P1080511Since the rentrée, the vide-grenier season has been in high gear. The mass garage sales are the excuse to visit a new village, to people-watch and above all, to find one-of-a-kind items for a song.P1080513This stand had an impressive collection of Ricard items. Ricard is a brand of pastis, an anise-flavored apéritif that’s very popular around here. It is clear and barely yellow but turns cloudy when water is added, and thus gets called un jaune–a yellow. Ricard brilliantly played on the name. The glasses have a line to show how much pastis to pour. I can only guess that the tray, with holders for the glasses and bottle, is designed to set down at the boulodrôme during pétanque.

Ricard, the victor over thirst. 
A logical combination: Ricard and boules.

The professionals have the greatest concentrations of good stuff, but at higher prices. Look at this collection of antique night clothes.P1070816The pants have a completely open crotch. Interesting. I would guess something to do with using a chamber pot in the dark but I could be wrong.P1070818I love the embroidery. Even when it’s just small initials.P1070817The képi blanc is the hat of the French Foreign Legion. It reminds me of the Colette story. Ageist double standards.

That orange phone!

Another had old knives in a very scratched plexiglass case. Can you make out some of the elaborate decorations on the handles and even the blades?IMG_3146

P1080514I do wonder about who would collect figurines of pin-up girls. Actually, I don’t wonder at all. Ick.P1080508The regular folks getting rid of stuff from grandma’s attic are where you find the best gems. Look at that silver inkwell.P1080509

And how about a mantle clock with a cherub on top?

There also are plenty of less-antique offerings. Bowling, anyone?P1080510

The thrill of the hunt is what the vide-grenier is all about.IMG_3149IMG_3144IMG_3148

What’s your best find?

36 thoughts on “Antique Finds

  1. Wonderful photos. We are working our way south….in Saint Malo now. I just fell over a curb and siting with an ice pack on my foot…I should try looking where I’m going….sigh. It’s just bruised and a slight sprain.
    We were hoping around Oct. 30th?? We are really making this up as we venture along. Sometimes we even change directions….

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  2. Too many to list, really. Perhaps a couple of paintings would be the best ones. Many candlesticks, crystal chandeliers and sconces, gilt mirrors, shabby antique taxidermy birds, excellent furniture, cast iron cemetery urns and Medici garden urns, it just goes on and on. I live near a very good weekly brocante in Carpentras. Sometimes the vide greniers have just too many piles of worn out shoes and boxes of used bras (no, really ……).
    bonnie near Carpentras

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  3. Great article. I always like seeing photos of brocantes and vide greniers. I moved to France two years ago and try to go to as many as I can locally. I don’t much like driving any further than about 40 minutes, but there are a quite a few generally much closer – including one here in the village on Sunday. Consequently my house is filled with treasures!

    One of my favorite finds is a large, hand-painted metal sign with “Cassoulet” on one side and “Saucisse aux Lentilles” on the other. Black with white lettering. Very unusual – probably one of a kind.

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  4. I have quite a collection of antique underwear and nightwear and the post-Regency, 19th Century ‘drawers’ are always split-crotch’. The reason for this was that it would have impossible to pull down your pants, let alone hoist them again under all those layers of petticoats and crinolines. Not going into too much sordid detail, when a woman was menstruating she had a button on pad that affixed to the garment and could be pushed to one side at crucial moments. For this reason you will often find buttons or evidence of them front and back to the garments. I have worn drawers as over garments by sewing up the gap in the past but I think I am getting a bit long in the tooth for such moments now …. as to my best ever find. In France it would be a solid walnut refectory style table in Provence which we bought for centimes and then remembered we had a small hatchback car and no room in it! We persuaded the local coffin maker to construct a box for it and had it shipped over with our monthly consignment of olives and olive oil. It had to wait two months because the undertaker had a run on his services 😳

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      1. This was in Fontvielle, the village mes beaux parents lived in for 40 years which is near Arles. We used to spend lots of time there when they were alive and for some years afterwards whilst the house stayed in the family. I miss it. He was actually the undertaker and coffin maker and quite happy to take on any other cabinetry or associated wood work. Lovely chap who has probably been carried out in his box by now because that was about 1988, I think and he must have been at least 70 then …. funny the things one remembers and it is one of the things I enjoy about reading blogs – the prompts into one’s own fusty musty memory banks 🌸

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      1. I should venture over – it’s en route to Carcassonne etc … I haven’t been in more than 10 years – I am sure I would find it changed. My best memory was the parents-in-law building onto their little house so that they could look at le moulin de Daudet…

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          1. I understand this from cotecampagne and that someone needs to take the horns of the bull and be the organising chair … how about you, ma’am … you REALLY know the area and seem extremely organised. Would ya? It would be great to have a venue, date, directions for car or no car, places to stay etc and I think Gill is too busy et moi … in peu plus loin 🙂 my experience of these hopes is that a Matador needs to step forward and from here, you would have all my votes ☺

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  5. Best find? Lordy there have been so many gems over the VG years.
    I think that beautiful green skirted quilt I have on etsy is this year’s stand out find.
    Last year’s has to be, without doubt , the 18thc Os de Mouton chair

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    1. I see the demijohns everywhere. I also have amassed a collection of 13 since moving here. I bought a small one at a vide grenier recently for five euros, but prices can be anywhere from that up to 50 for larger ones.

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  6. I see you have received an explanation about the open-crotch pants. My daughter and I went to hear a speaker this past spring who had a beautiful collection of antique clothing, including undergarments. For an 11-year-old, the highlight was hearing about that part! We are all curious about how women have tended to those life details through the ages, aren’t we?

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