When it comes to jewellery, I’m a sucker for something a bit different & have never really got on with fine chains and delicate filigree. I much prefer something a little bit quirky and a bit on the chunky side, so you can imagine I was delighted when I came across a lady selling jewellery made from antique French silver flatware in the markets at Apt and L’Isle sur La Sorgue.
Now I’ve seen jewellery made from spoons and forks before, but the ones she makes are different, with beautifully flattened bowls and unusual, twisted handles. They really stand out from the crowd and over the last few years a number of her pieces have found their way back home to my jewellery box and have been much admired by friends and colleagues. It has certainly made Christmas present buying easy for my husband as I’m always happy with a new piece from her stall.
But as you wander through the markets in the area there are many other producers of individual and unusual jewellery, from the linen stranded freshwater pearls to elegant pieces made from different metals and stones. There is no reason to buy something ‘off the shelf’, when there are so many unique designs on offer.
They aren’t expensive and to be honest I never feel that any of the items on the stalls are overpriced, but you can still find some real bargains – some of my particular favourites are these glass earrings, which (the last time we were there) were priced at 5 euros per pair, hardly a price to break the bank!
There are, of course some stunning jewellery shops too, where you can find cutting edge designs and high quality pieces. A particular favourite of mine is Jean Philippe Barriere in Gordes http://www.jean-philippe-barriere.com/ , whose designs are stunning and just that little bit different although as yet, one of his pieces hasn’t found its way home with me ….
……. Perhaps one day – you never know
At the other end of the scale though there is something wonderful about grabbing the chance to have a rummage through some French jumble and the opportunity regularly comes at one of the many ‘vide-greniers’ or ‘marches aux puces’ that are held across the area. The items you see on the stalls in France are so different to the bits you find at home and it is always worth having a rummage around to see what is on offer.
Over our visits we have seen everything from beautiful old shutters with their original paint-work to an antique portable duck-roasting spit. There are often bits of beautiful glassware and pottery, which are just no longer to the seller’s taste, but would grace many tables at home. Although on occasions there are some finds that just seem so out of place!!
These markets are always busy but are worth popping into, just for the experience (if nothing else). They tend to be advertised locally, but there are a number of French web-sites that have full details of dates, locations and the types of things that may be on offer, one being https://vide-greniers.org/84-Vaucluse
It may not be your perfect way of passing a morning, but you never know what you may be missing