Car Boot sales are extremely popular across the UK. Cars are parked bumper to bumper in big open fields and collapsable decorating tables are covered with a variety of items. Sellers are delighted to clear their loft and garages of ‘toot’ and people will leave with a bargain in their bag and a smile on their face. At some locations it almost takes on the appearance of a market due to stalls selling mobile phone cases and rails of new clothes.
Across France you can find antiques fairs, Foire au trocs, vide-greniers and Brocantes, sometimes set with picturesque views of vineyards and an old farmhouse providing a perfect backdrop to stroll around the many stalls. Collectors of art, jewellery, books, rustic garden ornaments and furniture will search out their desired objects, raising their eyes off the table briefly to greet the seller.
Olive trees, some older than my grandfather, possibly my great-grandfather provide shelter for delicate items of furniture and are a perfect display prop for large paintings and mirrors which are wrapped in clear film offering protection during transportation with their new owner.
Tree stumps take on the role of an art gallery’s display block, vendors will choose their favourite items and place them there hoping to catch the eye of one of the many people strolling along the gravel paths.
Old war time helmets are placed on the roof of an old blue van which possibly after a bit of haggling you could also purchase and drive away in.
Cutlery, crockery, copper pans, glassware and even the dining room furniture can be found. Tables and van roofs are covered with a mis mash of objects. Rolled up dusty rugs, bread bins, crumbs included and modern crash helmets all from one seller.
Old fashioned lamps and souvenirs of faraway travels are there for the right person at a reasonable price if you don't mind a bit of haggling.
Not your usual fancy dress shop.
Ladies have replaced the shops for the open air and are searching for designer clothes under the mid morning sun, bags and shoes which are sold at a fraction of their original cost are being exchanged for crisp notes whilst men spend a few euros after rummaging through boxes of used books, tools and rusty old objects, their use unbeknown to me.
One man's junk is another man's treasure.
If you are looking to complete your boules set or pack of playing cards, if you find yourself three spoons short of a set of cutlery or are looking to back date your phone you are sure to find something at a Brocante.
You may find that you leave with something you didn't know you wanted.
A substantial breakfast is a must as unlike in the UK burger vans are not part of the event, coffee and fresh croissants are served on the shaded terrace of the old farmhouse.
Photos © 2016 Andy Coomer
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