Leonce Antiques: Still Open For Business

“Many things happen by accident,” says Bernard de Maillard.

That’s not some idle philosophy. His own life is a perfect example.

Born in the southwest of France and raised in Paris, he parlayed his passion for martial arts into stunt work on TV. Because he spoke Spanish, English and Italian, he met a number of interesting personalities.

That led to work as a security guard for Perry Como (in France for a television special), and others.

Nearly 4 decades ago he met a few Americans, who urged him to come work with them in the States. He did, but left their company to open the Paris Bistro restaurant in Bridgeport.

De Maillard became a partner in Il Villano, on Westport’s Elm Street — an experience he loved. He considered taking over Le Chambord, the Post Road restaurant, but turned his attention instead to a nearby consignment shop.

Sterling silver, at Leonce Antiques.

He found he had a good eye for appraising. He was particularly interested in silver appraisal, and is now renowned in that field.

In 1991 he opened Leonce Antiques. The store specializes in sterling silver: flatware, hollowware, serving pieces, and rare items from 1800 to 1930.

A couple of months ago, de Maillard moved from his longtime location near Balducci’s and Castle Wine & Spirits, to 125 Post Road East — next to Specs, between Patagonia and Westport Pizzeria. De Maillard wanted less space, and a site closer to downtown.

But because Furniture on Assignment took over his old store, many customers now think Leonce has closed.

It hasn’t. It’s business as usual.

It’s a straight shot from Leonce’s former location to the new one. And it’s just one more twist in the long, interesting life of Bernard de Maillard.

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