If Saturday is a day for the local market then Sunday has become a day to spend the morning pottering around a local Brocante market or village ‘Vide-Greniers’ event.
In the summer we often found that we had to make a choice between the local events, all advertised a few weeks beforehand with large signs on the Apt bridges or bright yellow posters on lamp posts or fences.
Having started from scratch with furnishing the house it has given us a fantastic excuse to head off early to the markets and to see what we can find. In fact for us it was a big bit of ‘living the dream’ and it has really paid off.
I know it’s probably not for everyone but we’ve managed to buy some perfect bits for the house, from practical pieces like this old marble-topped bedside table that just needed to be repainted (Joucas Vide Grenier)
…… to these beautiful, slightly battered paintings, which make me smile every day (Caseneuve Vide Grenier)
…. and the slightly quirky 1975, almost perfect, bright pink ‘Mercier’ racing bike that turned heads as we left the market & now sits happily on the wall of our son’s bedroom ( Maubec Vide
lt has also been a good source of old containers to fill with flowers & decorate the terrace – although again we have had some odd looks carrying a few of the pieces home – especially the old zinc bath on the bike trailer!
We’ve found some of the Vide Grenier events are better than others, enjoying the ones in the villages where people literally do ’empty their attics’ and set up stalls outside their houses – there are still bargains to be found at these, amongst the old clothes and broken tools, but we’re slowly getting the hang of them.
Some great ones this summer were those at Castellet, Viens and Vachères – the latter being such a massive event that the village is closed to traffic and shuttle buses run from the makeshift car park in a field about 1 km away!
The Brocante Fairs are different, with a much more professional feel to them and again there’s always lots to choose from, but one of my local year-round favourites is at Carpentras every Sunday morning.
The first time I went I arrived at about 8.45 thinking ‘the early bird catches the worm’ but I was far too early as the traders were still chatting, drinking coffee & in some places wine whilst their vans remained packed.
So today I headed over via Coustellet, which has a great Sunday Farmers’ Market, stopping there to buy a few bits and to sit with a coffee & pain au chocolat to start the day properly.
Once fully refreshed I popped over the top to Carpentras arriving mid morning with all the traders set up and lots of people all milling about.
This market has a wonderful mix of items from china & glassware to furniture & vintage clothing. There really is something for everyone – today there was even an illuminated baguette sign if that is what you wanted.
I do like Carpentras as well as the prices there are always very good – although it’s always worth haggling a bit too.
I still haven’t been forgiven by the boys for walking past the stuffed ‘Sanglier’ head that I saw there back at the end of April, so always keep an eye out for one, but ‘sadly’ I couldn’t find one today!
I did though manage to find some stunning pieces of French silver (stamped with the Minerve Hallmark), which I’ll be able to turn into pieces of jewellery http://www.dartmoorsilverdesigns.co.uk – so the day wasn’t wasted at all.
There were other bits that I could easily have found a home for, but with all the building work that will be going on this week to fit the woodburner I felt it best to walk away from the bigger purchases!
The nice thing about Carpentras market is that it is on every Sunday so there’s always next week. It’s also very easy to find, situated in the large Parking Des Platanes – just off the main road through the town.
Of course there are other weekly Brocante markets too like the Saturday morning events at Villeneuve-Les-Avignon or Sommières are again great Fairs to visit.
If you fancy visiting one whilst you’re in France then you can always take a look at
– a great website , which has details of most events across the Country – so no matter where you are you should be able to find something nearby & see what you can find…….
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