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 30, 2008
Merdrignac is a cute little town in central Brittany. Despite its close resemblance to the word "merde", which means shit, there's nothing shitty about it, except maybe that it's in the middle of nowhere. The annual flea market was held all around a pretty lake. There was also a playground, tennis courts, miniature golf and tons of other activities, and a big forest nearby. This is a neat place to live if you like outdoor activities. If you're looking for wild nightlife, you're out of luck.
Merdrignac seems to have something of a British expatriate community. I heard them and saw them, buying and selling, in much higher proportion than I normally do, and much more than I'd expect from this place. The upside for me was finding a few boxes of English books. Yay for me!
And this is me reading my English books later in the day... I have got to stop this business of people painting me without my knowledge!
Looking for boxes of unidentifiable, rusty tools? You've come to the right place!
Looking for boxes of unidentifiable crap of a more general nature? You've come to the right place too!
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.