Every autumn and spring, a lot of ‘vide-greniers’ and ‘brocantes’ are organised in many villages and towns in France. One of my favourite antiques fairs is the Foire à la Brocante in Pézenas. Not one but two Sundays a year, the outskirts of the historic town centre transform into a heaven for treasure hunters.
Twice a year
The Foire à la Brocante in Pézenas is held twice a year: the first Sunday in May and the second Sunday in October. Normally, Chéri and I arrive at about ten o’clock in the morning to find the streets already packed with people. Not this time though, as I had set the alarm clock for seven o’clock. Chéri could barely open his eyes at this frightful hour on a Sunday morning. But we managed to be in the car by eight o’clock. Arriving around half-past eight, we took the Pézenas Sud exit to enter the town right where the antique market started on the Avenue de Verdun. And, as we were so early, we could still easily park our car. However, there were already quite some people around.
Crushes of the moment
If you walk with the flow, you don’t notice the hustle and bustle, so Chéri and I leisurely strolled through the market. Starting at the Avenue de Verdun was a good place for us to begin, we almost always buy something on this side! Lucky we parked here… it made it easy for Chéri to run back and fore to the car to put away all our new finds! Like every flea market I go to, there are always things that stand out to me. My crushes of the moment are green glass bottles in different sizes, called ‘bonbonnes’ or ‘dame-jeannes’, and ancient enamel coffee makers. And in the meantime, I looked for those surprisingly beautiful still-lifes that you get when putting together a mishmash of unexpected artefacts.
Some markets or car boot sales are really disappointing, as they only consist of stalls full of rubbish. This doesn’t apply to the Foire à la Brocante in Pézenas though, it’s ‘superbe’! After living for more than ten years in France, I finally understand the difference between a ‘vide-greniers’ and a ‘brocante’. The markets in the villages are mostly vide-greniers (plural that is). Vide-greniers- literally emptying your attics- are a French way of life. You might compare it with a car boot or garage sale. Each little village organises a vide-greniers each year. Or two. Or even more. Everybody can sign up and sell all the stuff they want to get rid of. Brocantes, on the other hand, mainly host professional sellers. You can clearly see this in the quality of the items that are on offer. And in the prices…
At first, our children were not very thrilled when I suggested we go to another brocante or vide-greniers. But ever since I explained to them that, in fact, we are on a treasure hunt, all three of them jump up and down to go. They, too, are chasing ‘trésors’ at every market we visit. When they were smaller, they looked for sports cups, dinosaurs, cars and old coins. These days, they are more into enamel signs to decorate their rooms. At the Foire à la Brocante in Pézenas, there isn’t much paraphernalia for children. Here you will mainly find real professional sellers, with merchandise that doesn’t really interest the kids. Needless to say that they didn’t get up at a ridiculously early hour this time… However, if you are into vintage and flea markets, the Foire à la Brocante in Pézenas is a must-visit if you ask me!