Living in Normandy #4: Brocanting

Last post I shared the realities of what it is like to live in a French farmhouse, but now for something different. Time to share more of what it is actually like to live in la belle Manche, what I get up to in my spare time, and the general lifestyle of the slow french countryside life.

One of my favourite weekend activities here is to head out to a local Vide Grenier or Brocante and search through all the treasures. Unlike car boot sales in the UK or thrift/vintage stores in North America, many of the local Vide Grenier’s here in Normandy are filled with incredible antiques and vintage curios, as well as the usual second-hand, finds.

Being a lover of antiques, the social history behind items as well as overall being an eclectic individual, being able to acquire such incredible finds locally is a joy. Sure, some items have scratches small bumps, and knocks but it all adds to the history and charm of the piece. The fact you can come across items that have been used and loved for over 100 years still blows my mind!

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Image showing a variety of vintage cups and saucers
An example of tea and coffee cups you can find!

French Vintage Online!

This is where I do shameless self-promotion of sharing my own vintage store. At the moment I use Etsy as a seller’s platform, so make sure you head on over to check it out. As a thank you for supporting me, if there is anything that catches your eye make sure to use the code BLOG3 to get a little % off your purchase!

Personally, I love the 20th-century farmhouse aesthetic. Sturdy stoneware pots, glamourous brass, and copper candlesticks and decorations, and loved wooden utensils. It adds a nostalgic sense of homeliness to a room that I can’t quite explain, and I want to share that specific feeling with you.

If there are any items, in particular, you are searching for, send me a message and I will endeavor to find exactly what you are looking for!

Image showing examples of wares from a brocante
Hidden treasures of all varieties!

Where do I Find Local Events?

Here in Normandy, and presumably, across the rest of France, there are the magic orange books that detail all the local sale events. These are sold in supermarkets, newsagents, and pretty much any shop with a Presse section. These books are set out for departments and outline sales such as Vide Greniers – Car boot sales, Bourse – an exchange sale, Automotive sales, and more!

You can also find the wisdom of the little orange book here on their website.

Usually, there are posters and signs placed on roadsides too with upcoming events and sales. The bigger the event, the more advertising there is, so if you see many posters for a Vide Grenier, it is probably going to be a good one!

Tips to Get You Started

Bartering is a big part of Brocanting, so always ask for the best price. I have found that the more you buy in a shop Brocante, the more likely the price will be rounded down to the nearest 5 without having to ask, something that is very much appreciated.

Whenever you enter a shop or approach a stall you are interested in, remember to be polite. Always and I mean always greet the owner or whoever is working there! Even if you don’t buy anything when leaving bid them a good day and an au revoir.

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Pin me for later!

Hopefully, this post has given you a little insight into the “French way of thrifting” but of course, if you have any questions do not hesitate to drop them below in the comments and I’ll answer them asap!

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Published by Briony-Molly

Reader, artist and Politics lover.

4 thoughts on “Living in Normandy #4: Brocanting

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