One of the things I miss about France is the weekly brocantes and the Puces (big weekend antique markets) I used to frequent. I may not always find something, but an afternoon or morning spent browsing amongst the different stalls was always interesting and fun. Needless to say, going to the Puces is one of the things I look forward to the most when we make a trip back. This particular visit, I spent one morning browsing through the stalls of the Puces de Vanves.
It is a much smaller affair than the Puces de Clignancourt, and they keep shorter hours, from 7 am to 1 pm only. Some years ago, when I first started going there, most, if not all of the people browsing were locals. Bargaining or even conversing with the sellers in my fledging French was an adventure to say the least! Well the times, they are a-changing. Now, there are as many foreigners as locals browsing the stalls and even more surprising, the French (as can be!) vendors are speaking English! You can’t imagine how surprised I was by this! Despite these changes and the increasing difficulties in sourcing good quality antiques (a refrain I heard from many vendors), the Puces is still replete with many wonderful objets d’art, curios and trinkets. There are a few furniture pieces but for those things, it is better to go to the Puces de Clignancourt anyway. There were a lot of beautiful paintings and prints on all manner of subjects. It was wonderful to see the wide variety available on sale.
My eye was caught too, by all the pretty and dainty dinnerware sets and silverware that hark back to the days of washing everything by hand. It was only the thought of lugging all these back in a luggage that stopped me from buying some pretty dishes.
And if you are looking for pretty things, there was no shortage of those as well. Just check out the pretty petit point bags and delicate lace jacket from the beginning of the 20th century pictured above. They were all handmade and in beautiful condition. And while some stalls specialized in one of a kind objects, some others stands had boxes of things. This one in particular had crates of old candy boxes from the turn of the century. Turns out the seller had bought out the entire left over stock of an old candy shop. As I left, I overheard someone bargaining to buy the box. I t made me wonder what he will do with them.
As for my finds, I’m happy to report that I came away with a few special things. But that is for another post! Happy weekend everyone!