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 8, 2008
This morning I went to Pontoise. Every year an unexceptional section of town has their annual flea market; lots of families have stands, which I like, because I can buy stuff cheap for the kiddies.
A collection of beer steins and glassware, French and foreign. What is that gestapo thing in the upper left? I didn't notice it when I took the picture. You're not allowed to sell Nazi merchandise in France, even collectible memorabilia, so the relative anonymity of a flea market makes it a good place to sell it.
I know nothing about cars but I thought the ones below were neat.
I want this umbrella stand. I'm a sucker for all things copper.
And this makes me want to go skiing! back in a simpler time and place.
I came early, so the local rotisserie had just put chickens out to be slowly roasted. By noon they will be nicely browned and dripping with juices. Mmmm.
And no day would be complete without a gratuitous look inside the local bakery.
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.