I still feel covered in dust.
This past weekend we have been hunting the flea markets to begin furnishing Le Petit Bijou… It is still a way away… and sometimes I can’t begin to imagine that I will ever get to the point of making beds and fluffing pillows… Flea markets, if you are full of intent, are quite exhausting but also exhilarating… one man’s junk another man’s treasure… all that… It’s the search, the bargaining… getting the goodies home
I have a list a mile long… a kind of in-my-perfect-world-I-will-find-this list… that stays in my bag, along with a tape measure and a set of plans…. I am not all that practical when it comes to buying… I only see what appeals, not necessarily what I need… but I do believe that if I am simpatico with something I will find a home for it.
Saturday morning very bright, very early we started our search in Villeneuve-les-Avignon… This is probably my favourite flea market in the region… There are always plenty of dealers with interesting goods… you never know who will be there and what they will be selling… I found plenty… wall lights… these are always a tough one… but I bought several pairs that I can restore, paint up to look pretty and that will work in Le Petit Bijou.
I stocked up on crystals… not sure why… but they just looked so charming all together… and I found beautiful old Provencal fabrics… faded and bleached that will make sweet cushions for somewhere… That’s what I mean…. I don’t know exactly where they will go, but I know they will.
A pair of outdoor tables caught my eye… they were a perfect size for our little terrace… but by the time I saw them, the car was full and it was all too hard ( you know that feeling)… As luck would have it, I found them at the Sunday market in L’Isle sur la Sorgue.
L’Isle sur La Sorgue is the most famous flea market and antique town in Provence… like the Parisian Clignancourt of the south… I do love to spend the day there but it can be both exorbitant and disappointing. Last weekend the market was fantastic… loads of stalls and the prices were much more realistic than they have been ( a sign of French times… the dealers are always a great barometer for the economy)
We came home with a fabulous mirror frame ( you can see it in the top photograph)… lots of vintage jam jars that I can fill with flowers or candles… the tables I mentioned and a big bell for our front door… We have been searching for an old bell for years… and on Sunday we found it… It’s peeking out of one of the photographs below
The pot stand above was originally used in a florist’s shop… the patina is wonderful and I can imagine many potted geraniums lining the shelves… or clipped box… or a mixture… that’s arriving this week.
I couldn’t resist it… the hardest part is going to be putting all these gorgeous bits in Le Petit Bijou… and not keeping them here… Books with leather bindings… I found a few… and cutlery with decorative handles… knives and spoons… pictured below.
Monday meant Avignon and the deballage… A massive fair for dealers and antique buyers… but if you know where it is and when it’s on, it is easy to walk in… I can’t begin to describe the mood… People everywhere wanting to be first in and the first buyers… it’s a case of the quick and the dead. The market only runs for the morning and it is enormous… six or more large exhibition halls plus an outdoor area the size of a couple of football fields.
Without a plan and understanding of how the market works, it is overwhelming. The way to conquer is this… you like it, negotiate the price, buy and move on… there is no time for deliberating… If you are looking for large items it is important to register with an on site removal company before starting. It’s all very well organised, you just need to know the system. I was on a mission and found some of the pieces on my list… my best buy being a chandelier… it will be over scale for Le Petit Bijou… but that’s ok… a little drama never hurt anyone… and chairs… I seemed to go long on chairs.
So that was my longish weekend…flea market and treasure hunting… my idea of heaven… not everybody’s plan for a relaxing few days… but it is mine.
Claudia Strasser, my lovely friend who writes The Paris Apartment has a new book out next week… Claudia knows all there is to know about flea markets… and I can’t wait to see what she has to show and tell… xv
Flea Market Style
Paris: Flea Market Style by Claudia Strasser
French Home by Josephine Ryan