my beat.

Valorie Hart is an interior decorator, stylist, and event designer. She lives in the Irish Channel just off Magazine Street where she loves to walk and shop. She relocated to New Orleans from New York in the year 2000, and is affectionately known as a New New. She writes the popular blog Visual Vamp.

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