This is my little blog about all the wonderful and quirky stuff I see while hanging out at different flea markets and thrift stores in France.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Avernes is a cute village out in the countryside. It's dominated by its church, and not much else. It has a nice decent-sized annual brocante, though.
I covet this vintage coal-burning stove, I really do. I bet it does a better job than my electric one, too. And the chairs look neat.
Now for the wacky.
Okay, WHAT is going on in this piece of artwork? Naked men stand around while shoes appear on the horizon, the shoes rain down on the shoeless as they leap to catch the pair they want. You can see the Neanderthal-looking one got himself a spiffy tan suede pair. Shoes are donned by the still naked men and all is good with the world. I'm assuming there's a point to this work, because somebody thought about it long enough to sit down and paint it and then sign his/her name to it. What it is, couldn't tell ya.
This looks like dollhouse furniture that somebody made themselves. They even painted rabbits on this wardrobe, and they did a horrible job, too. Maybe it's rabbit-hutch furniture? There's a rabbit-sized writing desk off to the left. I should really be taking pictures of nice wardrobes like the one in the background.
Too bad this picture didn't come out very well, because you would clearly see that this is a lampshade that someone has decorated by cutting out pictures of food and drink, and they did a pretty lousy job doing the cutting out. I assume (I hope) it's kid art, but why someone actually thinks they'll get money for this crap is beyond me.
This doll looks seriously pissed off. I would be too if someone did that to me!
Everybody needs a ducky dispenser. Some people even need three!
I'm an American mother of 3. I've been living in the suburbs of Paris for 15 years. Visiting thrift stores and flea markets is my passion!
French antiques are beautiful, but they're not my thing. I can't afford them anyway! What I'm interested in are the weird or offbeat items you can only find at an open air market or in a thrift store. If there's an item you're interested in looking for, let me know!
Where can you get vintage and other secondhand items in France?
First, there are flea markets (marché aux puces), which are similar in nature to their US equivalents; professional sellers have a stand on a regular basis and sell their wares there.
There are no individual garage sales in France, but it is very common for towns to hold a once-yearly brocante - a huge group garage sale where people get a yard or two of selling space and sell whatever they want. You can find professional sellers at these events, and also lots of everyday people getting rid of their stuff. There are usually 100 to 500 stands at a brocante. When the overwhelming majority of sellers are non-professionals emptying the contents of their attics and basements, this is called a "vide-greniers" (literally, attic emptying!). There are treasures to be found at all of these!
Brocantes often take place in small towns and villages. Usually the town blocks off a few of the main streets and sellers set up their tables there. Often the setting is superbly picturesque, along centuries-old winding streets. They start at the crack of dawn, so be prepared to get up early! But all is not lost. Towards the end of the day prices drop dramatically and there are still some great bargains to be had.
Thrift stores are not as numerous in France as they are in the US. They are dusty and the customer buying experience, shall we say, is not a priority. But you can find clothes, sometimes gorgeous vintage ones, for a euro or two, and some great vintage and antique glassware, porcelain and decorative items. Some thrift stores are expensive, some are not.