Discover Paris- Vide-greniers- how to shop vintage – Natalia Willmott
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Discover Paris- Vide-greniers- how to shop vintage - Natalia Willmott

Discover Paris- Vide-greniers- how to shop vintage

If you find yourself in Paris why not visit a vide-grenier to really feel the atmosphere and how Parisians live. Through things we discover culture and trends of a particular era.


The term "vide grenier" is a French phrase which literally means "empty attic" It is a type of second-hand market or sale event where individuals sell household items they no longer need, similar to a garage sale or car boot sale. The term "brocante" is also used in France to describe second-hand markets, and it originated from the Dutch word "brok," meaning a piece or fragment. In France, brocantes are also known as "les puces," (puce is flea so smae as flea-markets) which is a term that originated in Paris back in the 19th century. 

 

Vide-greniers are well advertised locally, often at the roadsideand the best websites to visit are  www.brocabrac.fr and www.vide-greniers.org. The events are listed by "arrondisements" ( there are 20 in Paris) or by "Departement' region for outside Paris.

At the vide grenier individuals, charities or dealers can be found but it is in majority individuals who are selling their unwanted items. I find them really interesting as you can see how people lived according to what they sell and each stall has its own character.

A few things to think about before you visit.

cash is still king

bring a good bag or two 

a newspaper to wrap fragile items

a tape measure if you are looking for something in particular like an item of furniture or a painting.

a magnifying glass if you are looking for a piece of jewellery, silver or pottery.

What will you find?

small collectables

furniture pieces

prints and paintings

old photographs

haberdashery

linen

ceramics and glass

second-hand clothes and jewellery

toys, records and trinkets

How to buy

Remember to be kind when negotiating a price, you will usually get a better one if you have interacted with the merchant and are interested in the stories they have to tell. They are often selling family items, inherited pieces for example. Enjoy and dont forget to tell me about your finds!

 Now I do have a few stories of french ladies being very short and rude just in one visit but mostly people where nice! I'll tell you one- whilst looking at antique napkins, I was checking if they were stained, this lady grabbed my pile and started looking so I said "excusez moi Madame mais je regardais cette pile- pouvez vous attendre votre tour s'il vous plait?" (excuse me Madame, I was looking at this pile, do you mind waiting your turn please?)...to which she replied "vous n'etes pas sympa" (you are not cool) and turned her heels on me! 

 

 

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