18 April 2021

BROCANTE

One of the many things we enjoy about life in France is going to the brocantes or vide greniers and we've really missed that during the pandemic.  I'm not sure what the precise difference is but "vide grenier" means empty the attic and "brocante" would be what we call in the UK bric-a-brac.  There is the equivalent event in the UK in the form of the car boot sale or antique fair but for some reason we rarely go to those.

I read recently that another unexpected non-bonus of Brexit is the effect on the UK's antique fairs.  It seems that because of the considerable red tape involved in bringing goods across from France it's now much more difficult for brocanters - the people who travel to France to forage for old French stuff to sell at UK flea markets - to fill their stalls and they are having a very hard time of it.  French brocante is going to be in short supply.  I would imagine that UK fans of old French antiques will find them harder to find and more expensive as a result. 

However, the one thing we do have aplenty in the UK and not in France is charity shops.  Just like last year, a lot of people have spent the lockdown having a good clear out but the difference this time is that our local charity shops had obviously sifted out the rubbish and there was some really nice stuff for sale.  Apart from the two books in my previous post these are some of the things I bought.


I bought a fresh tablecloth for my Dad for his dining table (£1) and a cute little jug for serving mint sauce for me (75p).



I rarely even look at clothes in charity shops but this top caught my eye and looked brand new.  It didn't have a price on the label and I suggested £3 to the lady on the till.  She was happy with that.  All the clothes and linens in our local shops are freshly laundered and pressed, presumably by their army of volunteers.


These little dishes are handy for giving Daisy her treat of "mouse".  We give her bits of raw meat as a treat so that she doesn't lose her taste for it and forget what her job is when we get back to France, 50p for the four.
The candle is a lovely scented candle in a china dish by Sophie Conran, a bit more expensive at £3.



The two brown dishes are Mason Cash pie dishes which I thought would be useful as outdoor water bowls for Hugo and Daisy.   They also had no price label on and the young man at the till said "75p".  "For the two?" I said, and he agreed.  Nick said they reminded him of the dishes that you would get "cow pie" in, as per the "cow pie" favoured by the Beano character Desperate Dan, in which case I decided to keep one for kitchen use.

The white dish is ovenproof but would be nice for serving vegetables, 90p.

As always, anything that doesn't get used will be donated back to the shop so they can sell it again.  All in a good cause.

12 comments:

  1. Have you been into the shops called Dépot-Vente in France. They might be more like your "charity shops" which we don't have by that name in the U.S. either). I'd call them second-hand stores or consignment stores. The dépôt-vente shop here in Saint-Aignan sometimes buys things from you and then re-sells them, sometimes takes things on consignment and gives you part of the proceeds when they are sold. The only French charity shops I'm familiar with are the Emmaüs shops and stores. The one in Romorantin is pretty big but open only two afternoons a week.

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    1. Ken, Emmaus shops are fun to have a rummage around in, I shall try to remember to look up the one at Romorantin, it's nice to go somewhere new to see a different selection of junk!!

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    2. Emmaüs is not a dépôt-vente. Those are a different category of second-hand stores.

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  2. There was a flea-market stall holder here who used to supplement his income with duty-free wine and fags when on buying trips to France, but Customs and Excise told him they would take his van away on the next trip if he continued to throw lavish parties every week and smoke 200 cigarettes a day in Britain. He would not be able to run that risk now in any case.

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    1. Tom, those days are gone I believe.
      I wonder if he voted for Brexit! It's surprising how many people were so taken in by the Red Bus promises and the immigration lies that they voted for something that would seriously impact them directly.

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  3. Like... :)
    Hope we can do a Leek or Ashbourne CS meet soon x

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  4. Love brocante - huge one in Annecy every weekend - mountains and bric a brac - what a joy. One day soon...

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    1. Mark, I love your confidence! I don't think we've ever been to Annecy, or to that part of France for years. It's a beautiful area. If we get the chance this year we'll try to do just that. Although there will be so much to do at the house when we do get there after so many months away that we may not get out much at all!

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  5. What lovely things you found. I wish there was a second hand market in Italy. The nearest we got was when people used to leave things beside the communal rubbish bins rather than put them inside. I picked up a few things and left unwanted goods than soon disappeared, it worked well. Now we have door to door collection it’s not the same and not good for recycling or the environment.

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    1. Jenny, one of my best finds in France was a cast iron Cousances skillet which had been left on top of a bottle bank!
      I'm surprised they don't have the equivalent of brocantes in Italy. It's a hugely popular thing in France and a way of recycling useful stuff as well as making a few euros. I would have thought the Italians would be up for that!

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