Whilst in France last month I spent some time visiting different brocante (antiques fairs/flea market) and ‘Vide Greniers’ (literally translates as empty attic – think house clearance meets car boot sale) in the Dordogne region.
We visited a fantastic ‘Vide Grenier’ running alongside the Vézère River. The ‘Vide Grenier’ took over the whole village where every nook and cranny had a blanket with wares displayed, every road full of tables piled high of nick knacks and curiosities. Where the Brocantes are often filled with provincial dealers the ‘Vide Grenier’ feels much more casual with itinerant traders, families and individuals from the village opening make shift stalls.
The great thing I felt about the ‘Vide Grenier’ was that the whole village/town took part – all the restaurants and bars were buzzing and the atmosphere was so enjoyable and welcoming. We also had the most fantastic 3-course lunch in the middle of our browsing!
It felt like everything under the sun was available to buy as long as it was second-hand. There was plenty of knick-knacks and even broken china but the weathered/broken-in furniture, vintage books, and antique linens were catching everyone eye.
There really was something for everyone and plenty in-between (otherwise known as junk!).
Get to the fairs as early as you can
Have a good rummage, as the items aren’t always displayed well
Don’t be scared to bargain/haggle
Having change really help’s – particularly when negotiating a price
Bring a bag to carry your purchases
Make sure it fits in your car – rarely is there a delivery service
Don’t assume the sellers will speak English
We thoroughly enjoyed the ambience and came home with a couple of little treasures of our own. The aluminium tins with brass name plates were in a shocking state when we found them but they cleaned up beautifully (thank you DH!)
Gorgeous glass Martini decanter – not very old but looks great