I recently wrote a piece for interiors magazine, Roco Magazine, on antique shopping in France and as my blog has been non-existent, I thought sharing “one I prepared earlier” might be a good way to get me back into it again!…….so I’ll start by sharing this one and promise to write regularly…..I have so much to say, just not much time to write!
If you travelled to France this year and love French style, you might have been tempted to pick up some beautiful vintage decor or antique furniture on your travels. After all, what is more special to have in your home than an interesting pre-loved piece of finely made furniture with a story to tell! If you travelled by car or van you might have had space to squeeze in a few small treasures to take home. Or maybe a trip to France is on the wish-list for 2016……
So where to go and how to haggle in French?!
• Brocantes & Marché aux Puces
You will find everything from rusty buckets to fine antique furniture in a village or town brocante / flea market and they happen all over France! Look out for posters promoting local events in the area that you’re visiting or ask at the tourist information centre. If you want to be prepared in advance, check out www.vide-greniers.org
• Magasin d’Antiquitiés
If there aren’t any markets being held during your stay, why not browse in the wealth of antique shops in many French towns and cities as well as rural brocante shops which can sometimes be large barns in the middle of nowhere packed to the beams with beautiful antiques!
• Salon de l’Antiquaire
Some large antique fairs are reserved for dealers only but some are also open to the public.
• If you’re looking for high-end antique furniture, you won’t go wrong in Paris, which is full of antique shops. It’s also worth checking out the Marche aux Puces de St Ouen which opens every weekend throughout the year.
• If you fancy a relaxing stroll in a lovely tree-lined city centre antique market, try Toulouse, the first weekend of each month.
• For beautiful antique and home interiors boutiques and an outdoor brocante market, you will love L’Isle sur la Sorgue
HOW TO HAGGLE
• It is expected that you will try to negotiate on the price in a market setting so practice your haggling skills and see how low they will go!
• It helps if you can converse in French. Many of the French dealers speak very little English and they will be more likely to give you a better deal if you can chat to them.
• Try not to be too obvious that you are a tourist!
• Bring plenty of cash as many won’t accept payment by card
Browsing markets is a wonderfully relaxing past-time whilst on holiday, but if you are looking for something in particular, it can be frustrating if you don’t find what you are looking for on a short trip and if you do find a large piece of furniture, how do you get it home. That’s where I come in! – I travel regularly to France to purchase stock for my small French Vintage Vie store in Belfast, whilst also offering a sourcing service with worldwide shipping. I source everything from fine antiques to retro and industrial furniture on behalf of private and commercial clients including interior designers and the hospitality sector. My professional “personal shopper” service means the items are picked by hand and delivered to your home or business without the worry of shipping, insurance and the expense of travel.
I’m already starting to plan the next trip for 2016 so get in touch if you’re looking for your little piece of France in your home!