becane
A mobylette….check out the state of the seat…and the front non-tire.

Vide-grenier season is in full swing. A vide-grenier, or “empty the attic,” is a kind of flea market or mass garage sale. It isn’t like the famous flea markets of Paris, with established vendors and quaint shops. It’s for non-professionals, mostly.

rieux long viewYou pack up your no-longer-loved possessions into your car and then try to unload them on somebody willing to pay a couple of euros. The biggest segment by far is kids’ clothes and toys.

Followed by adult clothes. Then kitchen stuff, decorating stuff, tools and books/records/CDs etc.

LPs and asparagus
French stars: Johnny Hallyday, Serge Gainsbourg (with Jane Birkin), wild asparagus.

Sometimes you find treasures. We got a couple of crystal sconces. Some interesting pictures. A cheese cloche. That’s over about a dozen vide-greniers in a couple of months.

sanglier pot
A bargain for a little dish to cook pâté in the oven!
decorations
Not sure where these came from. Above a door?
cuve doors
Doors to the old-fashioned kind of wine cuve.
hoof hooks
Real. Enough said.

A vide-grenier is an interesting picture into the French culture. You see what people collect.

mortars and pestle
Notice the bookends to the left of the mortars and pestles? You wonder how that collection got going.
feves
“Fèves” from the galette des rois of Jan. 6…..the person who gets the fève is king/queen for the day.
coins
Old coins and champagne caps (right)

There’s always someone with military stuff.

You’re reminded of a time when France wasn’t as rich, when it was picking up after war and one had to make do.

shell spice mill
The long thing is a spice mill made from a used shell, then intricately decorated. Just to the right, a lighter, also made from a shell.

There are métiers no longer as common as they once were.

horse shoe
Tools for horseshoeing

sewing machine

scale
Scale with weights

And, it being France, there is always food.

giant wok of cooking meat
I cannot emphasize how fantastic that giant wok of meat smelled. We were there at 10 a.m., so it was too early to eat. Sniff!
le creuset and wine
This vendor of le Creuset pots had a little picnic lunch, with proper dishes, silverware and a bottle of wine!
birds
Doesn’t get fresher than this.

Sorry for the blurry photos. The sun was so bright I couldn’t see a thing on the camera screen.

What’s the best treasure you’ve found at a vide-grenier or garage sale?

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20 thoughts on “Treasure Hunt

  1. Looks like people’s garage sales around here. I would love a Le Creuset pot and some day will bite the bullet and buy one. They are so expensive. The legs attached to wood is a bit creepy. That scale would sell for a good bit here.

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      1. Have a look for Le Creuset La Coquelle – a 70’s design which seems to be much lighter than the regular pots. In the Minervois they turn up at vide greniers from time to time, and you can also find them on the internet. I love mine!

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  2. I’d have bought those wooden carvings, and thought about how to use them later.
    My best vide-grenier bargain to date? a pair of French gilt empire sconces with the classic open flower motif I like, bought from the Maire; closely followed by my one euro each Staub cocottes . So far….

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  3. I bought a very small carving of a dog pulling a sled…..about five inches long. The vendor thought it was plastic. It was ivory….quite old….I paid $1.00. I got it appraised and at that time it was worth two hundred dollars…..my best score ever…

    Ali

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  4. I’d have snapped up that nice old scale, and one of the Le Creuset pots. Or two.
    Vide grenier being my preferred method of what passes for decorating . . . 🙂
    I did several years ago find a wonderful brass rubbing, framed, of an old English church brass. And just last year a very nice Antoine Blanchard painting.

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  5. You’ve inspired me to leave everything behind when I move to France. I know I’ll find everything I need, and more, at the vide grenier! I definitely would have gone home with one of those le creuset pots. And I love the little doors.

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