Paris. My favourite city. The history, the architecture, the beauty. The food, oh...the food. The sit-outside-and-watch-the-world-go-by culture. The shops. The artists. The brocantes!
I've only been to one brocante in Paris. Stumbled upon it, truth be known, while my daughter and I were walking by the Seine. We weren't quite sure why people were by the river selling gorgeous Turkish rugs, stunning furniture and perfect vintage table wares. We came, we saw, and we bought...spoons.
Over the years and visits to France I became more educated about the brocanting culture. The Saturday and Sunday flea markets, car boot sales or garage sales. I've scooped up some wonderful pieces and some not-so-wonderful, but it all reminds me of the memories of France, the history and of course, the chase!
Last week I landed in Paris for a business show. A chance to see other suppliers and products from France and Europe, but I also ensured I stayed until Sunday, in hopes of catching a few brocantes. Worst case, I'd hit some of the weekly markets but as fate would have it, I didn't have time. I had four brocantes in close proximity to my hotel. Score!
Whether the brocante was located on a typical Parisian street or in the beautiful Place des Vosges, one thing became clear to me - brocanting in Paris is a different ball game than the rest of France! Here, items for sale are in near perfect condition - as in, have-these-spoons-even-been-used-before perfect. And the costs reflect it. You are sure to find paintings and frames, books, vintage designer wear and more silverware than you could ever process! Furniture and table wares. Even large statues in iron or porcelain to furnish your abode.
Brocanting in the country will give you a wide array of items at much cheaper price points. The condition is not as pristine, the selection not as deep, but if you are looking for sweet trinkets, copper, crocks, cutting boards or glass, you'll be happy.
I'm so glad I had the opportunity to shop with the Parisian crowd, eat a croissant and enjoy a tea while watching shoppers contemplate if they can haggle (FYI, mostly not in Paris). And grateful, always grateful. Why? Besides the obvious, I came within 1 kg of my suitcase weight limit on the way home!