The Ultimate Guide to Shopping Bordeaux Brocantes
Brocantes, they’re the stylish French equivalent of the British car boot sale – and they’re fascinating! Full to the brim of traditional French treats for home, garden, wardrobe and toy chest – I can spend HOURS wandering by the stalls, speaking with the locals and finding treasures for home and our French Loaf properties.
If you fancy browsing the Bordeaux brocantes on your next visit, here’s where to visit and how to make the most of them:
Take your baskets - If you’re a lover of classic weave baskets you’ve finally got the perfect excuse to wander the streets with one hooked over your arm. A green alternative to carrying around plastic bags and a quintessentially French alternative to fabric totes - you’ll fit right in. We adore this circular weave basket chosen with love for the French Loaf shop.
If you want to maximise your brocante trip, beat the crowds and get there at the very start.
Have plenty of small change – so you can make an offer on smaller items and hand over the exact price.
Indulge the senses - You don’t need to be an antiques lover or a bargain hunter to enjoy a French brocante – the atmosphere and sensory delights are for everyone to enjoy. The bustle of the streets, the melody of the French accent, the smell of freshly baked pastries. Take a deep breathe, be present, and enjoy.
If you’ve got kids with you, give them a scavenger hunt challenge to keep them engaged with your trip. Can they spot a red scarf, a golden frame, a blue chair – use your imagination based on the types of items on sale.
Keep a blanket in the car– really handy for protecting fragile items you pick up like glassware or mirrors.
Revisit stalls and see them from a different direction– it’s amazing what you might miss the first time around.
Keep your style low key – you don’t want to look too affluent and impact your haggling chances! Go for a low key, comfortable look that will help you blend in with everyday market goers.
Check what’s on- The French are consistent with their markets and we’ve come to rely on the regular brocantes across Bordeaux. For holiday goers, we suggest keeping an eye on https://vide-greniers.org/to get full listings of the many villages that hold brocantes and the types of goods they’ll have on offer. But here are our favourites in and around the region:
· Bergerac and Bordeaux both have fab weekly markets.
· Eymet has a large Brocante which takes place every May.
· Vertiellac’s takes place every first Sunday of the month. It always has lots of stalls and runs all day until 4pm.
· Toulouse has a huge winter market 7-9thDecember. One to pop in the calendar if you’re planning a winter break.
We’ve found the best brocantes and vide greniers (another term to look out for if you want to find a French flea market) are the ones that we’ve heard about advertised locally. Keep an eye out for flyers and banners as you explore villages off the beaten track and you may well come across a gem of your own!
Haggle like the French – If you really want to nab yourself a bargain you’ll need to learn how to haggle like the locals. Don’t be shy, they expect negotiation – particularly on high priced antiques etc. Here’s how to ask for a good deal:
Vous pouvez faire un meilleur prix? Can you make a better price?
C’est votre meilleur prix? Is this your best price?
Vous pour faire mieux? Can you do better (lower)?
And if you get the price you like, you can say: Je le prends! (I’ll take it).
We've teamed up with Kate Fletcher from Vintage Style Living, who's been visiting Brocante's for over 15 years, to offer a fantastic weekend break at our La Verger Estate. Join us to explore the local brocante's and vide Greniers under Kate's guidance and bag yourself a bargin or two.
Do you know anyone else who loves to wander a brocante or two? Share this blog post and get planning your shopping fun together!