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.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
On Saturday we went to an inland village called La Gouesnière, a few kilometres inland from Cancale, where you can buy and eat raw oysters on the beach. La Gouesnière's annual sale was in a field; lots of ruts and holes everywhere! But far be it from me to let that get in the way of some good brocante-ing.
At La Gouesnière you can not only sell your children's outgrown clothes, you can dry them too!
Need a cast iron cauldron with a hole in the bottom? Look no further!
This stool is da bomb. I love it and I want it in my living room. It wouldn't go with anything but I have never let that stop me.
A cool assortment of plates, cradled in freshly mown hayfield.
On our way home we stopped at McDonald's, not only because of the play area, not only because you can get a beer with your fries (photographic evidence above), not only because every McDonald's in France has free wifi, but also because the food here is universally excellent.
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.