Shopping for bargains at the brocante

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Monday 30th July 2012

Sunflowers, lavender, long lunches, delicious wine – there are so many heavenly things about life in the south of France.

And browsing for bargains at vide greniers (literally, empty attics) and brocantes is yet another. Every town is full of posters advertising flea markets, car boot sales and salvage yards and when you’re renovating an old farmhouse they are the perfect places to snap up old furniture.

Last week we went to a brocantein Valence and it proved to be a real treasure trove. The first item we spotted was one of those freestanding metal lockers, the sort you find in old schools. They sell for hundreds of pounds in Shoreditch but this one cost 30 euros, an absolute steal. Sadly someone else thought so too because the locker had a sticker saying vendu. The man running the brocante told us they always get snapped up in a trice.

But despite our disappointment there were still bargains galore to be had. We bought the distressed table above, a retro dining chair, a set of shelves and a huge kitchen table. Our only problem was how on earth to get it all home in an average-sized saloon car. Then the man in charge of the brocante stepped forward – and guess what, they delivered too.


4 comments so far

  • We love going to the Troc (dépôt/vente) too – got some amazing pieces for the auberge from there including a fabulous elm dining table which we took with us when we moved. Weighs a ton!

  • Clearly I need to go somewhere off the beaten track, as the prices at the brocante and even vide-greniers in the area (surrounding Geneva) are outrageous! Let’s just hope they deliver if I go a little further afield…
    Having said that, a friend of ours is obsessed with old bikes (he tinkers with them) and he always seems to find those for next to nothing. Maybe if your family has gone bike-mad…?

  • The dining table sounds fabulous, Julia. The brocantes obviously vary a lot – we went to another one and it wasn’t half so good as the first!

  • Hi Marina. From what I’ve seen, brocantes vary hugely in quality. The one we went to had loads of bike stuff too, but most of it looked very rusty! Hope you find some good vide greniers round your way!

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